Rep Darrell Issa slammed Justice Department officials for “lying through their teeth” while “slow-walking” congressional document requests.
The former House Oversight Committee chairman red-flagged what he sees as political motives behind the delays by Department of Justice officials in responding to subpoenas from lawmakers as well as repeated requests for documents.
“It is very, very, very much a tradition at Department of Justice to come in, tell Congress what they need to hear, lie to them if necessary, and then hope they don’t get caught on their watch,” the California Republican told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Top intelligence community officials met last week with chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., after their requests for subpoenaed documents were ignored by the DOJ.
When asked by Bartiromo is he thought the officials were telling the truth to the chairmen, Issa minced no words.
“No I don’t. I believe they are lying through their teeth,” he said.
“If they want to get to the truth, that’s what they do, is they make all the documents available unredacted, give our investigators who have clearances the opportunity to sift through,” Issa said.
Only 9,000 out of 1.2 million documents requested have actually been turned over, Issa noted.
“The reality is [that the documents] are being slow-walked until after the election, in the hopes that the Democrats will take over the House or the Senate, and then the investigations will be covered up,” he suggested.. “No question in my mind that this would be something that would just go away if we lose the gavel.”
Among other documents, investigators are seeking information about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications used to spy on President Trump’s former campaign adviser, Carter Page.
“I think the important thing is it is very clear that we are being asked to trust the Department of Justice, who we know did in fact use a law that allows them to spy, but lied to get the warrants, lied to a federal judge under the FISA Act,” Issa said.
“So this is one of the challenges. Make no bones about it. A FISA warrant is in fact a license to spy. Now the question is did you lie, cheat or steal in order to do that and very clearly, with the information presented behind closed doors to the federal judge, the fact is they did mislead the judge to get a warrant,” he said.
“And now we’re asked to believe that you can trust the very people … who know this and are covering it up?” he continued. “We as the oversight, if you will, of that branch cannot and should not trust them. We should demand the transparency that we’re entitled to.”
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