House Republicans Want to Straight-Up 'Break' the Actual System of Law Itself
House Republicans are attacking the Department of Justice and by extension the special counsel's Russia probe on so many fronts it's impossible to keep track. Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows's new tact is to push for a federal audit of Robert Mueller under the guise of oversight in order to get an unredacted copy of the "scope memo," which lays out the boundaries of his Russia investigation. The Washington Post writes:
Meadows, speaking Thursday during a taping of C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” that is to air Sunday, said he believed the audit is required under federal law and could not be completed without an unredacted copy of the memo written in August 2017 by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. [...]
Meadows and fellow Freedom Caucus member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has pushed for weeks to get unfettered access to the memo, but the Justice Department has so far refused them access. Only a heavily redacted version has been publicly shared as part of the prosecution of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort because, according to people familiar with the Justice Department’s thinking, prosecutors think its full disclosure could compromise Mueller’s probe.
And it probably could, but not only by revealing sources or smearing the inquiry. As the New York Times reported a couple weeks ago:
Mr. Rosenstein and top F.B.I. officials have come to suspect that some lawmakers were using their oversight authority to gain intelligence about that investigation so that it could be shared with the White House.
Meadows’s latest bid to undermine the probe is part of a battery of outright assaults Republicans have unleashed on the Justice Department, the FBI and the Mueller investigation. Meadows, House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes, and their compatriots have threatened both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and also Russia-recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions with being held in contempt of Congress and impeached.
Nunes's latest pet project is seeking all files related to a specific individual, who law enforcement officials say would be put in a life-threatening situation if their name were to be publicly revealed. And let's face it, anything Nunes gets his hot little hands on is going to be beamed over to the press within minutes. Tensions have momentarily eased on that front following a meeting between Nunes, Rep. Trey Gowdy, and officials at the Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
From a national security standpoint, we will be supremely lucky if any sources ever reveal critical intelligence to us again after the House GOP's reckless effort to hobble the Russia investigation at any cost—including the life of an intelligence source.
This complete and total breakdown of oversight norms, practices and cooperation between lawmakers and our nation’s top law enforcement agencies has taken place with the explicit backing of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who sided with Nunes & Co. yet again this week.
Ryan said he thought the Justice Department should have answered Nunes’s questions on the matter much earlier.
“I expect that we will be able to have an accommodation to honor this request because first of all it’s our job to do oversight of the executive branch,” he said. “This request is perfectly appropriate within the scope of the committee’s investigation, and I hope and believe and expect that they’ll be complied with.”
History should never forget the corrupt governing practices Paul Ryan presided over during his short time as speaker, and the long-lasting harm he has done to the institution he took an oath to lead and the country he swore to protect.
Congrats, Paul, you’ve accomplished far more than just bankrupting the country with your tax giveaway to the nation’s wealthiest.