FBI declines to provide Comey memos to House panel -- for now

By Mike Bambach  |  May 25, 2017 at 9:00 PM
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May 25 (UPI) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday declined -- for now -- to provide documents requested by the House Oversight Committee detailing interactions between former chief James Comey and President Donald Trump.

The FBI failed to comply with the panel's original May 24 deadline, prompting Thursday's followup.

Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, responded Thursday by setting a June 8 deadline for the FBI to produce "all memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings" regarding communication between Trump and Comey.

Chaffetz requested the memos after Comey reportedly wrote that Trump asked him to shut down the FBI's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump has denied the allegation.

Chaffetz wrote in a letter to Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe that his committee has a "Constitutionally-based prerogative to conduct investigations."

Gregory Brower, the FBI's assistant director for congressional affairs, said the bureau can't provide the documents without consulting former bureau chief Robert Mueller, who's been assigned as special counsel in the case.

"We are undertaking appropriate consultation to ensure all relevant interests implicated by your request are properly evaluated," Brower wrote to Chaffetz. "We will update this response as soon as possible."

Mueller was appointed May 17 to oversee the investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

"Congress and the American public have a right and a duty to examine this issue independently of the special counsel's investigation," Chaffetz wrote to McCabe. "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 announced earlier this month that he will leave the House at the end of June.

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