Sometimes, things don’t go as smoothly as they ought to, or as was hoped for.
Iowa Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley says that the FBI is withholding information from his committee relating to Russia’s potential involvement in Donald Trump’s rise to power.
Grassley made this accusation while speaking to The Washington Post on Wednesday about the various investigations into Trump’s connections to Russia that are simultaneously underway.
There are related investigations concurrently underway in both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. A Washington Post journalist asked Grassley if the FBI was respecting his committee’s wishes for relevant information in the same manner that they’re respecting the wishes of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.
To that question, Sen. Grassley replied, speaking of the FBI:
‘Every time they come up here for their nomination hearing and I ask them are you going to answer phone calls and our letters and are you going to give us the documents you want? And every time we get a real positive yes! And then they end up being liars! It’s not if they’re treating us differently than another committee. It’s if they’re responding at all.’
The Washington Post writes that at one point while answering, Sen. Grassley was “screaming into the phone.”
FBI Director James Comey has already been accused of letting politics interfere with his work, so this allegation from Sen. Grassley doesn’t help the public image of his credibility, especially in handling the highly volatile case of Russia’s role in Trump’s rise to power.
Sen. Grassley has said that his committee won’t be holding hearings on the nominee for Deputy Attorney General in a bid to “get the FBI’s attention” and force it to hand over the information requested by Grassley’s committee.
The Senator says that Comey has been promising a briefing on the issue of Russia’s connections to Donald Trump’s rise to power for himself and the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, for some time, but this briefing has “never materialized.”
Comey is set to speak out publicly at some point in the next week or so, and there is a public House Intelligence Committee hearing set for next week about that committee’s investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.
Comey has reportedly already been keeping leadership in the Senate Intelligence Committee in-the-know about the FBI’s take on the issue of Trump’s connections to Russia, but, again, Comey has reportedly provided no such information to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Comey’s stonewalling has gotten so bad that, as mentioned, one of the leading Republicans in the Senate flat out called him a liar.
We will see where this all leads soon enough. Other concerns besides Grassley’s have been raised that include criticism of the FBI’s reluctance to confirm one way or the other whether or not Trump’s allegations that Obama wiretapped him are accurate. Information about any such wiretapping is likely in the possession of the FBI.
Featured Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.