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Justice Department Threatens Investigation of Investigation (of Investigation)

POGO: “The fight between the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and the Department of Justice continues to build, but there’s a new twist: A top DOJ official has reportedly promised to request lawyers for the House of Representatives investigate the Committee’s staff for unspecified misconduct. CNN reported Tuesday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has promised to “request that the House general counsel conduct an internal investigation of these Congressional staffers’ conduct” when Rosenstein returns from a foreign trip this week. Can he do that? He can ask, but it’s a pointless exercise, says Mort Rosenberg, one of the leading experts on Congressional procedure and oversight authorities, and a fellow with The Constitution Project at the Project On Government Oversight. “I don’t quite fathom what Rosenstein is suggesting,” Rosenberg wrote in response to an inquiry. “I hardly think the House General Counsel would conduct an investigation” at the request of Rosenstein, Rosenberg said. The House Office of General Counsel has no responsibility to oversee the conduct of House staff or members, Rosenberg explained. It is the chamber’s legal advocate and adviser. It is more likely to defend the House against charges of misconduct than it is to make them. House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has pressed Rosenstein for months for information from the Russia investigation, and had issued a subpoena for certain sensitive documents DOJ had declined to produce. The standoff led to remarkable briefings last month, coordinated by the White House, between DOJ officials, senior Congressional Republicans, and top Congressional intelligence oversight members, in which highly classified information from the investigation was to be shared…”

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