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DOJ responds to Jordan's demands for more information on Trump docs probe

The Justice Department (DOJ) has responded to demands from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for information on the documents investigation into former President Trump.

Assistant Attorney General Carlos Felipe Uriarte sent letters — obtained by The Hill — to Jordan on Friday in response to requests he made for information about the August FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property for classified and sensitive documents taken there after his presidency ended and the staffing and scope of the probes that Special Counsel Jack Smith is leading. 

Jordan asked Attorney General Merrick Garland in the original letter to provide information on which personnel are working on the case, the scope and the Mar-a-Lago search earlier this month. 

The requests came after the release of a report last month from John Durham, a special counsel appointed during the Trump administration, that criticized the FBI’s decision-making process for opening an investigation into alleged ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. 

The request on personnel also concerned the report from Durham. Uriarte noted that Durham is scheduled to appear before the Judiciary Committee next week, and the deputy attorney general plans to brief the committee after that. 

On the personnel request, he also said staffing for Smith’s investigations into the documents and Trump’s role in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election have fluctuated over time based on their statuses and the resources needed. 

He said the DOJ plans to issue a statement of expenditures in the coming weeks to detail the special counsel’s office’s financial activity, including personnel compensation expenditures. It will include financial activity through March. 

Uriarte said the statement will show expenditures for about 26 special agents who worked full time or part time on Smith’s investigations in some capacity at some point. He added that additional agents have been used at times for specific, discrete tasks related to the investigations. 

The assistant attorney general said on Jordan’s request for information on the scope of the investigations by Smith and Robert Hur — who is investigating the classified documents found at President Biden’s office and residence — that their scopes were provided in the orders that Garland issued appointing them to their positions in November and January, respectively. 

He included copies of those orders in his response. 

Smith is authorized to investigate if any person or entity violated the law in relation to efforts to interfere with the transfer of power after the 2020 election or the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021, and to conduct the probe into the classified documents and other records and any efforts to obstruct the investigation, Garland said at the time he appointed Smith. 

Uriarte said Jordan’s request asks for non-public information about an ongoing criminal investigation, and the DOJ has longstanding practices to protect that information’s confidentiality to maintain the integrity of its work. He argued that disclosing this information could violate statutory requirements or court orders and interfere with the DOJ’s ability to gather facts, interview witnesses and bring criminal prosecutions. 

“Judgments about whether and how to pursue a matter are, and must remain, the exclusive responsibility of the Department,” Uriarte said. 

He pointed to the indictment against Trump as providing detailed information about the investigation and charges filed against him.

Rebecca Beitsch and Emily Brooks contributed reporting.

Source: The Hill

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