DOJ Won’t Hand Over Documents About Their Secret Actions, Avoiding Transparency

( The Department of Justice informed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan that while it “stands ready” to assist congressional investigators, it would not share information about any ongoing cases, NBC News reported last week.

On January 17, Jordan sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding documents and testimony on several topics he had requested last year, including border enforcement, the investigations into parents protesting school boards, as well as information on the Justice Department’s criminal probe into the classified documents seized from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August.

In responding to Jordan’s letter, Carlos Urierte, the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs, said the DOJ was “committed to cooperating” with the Judiciary Committee’s “legitimate efforts to seek information, consistent with our obligation to protect Executive Branch confidentiality interests,” namely not divulging information involving ongoing investigations.

Urierte reiterated that oversight requests “must be weighed against the Department’s interests in protecting the integrity of its work.” He wrote that the longstanding policy of the DOJ “prevents us from confirming or denying the existence of pending investigations in response to congressional requests” or from “providing non-public information” about DOJ investigations.

Urietre wrote that it has been the policy of the Executive Branch to “generally” refuse to give congressional committees “access to, or copies of, open law enforcement files except in extraordinary circumstances.”

In regard to providing testimony, Urietre requested a written invitation at least two weeks in advance of any hearing to allow adequate time for DOJ officials to prepare for questions before the Judiciary Committee. He also said the DOJ would not make lower-level agents available for questioning.

Urietre also asked that the Judiciary Committee prioritize its list of requests to ensure “an efficient accommodation process.” He explained that prioritization would enable the Justice Department “to focus its limited resources on the information most pertinent to the Committee’s inquiries.”