The House Intelligence Committee has announced they will begin writing up a contempt of Congress against top FBI officials — and experts say if taken to the extreme, it could eventually lead to the FBI director’s arrest.
After missing the Monday deadline to turn over key documentation that the committee has been seeking for months, conservative lawmakers have decided to take action.
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“We are moving forward with the contempt resolution,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
Negotiations are still in action to try and have the FBI and Justice Department officials hand over the requested documents, but Nunes did accuse the agencies of “months-long pattern … of stonewalling and obstructing this committee’s oversight work.”
The allegations against the agencies came to a boiling point this weekend when the reason for FBI agent Peter Strzok’s removal was announced.
Strzok, who was a key investigator in the Russia probe and the Clinton emails, had been exchanging text messages with another FBI agent that he was romantically involved with — and both were hating on President Donald Trump.
Trump took to Twitter to express his disgust.
Report: “ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE” Now it all starts to make sense!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
Republicans had been pressing for information on why Strzok was removed for a few weeks now, but the FBI and Justice Department refused to acknowledge the reasoning.
Nunes was also trying to seek further information from the agencies pertaining to their use of the Steele dossier, a politically motivated hit-piece funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign filled with unverified information about Trump.
Unfortunately for the two agencies, Strzok was the final straw that resulted in Nunes ordering the committee staff to draft a “Contempt of Congress” citation against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
That’s not a light charge. The maximum penalty, if the U.S. Attorney’s office brings the charges to trial, is $100,000 fine and up to 1 year in jail.
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The two were given until the close of business on Monday to comply with the panel’s request and hand over the information, which did not happen.
The message was quickly received. Nunes confirmed that after the ordering up the contempt write-up, the FBI and Justice Department did consent to handing over some of the witnesses, but were still withholding much of the evidence.
The Justice Department has reportedly handed over hundreds of classified documents and multiple briefings. They also stated that they would allow Strzok and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to meet with the committee.
The resolution writing has begun, but Nunes has not yet scheduled a date to consider the contempt charges.
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If the resolution is approved by the committee, it will be sent to the House floor if Speaker of the House Paul Ryan chooses to bring them up.
Once approved by Ryan, the matter is turned over to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia who has the option to bring it to the grand jury for action.
If convicted, both Rosenstein and Wray could be send to prison and have to pay a hefty fine.
They deserve whatever is coming to them.
–The Horn editorial team