The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday rebuffed a broad request from the House Judiciary Committee to provide further details about the special counsel investigation into the mishandling of documents during President Biden’s time as vice president, saying that doing so would risk releasing information central to the case.
The response follows a request from the panel, now led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), seeking all documents and communications related to the investigation, including correspondence with Biden’s attorneys and those related to the appointment of a special counsel.
“Your letter also requests non-public information that is central to the ongoing Special Counsel investigation. The Department’s longstanding policy is to maintain the confidentiality of such information regarding open matters,” the DOJ says in the letter obtained by The Hill and first reported by Politico.
“Disclosures to Congress about active investigations risk jeopardizing those investigations and creating the appearance that Congress may be exerting improper political pressure or attempting to influence Department decisions in certain cases.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier this month appointed Robert Hur to serve as the special counsel in an investigation into classified records that were found in an office Biden used following his tenure in the Obama administration as well as in his Delaware home and garage.
Garland has similarly appointed a special counsel to review the mishandling of classified records recovered from former President Trump’s home during the execution of a search warrant after authorities determined there could still be materials on site despite multiple requests to return them.
The request from Jordan would require a significant disclosure during an ongoing investigation, something the DOJ says clashes with its internal policies as well as special counsel regulations limiting what information can be shared with Congress.
“Disclosing non-public information about ongoing investigations could violate statutory requirements or court orders, reveal road maps of our investigations, and interfere with the Department’s ability to gather facts, interview witnesses, and bring criminal prosecutions where warranted,” the department continued, noting it needs to protect the confidentiality of those “implicated by, or who assist in, our investigations.”
Russell Dye, a spokesman for Jordan, couched the response as a lack of cooperation from the DOJ.
“Our Members are rightly concerned about the Justice Department’s double standard here, after all, some of the Biden documents were found at a think tank that’s received funds from communist China. It’s concerning, to say the least, that the Department is more interested in playing politics than cooperating,” he said in a statement.