- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 24, 2018

A conservative lawmaker is challenging media reports that the Department of Justice gave members of Congress documents related to the probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Late Saturday, The Associated Press reported the Justice Department this week turned over documents related to the probe. But Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, called the report “not accurate” and said the department provided merely a fraction of what lawmakers subpoenaed.

“New reports of DOJ/FBI compliance with document requests are NOT accurate. While they have turned over additional documents, the new documents represent a small percentage of what they owe,” Mr. Meadows tweeted.

“The notion that DOJ/FBI have been forthcoming with Congress is false,” he continued.

The AP report had acknowledged that the Justice Department “partially complied” with lawmakers’ request. The news organization quoted a spokesperson for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican.

But spokesperson AshLee Strong said in a statement Saturday that “our efforts have resulted in the committees finally getting access to information that was sought months ago, but some important requests remain to be completed.”

“Additional time has been requested for the outstanding items, and based on our understanding of the process we believe that request is reasonable. We expect the department to meet its full obligations to the two committees,” the statement continued.

Lawmakers had requested millions of Russia documents, but the Justice Department had only turned over thousands of pages, sparking Mr. Meadows’ Twitter ire.

Republicans on the House Judiciary and Government Oversight committees had given the Justice Department and FBI a Friday deadline to turn over the documents related to the FBI’s Russia investigation and its handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email practices when she was secretary of state.

Lawmakers on both committees had threatened to hold Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in contempt of Congress if they did not comply.

One of the documents the Justice Department did provide lawmakers was a classified letter to the House Intelligence Committee detailing whether the FBI used confidential informants to spy on the Trump campaign in the early stages of the Russia investigation.

The department confirmed it provided the document in a letter sent late Friday to Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and intelligence committee chairman.

Mr. Nunes had been demanding the department give more details about an informant who spoke to members of the Trump campaign in 2016 as the FBI was initiating the Russia probe.

The Justice Department’s use of an informant has been pushed by President Trump to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Calling it “Spygate,” Mr. Trump has cited the confidential informant as proof Mr. Mueller’s probe is biased. But several high-ranking Republicans, including Mr. Ryan and Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and Oversight chairman, have downplayed the informant’s significance.

Mr. Nunes had also requested transcripts of the conversations between the confidential informants and Trump campaign officials.

Jill Tyson, the Justice Department’s acting assistant director of congressional affairs, said in the letter the department referred that request to National Intelligence Director Dan Coats.

Materials related to the department’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act guidelines, which Mr. Nunes also sought, were also handed over to the committee, according to Ms. Tyson’s letter. Republicans have alleged the Justice Department abused the FISA guidelines when they applied for and received a secret warrant to monitor the communications of Carter Page, a Trump campaign associate.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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