1518538834272 13 - Rosenstein vows to clean up DOJ after IG report, defends response to Russia probe requests

Rosenstein vows to clean up DOJ after IG report, defends response to Russia probe requests

Politics

House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on ‘oversight of FBI and DOJ actions surrounding the 2016 election.’

House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on ‘oversight of FBI and DOJ actions surrounding the 2016 election.’

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein publicly vowed Thursday to hold wrongdoers accountable for the actions revealed in the recent watchdog report on the Clinton email case, while defending his agencies’ response to requests from congressional committees for documents related to the Russia investigation.

Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Rosenstein noted that he is always willing to testify before the committee, but said “today is not a happy occasion.”

Rosenstein said that in the latest DOJ inspector general’s report, it was revealed that some FBI officials “deviated from important principles.”

“Everyone knew about some of those departures as they occurred. We learned about others through the internal investigation, such as leaking to the news media, and political bias,” Rosenstein said. “We need to correct errors, hold wrongdoers accountable, and deter future violations.”  

Rosenstein said that the Justice Department has already implemented “mandatory annual training” to address the concerns.

But in regard to the document production, Rosenstein defended the agencies’ cooperation with congressional committees.

“As with most things in Washington, the real work is not done on television and it is not all done by me,” Rosenstein said. “Trump administration officials are meeting and talking to your staffs every day to accommodate requests and produce relevant information to this committee, other committees and several Senate committees.” 

Tensions have flared between the DOJ and House Republicans over those documents. The House of Representatives on Thursday will debate and vote on a non-binding resolution insisting the Justice Department comply with House committee subpoenas for documents.

Rosenstein said Thursday “we’re not withholding anything,” in response to questions by committee member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., over the latest texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The bombshell text in the IG report showed Strzok vowing to “stop” the election of President Trump. 

Rosenstein and Wray, meanwhile, have been criticized for months by Republicans on Capitol Hill who have suggested that the agencies are stonewalling congressional committees’ requests for documents related to the beginning of the Russia investigation. Committees have requested documents related to including Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants issued to surveil former Trump campaign associate Carter Page and on the FBI’s use of a confidential human source in the Trump campaign—also known as an FBI informant.

Last week, the Justice Department gave House Republicans some of the documents they sought related to the Russia investigation and the Hillary Clinton email probe—after lawmakers threatened to hold officials in contempt of Congress for stonewalling requests.

The House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee had requested more than a million documents from the FBI and DOJ related to the Clinton investigation and surveillance of members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign. While some documents had been produced, the committees have been pushing the DOJ for months to fully comply with their subpoenas.

Rosenstein and Wray’s testimony also comes on the heels of the release of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the bureau’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.

The report revealed that more bureau officials than previously thought were involved in exchanging anti-Trump messages and emails and sharply criticized then-FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the email case. 

The inspector general found that the text messages “appeared to mix political opinion with discussions about the MYE investigation.”

MYE, or “Midyear Exam,” was the code used in the FBI to refer to the investigation into Clinton’s private email server.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte on Thursday said that if text messages had turned up “to the tune of Hillary is a disaster” or “we’ll stop her,” Democrats would see the importance of Republicans’ concerns.

Goodlatte compared the details in the salacious unverified anti-Trump dossier and about FBI informants close to the Trump campaign as being “right out of a novel.”

“But it’s not a novel, it’s real life,” Goodlatte said. “And we’re here today to figure out why our agencies engaged in activities not only wrong but illegal.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.