FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday he is doubling the number of FBI personnel tasked with reviewing a large set of documents demanded by Republican House members related to a wide range of controversial decisions made by the FBI.
The move comes amid increasing pressure from not only lawmakers on Capitol Hill but also Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Last week, Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, issued a subpoena for documents relating to the FBI’s investigation into former Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, the FBI’s “potential abuses” of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in monitoring Trump campaign aide Carter Page and the internal recommendation by FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Though a seemingly disparate trio of issues, all related to recent Republican accusations of political bias that have regularly circulated on Fox News programming.
But a Justice Department source told CNN that Sessions is fed up with seeing his department lambasted about these outstanding requests and he has told Wray that the pace is “unacceptable,” the source said.
“The FBI is getting called to the carpet,” the source said, explaining that senior Justice Department and FBI staff met over the issue.
The source said the attorney general views responding to Congress as a “top priority,” and told Wray to increase resources to speed up the process if necessary. Sessions “is done” seeing the department criticized for the FBI “slow-walking” requests from Congress, the source added.
Wray said in a statement Tuesday that the FBI had already assigned 27 staff members to respond to Goodlatte’s requests, but acknowledged “the current pace of production is too slow.”
“As the director of the FBI, I am committed to ensuring that the bureau is being transparent and responsive to legitimate congressional requests,” Wray said. “I am doubling the number of assigned FBI staff, for a total of 54, to cover two shifts per day from 8 a.m. to midnight to expedite completion of this project.”
Last week the Justice Department said that the FBI had been working since January to produce documents on a rolling basis and that roughly 3,000 have already been produced.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd further explained in a letter to Goodlatte Tuesday evening the House subpoena included certain documents “requested for the first time” and that designated members of the committee could review other categories of sensitive documents in person at the Justice Department, including “more than 1,000 pages related to the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.”