WASHINGTON – The Justice Department agreed Wednesday to provide a House committee with intelligence files from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The compromise with the House Intelligence Committee represented a rare example of cooperation during a period of tension and multiple investigations of the Trump administration by Congress.
The House Judiciary Committee found Attorney General William Barr in contempt this month for defying a subpoena for all redacted parts of the Mueller report and millions of pages of evidence underlying the report. Former White House counsel Don McGahn defied a subpoena Tuesday to testify to the Judiciary Committee.
While some of the same lawmakers serve on both committees, the panels serve different functions. The compromise Wednesday came the same day the intelligence committee scheduled a meeting to enforce its subpoena, but reflected how disputes between the executive and legislative branches are usually resolved through negotiations.
The chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the Justice Department agreed to begin turning over 12 categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials by the end of next week, with more documents to follow in the future. Schiff said the subpoena will remain in effect and enforcement proceedings could be revived if the department fails to comply.
“The department has repeatedly acknowledged the committee’s legitimate oversight interest in these materials,” Schiff said. “I look forward to, and expect, continued compliance by the department so we can do our vital oversight work.”
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd had written Schiff on Tuesday saying that the department was identifying, locating and reviewing the materials in the 12 categories that the committee requested, but that taking enforcement action could slow down the process. Boyd noted that the documents requested in the committee’s subpoena were voluminous and sensitive.
“Notwithstanding the concerns expressed above, the department is willing to work with the committee on a reasonable and realistic process to accommodate its request for information pertaining to counterintelligence and foreign-intelligence activities related to the special counsel’s investigation,” Boyd wrote.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: In compromise, Justice Department will reveal intelligence files from Mueller probe to House committee