The Justice Department on Monday denied a request by the House Judiciary Committee to turn over documents related to the special counsel investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents.
In a letter addressed to the panel’s chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the department said it cannot turn over non-public files under its long-standing policy of not sharing information that could impact an ongoing probe.
“Disclosures to Congress about active investigations risk jeopardizing those investigations and creating the appearance that Congress may be exerting improper political pressure or attempting to influence Department decisions in certain cases,” the letter states.
The department added that a disclosure runs other risks too, including impairing the ability of prosecutors to interview relevant witnesses and bring charges.
But the committee doesn’t seem eager to accept the DOJ’s reasoning for not complying with its request.
“It’s concerning, to say the least, that the department is more interested in playing politics than cooperating,” Russell Dye, a spokesperson for Jordan, said, according to CNN.
The committee had requested the Justice Department turn over all the communications regarding special counsel Robert Hur’s appointment, as well as files related to selection of John Lausch, whom Garland had originally tapped to look into the discoveries. They also asked for communications between the DOJ, the FBI and the Executive Office of the President about Biden’s classified files, among other things.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Hur as special counsel to look into classified material found in Biden’s Delaware home and a former office in Washington.
Most of the documents recovered from Biden’s records date back to his time as vice president during Barack Obama’s administration, while some are from his time in the Senate.
Biden has maintained “there’s no there there” on the documents and that he has fully cooperated with the probe.
Garland has also ordered a special counsel investigation into classified documents found in the possession of former President Donald Trump, who likened FBI agents who searched his Mar-a-Lago estate to Nazi Germany’s secret police and even accused them of planting the evidence found.
The FBI searched Trump’s residence in August after he failed to comply with a subpoena.
NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday accused Jordan of painting an inaccurate picture of how Biden and Trump have handled the discovery of classified material in their records during a Sunday interview on “Meet the Press.”
Jordan claimed the department was being “weaponized” against Trump and also protested what he described as a double standard in the handling of the cases of both men.
“Biden didn’t defy a subpoena, congressman,” Todd said.