The Department of Justice (DOJ) signaled in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that it will not share information about ongoing investigations as the GOP vows to probe actions from the Biden administration.
“Consistent with longstanding policy and practice, any oversight requests must be weighed against the Department’s interests in protecting the integrity of its work,” Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte said in the letter, obtained by Politico on Friday. “Longstanding Department policy prevents us from confirming or denying the existence of pending investigations in response to congressional requests or providing non-public information about our investigations.”
He said the DOJ has an obligation to “protect the government’s ability to prosecute fully and fairly,” which is essential to the executive branch’s function to investigate criminal matters. He said the department must protect witnesses and law enforcement and prevent those implicated in investigations from fleeing and additional crimes from occurring.
“The Department’s mission to independently and impartially uphold the rule of law requires us to maintain the integrity of our investigations, prosecutions, and civil actions, and to avoid even a perception that our efforts are influenced by anything but the law and the facts,” he said.
The letter came in response to letters from Jordan on Tuesday to the DOJ, FBI and other agencies mentioning the GOP’s requests for information from the last Congress.
Uriarte outlined the department’s practices regarding oversight requests and invitations for DOJ personnel to testify at hearings. He said the department is “committed to cooperating with the Committee’s legitimate efforts to seek information, consistent with our obligation to protect Executive Branch confidentiality interests” and will work collaboratively with the House Judiciary Committee to identify the proper official to respond to “legitimate, informational needs” when interviews with DOJ officials are requested.
Uriarte said the legislative and executive branches are constitutionally required to act in good faith to meet Congress’s needs for information while protecting the executive branch’s institutional interests and the DOJ looks forward to starting the process.
Following the DOJ letter, the House Judiciary GOP tweeted, “Why’s DOJ scared to cooperate with our investigations?”
House Republicans have promised to launch a variety of investigations into the Biden administration after winning control of the lower chamber in the midterm elections.
Jordan announced last week a probe into the DOJ’s handling of the investigation into the documents found at President Biden’s office and home, and other investigations are likely.
Source: The Hill