Why Is The FBI Ignoring A Congressional Subpoena?

The FBI is and has been ignoring a subpoena from Rep. Devin Nunes R-CA, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and has done so since it was issued August 24.

This past Wednesday, Speaker Paul Ryan R-WI announced he supported Chairman Nunes, and stood behind the subpoena 100%:

“We’ve had these document requests with the administration, the FBI in particular, for a long time, and they’ve been stonewalling,” Ryan said in an interview with Reuters. “The FBI and the Justice Department need to give Congress the documents it has been requesting, and they need to do so immediately.”

While it’s always important for Congress to strenuously enforce its outstanding subpoenas, one has to wonder why they are being put in this position by the Trump Administration in the first place.

It is puzzling why a GOP congressional committee is having a difficult time with a GOP led Department of Justice. Attorney General Jeff Session, (a former Republican senator), who was appointed by President Trump, and was the first senator to endorse his candidacy. Furthermore,  FBI Director Christopher Wray had served in more than one role within President Bush’s administration and was appointed by President Trump for his current position.

So, why are two Republicans now serving in President Trump’s administration resisting a subpoena which is seeking information about the Russian Steele Dossier. Which as we all know by now, is a Trump opposition research document, funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

There are a few reasons, which while understandable, cannot be supported nor condoned. Each of these reasons involve one of the players in this ongoing saga:

  1. Christopher Wray: You’d think Director Wray would have no problem complying with the subpoena. He wasn’t there during the time in question, being a a litigation partner with King & Spalding. However, there is no doubt this is going to be a huge embarrassment to the FBI.  It is possible that some in the FBI might lose their jobs, or be demoted. There is no question this is a huge black eye,  and morale has to be a concern for the newly appointed Director. I believe he is waiting on a directive from his superiors at the Department of Justice ordering him to comply. Waiting on an order would give him some semblance of cover inside the department. This would allow him to show he put his people and the department first, but in the end had no choice but to obey his boss at the DOJ.
  2. If that is the case, then why hasn’t the DOJ stepped in and ordered the FBI to obey the House Intelligence Committee subpoena? It is quite possible Attorney General Session, having recused himself from all things Russia and Hillary Clinton, can’t legitimately climb over that Chinese wall in an attempt to push past this imbroglio.
  3. If this is the case, then the responsibility falls to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. As U.S. Attorney, appointed by President Bush, he was the lead DOJ supervisor for the secret FBI investigation into the corruption case. He worked alongside then Director Robert Mueller, and with Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Additionally, he appointed Mr. Mueller to his current position of Special Counsel in charge of the ongoing Russian collusion investigation.

It would appear Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein is responsible for disregarding the congressional subpoenas. This wouldn’t be surprising, given the fact that he has done the President no favors since being appointed. His decision to appoint Mueller was hasty at best, at worse it was a shot across the President’s bow. Perhaps he is just another swamp creature inhibiting the administration’s progress.

It is incumbent on the President to order the Deputy Attorney General to obey these and future subpoenas forthwith. This disrespect for the rule of law and Congress gives the appearance of either a chaotic DOJ or a disloyal one. Heaven help us if it’s both.


About the author

Wm. P. Fitzhenry

5th generation Texan, 2nd generation reformed Presbyterian, a twin and a serial entrepreneur.

View all posts