California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is calling for a criminal referral to investigate why the FBI and Department of Justice failed to previously turn over certain text messages from former FBI agent Peter Strzok that he said would have been key for Republicans’ investigation of the Russia probe.
During an interview on Fox News, Nunes and host Maria Bartiromo spoke about the troves of messages from Strzok that had been made public in the past.
But the DOJ released additional messages earlier this month after GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley requested their release.
Nunes complained that they should have already been released to members of Congress.
“This is clearly lying and obstructing Congress. This is information that we asked for numerous times,” Nunes said.
“We sat in meetings with DOJ and FBI, and they sat there and stone-cold said there’s no more information, there are no more text messages,” he added.
The newly released messages include communication referencing the Russia investigation before it officially began, as well as a July 2017 message dealing with the nature of the probe itself, in which Strzok said he was worried “about having this as a [counterintelligence] case when we are really doing a criminal investigation.”
“These were the text messages that we really needed to run a proper investigation,” Nunes said. “Instead we had to go around we had to rely on informants, we had to piece all this together in order to get this out to the American people that hey, Trump campaign and Republicans were not only spied on but this was wrong.”
Nunes was confident that Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been leading an investigation of his own into the Russia probe’s origins, will take action.
“I don’t see how John Durham can’t bust several people for lying and misleading Congress,” he said.
Back in June, Nunes and Republicans sent more criminal referrals to Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice.
Nunes made the announcement during an interview on Fox Business, where he said Republicans had gathered enough evidence for “at least another five, possibly as many as 10” referrals to the DOJ in addition to the eight referrals made last spring.
“We now are looking at the overall Gen. Flynn investigation and how that was conducted and the rest of the Mueller team,” he said, according to the Examiner. “And then, of course, as new information has come to light from the information that was declassified by acting Director of National Intelligence [Richard] Grenell, that information has also shown that there are other people who have lied or misled Congress or have, I think in some cases, maybe, lied by omission, documents that were kept from Congress.”
“We’re looking at doing criminal referrals on the Mueller team, the Mueller dossier team, the Mueller witch hunt, whatever you want to call it. That’s where we are now in our investigation,” Nunes said.
“We’ve also expanded our investigation into the Mueller team and everything that happened with Mueller and the people at DOJ and FBI that were above Mueller. And so, we will be making criminal referrals in the coming weeks against the Mueller team. We’re just now putting that together and, of course, as always, waiting on more documents that we really need to come out,” Nunes said.
Having examined witness reports and other new documents released by the FBI, Republicans claim Mueller’s team misled the courts during their investigation.