Monday, 07 May 2018

House Intel Committee Chairman Nunes Threatens Sessions With Contempt of Congress

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As part of a response to an apparent strategy of delay and obstruction on the part of Deep State operatives, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), shown, seems to have had enough. He issued a warning Sunday that he plans to pressure Congress “this week” to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of Congress for stonewalling the release of classified information in the “Russia collusion” investigation.

As The New American’s William F. Jasper reported last week, the House Intelligence Committee released a 243-page report based on the information it finally received from the Department of Justice (DOJ), but that report was incomplete because of continual stonewalling on the part of Deep State operatives at DOJ and heavily redacted — with some whole pages blacked out. As Jasper wrote:

The redactions are the work of the DOJ and the “Intelligence Community,” to which the committee submitted its report for review, to assure that no classified or sensitive information relative to national security would be revealed. HSPCI Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and other Republican members of the committee have pointed to the redactions as further evidence of obstruction by the permanent bureaucracy in Washington. “Given the substantial public interest at stake, the Committee is publishing the redacted version we’ve received,” Chairman Nunes said in a press release on Friday. “However, we object to the excessive and unjustified number of redactions, many of which do not relate to classified information. The Committee will convey our objections to the appropriate agencies and looks forward to publishing a less redacted version in the near future.”

As Nunes has continued to push for the information his committee needs to complete its investigation, DOJ has pushed back with a passive-aggressive tactic of stalling in the apparent hope that the investigation will die of benign neglect.

Nunes isn’t having it.

Appearing on Fox and Friends on Sunday, Nunes said, “We're just not going to take this nonsense of every time we peel something back, every time we need information, we get ignored, we get stalled or stonewalled.”

Nunes’s claim of being “stalled or stonewalled” is entirely credible and lends itself to the idea put forward by Bill Jasper in his article last week:

The strategy of delay and obstruction by the Democrats and the Deep State is obvious: First, refuse to release documents requested by Congress, the constitutionally designated federal body elected by the people of the United States; second, when forced to do so, dribble the documents out in the slowest manner possible, and; third, when the Committee finally receives the documents and writes its report, delay the agency review as long as possible and then black out as much of the damning evidence as you think you can get away with. The objective is to stall and string out the process until this November's midterm elections in the hope that the Democrats can retake the House of Representatives, shut down the [House Intelligence Committee] investigations, and launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

This new round of obstruction in the committee’s investigation into whether the FBI and DOJ abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process is related to a subpoena sent to Sessions to demand information on a “specific individual” in the investigation. Nunes told Fox and Friends that he sent a classified letter to Sessions two weeks ago and that he never received any acknowledgment that the letter was received. So, he followed up with the subpoena. He also said, “On Thursday we discovered that they are not going to comply with our subpoena,” adding, “The only thing left to do is we have to move quickly to hold the attorney general of the United States in contempt and that is what I will press for this week.” Speaking directly to the issue of foot-dragging as a form of obstruction, Nunes said, “This just cannot continue where we don't get information in a timely manner. Like I said, everything we have tried to get they tried to stop us from getting.”

The Washington Examiner is reporting on a rousing game of he-said-they-said, writing:

A Justice Department official shared the letter sent to Nunes on Thursday with the Washington Examiner, which explained that the decision was made after consulting the White House.

That letter — signed by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd — states:

After careful evaluation and following consultations with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the White House, the Department has determined that, consistent with applicable law and longstanding Executive Branch policy, it is not in a position to provide information responsive to your request regarding a specific individual.

It goes on to say:

Disclosure of responsive information to such requests can risk severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interfere with intelligence activities.

That the DOJ response to the subpoena is another stalling tactic is apparent, since it fits the pattern that has been followed to date. Remember that the DOJ and intelligence community blacked out whole portions of the House Intelligence Committee’s report that Nunes says were not only “excessive and unjustified,” but also “do not relate to classified information.” Given the record of dishonesty, obstruction, stall, and delay on the part of Deep State operatives who have attempted — from the outset — to scuttle the committee’s investigations, it would require a leap of faith and a lack of prudence to accept this new claim at face value.

National security must be one tired beast of burden.

Perhaps Nunes put it best when he asked, “How many times have we heard this argument throughout this investigation?”

And while Nunes has made similar threats in the past to force the DOJ’s hand, that does not mean this threat is hollow. As the head of the DOJ, Attorney General Sessions is directly responsible for the delays and obstruction carried out by his department. His recusal may insulate him from any direct involvement in the actual investigations, but he is still the attorney general. He may soon learn that that means the buck stops with him.

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