WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump suggested Wednesday he might use his executive authority to intervene in a fight over internal Justice Department documents sought by House Republicans, including some related to the Russia probe.
“A Rigged System — They don’t want to turn over Documents to Congress,” Trump tweeted. “What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why such unequal ‘justice?’ At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!”
House Republicans have criticized the Justice Department for not providing a broad cache of documents as promptly and completely as they requested. Some of the documents relate to the origins of the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 election; others pertain to the FBI inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus has drafted a version of articles of impeachment targeting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the administration’s reluctance to turn over the documents.
A White House official didn’t immediately clarify the president’s comments.
Dozens of lawmakers and staff from both parties have viewed thousands of classified department documents, the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday.
Rosenstein said the department wants to find a balance when it comes to congressional oversight and access to internal materials.
“If we were to just open our doors to allow Congress to come and rummage through the files, that would be a serious infringement on the separation of powers,” Rosenstein said on Tuesday during an event in Washington. “It might resolve a dispute today, but it would have negative repercussions in the long run, and we have a responsibility to defend the institution.”
The Justice Department has previously said that materials related to grand jury investigations and active sensitive law enforcement operations needs to be withheld.