WASHINGTON, DC – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy released this statement following the announcement that the Department of Justice has appointed U.S. Attorney John Lausch to oversee the process of producing documents to Congress.
“I am trying, without much success, to understand the recent announcement by the Department of Justice with respect to the months old request for documents by Congress. I am confident U.S. Attorney John Lausch is a person of competence and character, however, I struggle to understand what has been happening over the previous months since Congress was assured DOJ and FBI were working on the document request. I also struggle to understand U.S. Attorney Lausch’s specific role.
Congress requested these documents months ago. Congress has consistently been assured the production was in progress. How is injecting someone new into an ongoing review and production process calculated to expedite the process?
It could be there has not been meaningful review by DOJ or FBI to date. Most assuredly, there has not been meaningful production thus far. Is U.S. Attorney Lausch charged with expediting the production process of already identified documents? Is U.S. Attorney Lausch to review the universe of relevant documents to now determine what is discoverable and what is not?
If U.S. Attorney Lausch is engaged in a de novo review of potentially relevant and responsive documents, what standard of review is he using and how – if at all – will it differ from the standard used before his appointment?
The Inspector General has been provided access to over a million documents. Congress has received a fraction of those documents. Congress does not seek information pertaining to ongoing criminal probes, or legally protected Grand Jury material. However, Congress is not a FOIA applicant to be given the least amount of material possible, material that is so heavily redacted, it is essentially meaningless.
I urge the Department of Justice to produce all relevant and responsive documents to Congress, without redactions, immediately.”