Skip to Content

Newsroom

Press Releases

Ranking Member Nadler Sends Letter to Acting AG Whitaker & FBI Director Wray Concerning Unanswered Backlog of Judiciary Dems Requests and Attacks on Law Enforcement

Washington, DC, November 13, 2018

Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and FBI Director Christopher Wray notifying them of his expectation, when Democrats take the Majority in the new year, that the Department of Justice and the FBI will have already addressed the backlog of unanswered requests that have been made concerning legitimate oversight matters under the Committee’s jurisdiction. Over the last two years, House Judiciary Committee Democrats have written over one hundred letters to the Administration. Twenty-two of those letters relate to improper communications from the White House to the Department of Justice and the FBI and President Trump’s repeated attacks on federal law enforcement agencies.  To date, the Administration has not responded to any of these requests.  The letter sent by Ranking Member Nadler notifies acting A.G. Whitaker and Director Wray that the Committee intends to follow-up on these requests, and expects their full cooperation as the Committee sets about conducting regular oversight on matters that have long been ignored. 

The full text of the letter can be found below and here:

November 13, 2018

The Honorable Matthew Whitaker
Acting Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530

The Honorable Christopher A. Wray
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535

Dear Acting Attorney General Whitaker and Director Wray:

As you are no doubt aware, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have written over one hundred letters to the Trump Administration, including the Department of Justice and the FBI, concerning legitimate oversight matters that fall within our jurisdiction.  To date, we have received no substantive response to these communications.

Between now and the end of the 115th Congress, I ask that you work with me and other Members of the Committee to address this backlog.  Over the coming days, I expect to correspond with you on a number of our highest priority requests.

Today, I write with growing concern over President Trump’s repeated attacks on the integrity of Department of Justice and the FBI—including, but not limited to, his decision to fire former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his frequent statements about ongoing criminal investigations, and his personal attacks on senior Department officials.  The President’s behavior appears to be motivated by an urge to shield himself, his family, and his business interests from the ongoing work of the Department and the Bureau.

Over the course of the last Congress, in the absence of meaningful oversight, the problem has only worsened.  The President has called the Special Counsel’s investigation a “witch hunt” at least 84 times this year.[1]  He has identified the investigation as a significant threat to his Administration, stating that he wants it stopped.[2]  He has threatened to fire Department officials for failing to “totally protect him” from ongoing legal proceedings.[3]  He forced former Attorney General Sessions to resign and replaced him with an open critic of Special Counsel Mueller who was never confirmed by the United State Senate.[4]  These actions are not normal, and they ignore the guidance of the White House Counsel, flout the Constitution, and undermine our federal law enforcement agencies.

The House Judiciary Committee has an obligation to examine these actions and assess their impact on both the operation of the Department and the fair administration of justice.  Accordingly, I ask that you provide a complete response to each of the letters on this subject sent to you by some or all of the Members of this Committee, including each of the following:

  • A June 12, 2017 letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions from all Committee Democrats, asking him to provide the Committee with information regarding his recusal from the Russian investigation and certain allegations about President Trump by former FBI Director James Comey.
  • A July 12, 2017 letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions from all Committee Democrats and several other Members, requesting information about the abrupt settlement of United States v. Prevezon Holdings, Ltd.
  • A November 7, 2017 letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions from all Committee Democrats, citing various inconsistencies in his past testimony before Congress and the Department’s failure to respond to Committee oversight requests.
  • A February 1, 2018 letter to FBI Director Wray from Ranking Member Nadler, asking that he brief the Committee prior to the release of the so-call “Nunes memo.”
  • A May 24, 2018 letter to FBI Director Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from Ranking Member Nadler, urging a criminal investigation into the alleged outing of an undercover asset who had been used to collect information for the FBI in the early stages of the Russia investigation.
  • The November 7, 2018 letters to FBI Director Wray and Acting Attorney General Whitaker from the ranking members of several committees of jurisdiction, calling for the preservation of all documents related to the Special Counsel’s investigation and the firing of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
  • A November 8, 2018 letter to Acting Attorney General Whitaker from all Committee Democrats, asking for clarity on his role, additional protections for the Special Counsel, and Mr. Whitaker’s recusal from supervision of the Special Counsel’s investigation and any related investigation.

Please respond to each of these outstanding letters by December 31, 2018.  Thank you for your prompt consideration of these matters. 

Sincerely,

__________________________________

Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Ranking Member
House Committee on the Judiciary

cc:       The Hon. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary
            Democratic Members, House Committee on the Judiciary


[1] Olivia Paschal, Trump tweets and the creation of ‘illusory truth’, The Atlantic, Aug. 3, 2018.

[2]Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Eileen Sullivan, & Katie Benner, Trump tells Sessions to ‘stop this rigged witch hunt right now’, N.Y. Times, Aug. 1, 2018.

[3] Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear, Trump says Russia inquiry makes U.S. ‘look very bad, N.Y. Times, Dec. 28, 2017.

[4] Peter Baker, Katie Benne, & Michael D. Shear, Jeff Sessions is forced out as attorney general as Trump installs loyalist, N.Y. Times, Nov. 8, 2018.

###

Back to top