WASHINGTON – The chairman of the House Oversight committee asked the FBI on Thursday to turn over more documents about former FBI Director James Comey’s interactions with the White House and Justice Department, including materials dating back nearly four years to the Obama administration.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican from Utah, told acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe that he wants records of Comey’s contacts with the White House and Justice Department dating to September 2013, when Comey was sworn in as FBI director under then-President Barack Obama.
— CNN (@CNN) May 25, 2017
In a letter to McCabe, Chaffetz said he is seeking to review Comey’s memos and other written materials so he can “better understand” Comey’s communications with the White House and attorney general’s office.
Chaffetz previously requested Comey’s recent memos about his private contacts with President Donald Trump. But the bureau told him Thursday it could not yet turn them over because of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
Trump fired Comey May 9 amid questions about the FBI’s investigation.
Chaffetz, who said last week he has his “subpoena pen” ready to force Comey or the FBI to turn over the documents, told McCabe that “Congress and the American public have a right and a duty to examine this issue independently of the special counsel’s investigation.”
He added, in a thinly veiled threat: “I trust and hope you understand this and make the right decision — to produce these documents to the committee immediately and on a voluntary basis.”
Chaffetz’s letter comes a month before he is scheduled to leave office after abruptly announcing his resignation earlier this year. Chaffetz canceled a hearing scheduled Wednesday after Comey declined to testify.
Assistant FBI Director Gregory Brower told Chaffetz Thursday the agency is evaluating his request and will update him as soon as possible.
Some Republican members of Congress have pressured Chaffetz to step down from the Comey probe, saying it should be led by someone who will remain in Congress.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, Republican from South Carolina, is considered the front-runner to replace Chaffetz as oversight chair. Gowdy led a special House panel that spent more than two years investigating the deadly 2012 attacks at a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.