Sen. Chuck Grassley rebuked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for stonewalling in a stinging letter demanding documents on former national security adviser Michael Flynn for the second time.
The Senate Judiciary Chairman had demanded the FBI and Justice Department hand over the transcript of Flynn’s calls with Russian Ambassador Kislyak back in May but was prompted to send a second letter after the documents provided were “insufficient.”
“The Department’s reply to my May 11, 2018 letter seeking information about the circumstances surrounding Lt. General Michael Flynn’s reported conversations with the Russian ambassador and FBI records related to those conversations is insufficient,” The Iowa Republican wrote. “The letter only recounts a series of publicly known facts about Lt. General Flynn’s plea agreement and relies on improper excuses in refusing to provide the requested information.”
Grassley indicated that the ” Committee has waited patiently” in excess of one year for the invesitigation into Flynn to end. Former FBI Director James Comey had told a Senate Judiciary panel in 2017 that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying, did not believe he had intentionally lied in 2016 about his contacts with Kislyak.
“It has been more than five months since his guilty plea. Thus, there is no longer any legitimate reason to withhold facts from the Senate about the circumstances of his conversations with the Russian ambassador and his FBI interview,” Grassley told Rosenstein.
NEW- Grassley sends 2nd letter to Rosenstein re Flynn
•Claims DOJ response is insufficient. Rosenstein is refusing to hand over Flynn info
•Warns it’d be a problem if facts are inconsistent with Flynn’s plea
— Oconus Falco (@Nick_Falco) June 6, 2018
Rosenstein was providing “evidence” that is already publicly available, Grassley said, questioning if the DOJ “resisting Congressional oversight” indicates they have something to hide.
“Presuming that the facts are consistent with the plea agreement, there is absolutely nothing for the Department to hide and no reason to act like it has something to hide. Resisting Congressional oversight only serves to further undermine public trust in the Department,” Grassley wrote.
“Finally, it is disingenuous and extremely disturbing that the Department would imply that a request to interview a fact witness, such as Special Agent Pientka, has anything whatsoever to do with ‘allegations against’ that witness,” he concluded, referring to the FBI agent who was present at Flynn’s interview and is ready to testify in his defense.
FBI agent present at ‘ambush interview’ reportedly ready to testify in defense of Michael Flynn https://t.co/mCKr6ANTce
— Ƭαвιтнα Ɓℓιѕѕ ❤????? (@BlissTabitha) May 26, 2018
“As you well know, seeking information from a fact witness is not the same thing as an allegation of wrongdoing. Quite the contrary, it seems he is likely to be an objective, reliable, and trustworthy witness, which is precisely why
the Committee would benefit from his testimony,” Grassley continued.
It seems clear that Rosenstein probably is not in favor of Pientka testifying.
Grassley finally also called out the DOJ complaint that “Committee staffers” released the contents of the last letter, making it clear the senator regularly posts his correspondence as public information. Though that may come as a surprise to Rosenstein, Grassley rebuked him for his “inaccurate deflection from the issue at hand.”
“If the Department has a complaint about the Committee’s longstanding policy and practice of publicly posting official correspondence, then please address it directly with me rather than making veiled, uninformed accusations about Committee staff,” he wrote.
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