DOJ tells Jim Jordan that information about ongoing investigations is off-limits

DOJ tells Jim Jordan that information about ongoing investigations is off-limits

DOJ tells Jim Jordan that information about ongoing investigations is off-limits

The Justice Department told the new House Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, that it “stands ready” to work with congressional investigators, but warned it will not share information about ongoing cases, according to a letter. obtained by NBC News.

Jordan wrote to US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Jan. 17, demanding documents and testimony relating to a range of topics he had asked about last year, when Republicans did not control the House. They included information about immigration enforcement at the southern border, investigations into threats against school boards and some investigations known to be active, including the department’s criminal investigation into classified documents recovered at former President Donald Trump’s Florida resort last year.

In a letter responding to Jordan’s January 17 requests, Deputy Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Carlos Urierte said “we are committed to cooperating with the Committee’s legitimate efforts to seek information, consistent with our obligation to protect confidentiality interests of the Executive Branch”.

Those confidentiality interests include not disclosing information about ongoing investigations, Urierte said.

That would likely include another matter Jordan’s committee is looking into: the DOJ’s ongoing investigation into classified Obama-era documents that were found at President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and his former office in Washington. Jordan sent Garland a letter demanding information about the investigation last week.

Rep.  Jim Jordan speaks at the Capitol
Representative Jim Jordan speaks at the US Capitol on January 9, 2023.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“Consistent with long-standing policy and practice, any request for oversight must be weighed against the Department’s interest in protecting the integrity of its work. The Department’s long-standing policy prevents us from confirming or denying the existence of pending investigations in response to congressional requests or providing non-public information about our investigations,” the letter read.

He cites earlier documents stating that “executive branch policy throughout our nation’s history has generally been to refuse to provide congressional committees with access to or copies of open law enforcement files, except in extraordinary circumstances.”

The letter also requests adequate time for employees to prepare for questioning before the committee. It says the department won’t make lower-level agents available for interviews or depositions.

“The Department has long insisted that congressional committees send a written invitation to public testimony at least two weeks before the date of the hearing,” the letter read.

The letter also asked the panel to prioritize its long list of requests.

“Prioritization is critical to an efficient accommodation process. It allows the Department to focus its limited resources on the information most pertinent to the Committee’s investigations. Without prioritization, requests will take longer to resolve and are more likely to generate irrelevant information” , said the letter said.

The commission responded in a tweet the following Friday, saying, “Why is the DOJ afraid to cooperate with our investigations?”

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