House Democrats seeking to learn more about alleged abuses of power by the President found themselves in rare agreement with the GOP’s fiercest Trump allies on Tuesday, as both voted to demand that the Justice Department release documents that could reveal how the obstruction of justice investigation into Trump began.
The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve a measure submitted last week by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) asking the Justice Department to hand over information about how the obstruction probe began.
The substance of the request hits a swampy sweet spot by straddling the line between the Republican narrative that the so-called “deep state” is attempting a silent coup of the Trump Administration and House Democrats’ eagerness to exercise their new oversight muscles on the executive branch.
Collins’s resolution asks for information from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, including details like reported discussions to potentially invoke the 25th amendment to remove Trump and a briefly considered scenario in which Rosenstein supposedly would wear a wire to his meetings with Trump.
Despite the fact that the Republican request appears to be an attempt to gain damaging information on Rosenstein and McCabe, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) lauded the request in a statement.
“Whatever may be responsible for this change of heart, I welcome their new-found interest in transparency and oversight,” Nadler said. “I certainly do not oppose efforts to learn more about whether, in fact, such discussions occurred and, if so, what prompted such alarm among Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. McCabe, as well as other FBI officials, that they would consider these unprecedented actions.”
Collins first proposed the request on March 18.
But after a March 24 letter from Attorney General Bill Barr suggested this weekend that the special counsel investigation did “not exonerate” Trump on the obstruction allegation, Nadler pushed forward with the request.
“In essence, this Resolution seeks records relating to concerns expressed at the very highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI about President Trump’s allegedly illegal conduct, and his fitness for office,” Nadler said, adding that it also sought information “about the extraordinary measures that these leaders may have contemplated in view of these concerns.”
Collins issued a statement asking to “imagine the outrage from my friends across the aisle had our intelligence community contemplated such actions against President Obama.”
“The path forward requires us to identify the origins of an investigation that deceitfully undermined America’s faith in our democracy and distracted us from our actual enemy,” he added.