Ryan backed Nunes in spat with Justice Dept. over Russia documents, sources say

House Speaker Paul Ryan backed his fellow congressional Republican, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, during a...

Posted: Jan 5, 2018 12:21 PM
Updated: Jan 5, 2018 12:21 PM

House Speaker Paul Ryan backed his fellow congressional Republican, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, during a meeting over the Russia investigation Wednesday, capping off a months-long dispute between the committee and the Justice Department, multiple sources with the knowledge of the situation told CNN.

CNN reported Wednesday that Ryan met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI head Christopher Wray in his Capitol Hill office, but details emerged Thursday providing new insight into how a nasty inter-branch dispute has quietly subsided -- at least for now.

Devin Nunes had been seeking documents from the Justice Department and FBI for months

The House Intelligence Committee chairman reached a deal with DOJ Wednesday

Over the summer Nunes served subpoenas seeking a broad range of documents connected to the dossier of compromising allegations about President Donald Trump's connections to the Kremlin, including those related to payments the FBI made to fund it (if any), efforts to corroborate any information contained in it and whether the FBI used information from the dossier to apply for warrants to conduct surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Trump associates. The Justice Department has already allowed Intelligence Committee members and staff to review a number of highly classified materials at a secure location at the department, but last month Nunes escalated the feud, threatening top officials at Justice and the FBI with contempt of Congress if they did not meet all of his subpoena demands.

At Wednesday's meeting -- initiated at Rosenstein's request -- Rosenstein and Wray tried to gauge where they stood with the House speaker in light of the looming potential contempt of Congress showdown and Nunes' outstanding subpoena demands, sources said. CNN is told the discussion did not involve details of the separate Russia investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

While Ryan had already been in contact with Rosenstein for months about the dispute over documents, Rosenstein and Wray wanted to make one last effort to persuade him to support their position. The documents in dispute were mostly FBI investigative documents that are considered law enforcement sensitive and are rarely released or shared outside the bureau.

During the meeting, however, it became clear that Ryan wasn't moved and the officials wouldn't have his support if they proceeded to resist Nunes' remaining highly classified requests, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting.

Sources also told CNN that the Justice Department and the FBI also had learned recently that the White House wasn't going to assert executive privilege or otherwise intervene to try to stop Nunes.

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told CNN on Thursday, "The speaker always expects the administration to comply with the House's oversight requests," but would not address the details of the discussion.

A compromise was reached later Wednesday that allows House Intelligence Committee members to go to a Justice Department facility to view the documents, sources said. Nunes said in a statement Wednesday night that he was being given "access" to the materials he had requested. Normally congressional committees want documents turned over to them. In this case, the documents can be reviewed but not taken from FBI and Justice Department possession.

The Justice Department has also approved a slew of Justice and FBI officials to be interviewed by the committee in January, including former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, an official with ties to Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the Trump dossier; embattled FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, whose text messages trashing the President became cannon fodder for congressional Republicans last month; and recently reassigned FBI General Counsel James Baker. The committee will also be permitted to interview FBI Attorney Lisa Page (who exchanged the texts with Strzok), FBI Attorney Sally Moyer, FBI Assistant Director for the Office of Congressional Affairs Greg Brower, FBI Assistant Director Bill Priestap and FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki.

CNN has also learned from a source with knowledge of the negotiations that a second batch of Strzok's text messages is expected to be produced for the committee next week.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 493832

Reported Deaths: 33418
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens760577290
Kings743397382
Bronx548924985
Nassau492032208
Suffolk485622019
Westchester400411470
New York356103192
Rockland17635683
Richmond170041094
Orange13413505
Erie12782713
Monroe7070300
Dutchess5421163
Onondaga5277207
Albany3549136
Broome333083
Oneida2670128
Ulster245995
Niagara2032101
Putnam178863
Sullivan172548
Chemung15443
Schenectady153950
Saratoga129517
Rensselaer107342
Steuben95157
Chautauqua87713
Columbia66938
Ontario63535
Oswego6094
Tompkins5930
Madison55717
Tioga54930
Cortland4960
Greene48918
Cattaraugus4556
Warren44833
Wayne4325
Orleans38554
Herkimer38410
Otsego3845
St. Lawrence3824
Genesee3795
Chenango3657
Fulton36124
Cayuga3522
Washington33014
Livingston2728
Allegany2691
Montgomery2614
Clinton2365
Jefferson1990
Essex1960
Wyoming1795
Delaware1687
Seneca1403
Schuyler1150
Yates1117
Schoharie1070
Lewis920
Franklin790
Hamilton160
Unassigned020
Utica
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 40°
Oneonta
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 38°
Herkimer
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 40°
Thendara
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 40°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
VOTE OCTOBER 22-30
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left