Shortly after House Speaker Paul Ryan finished extolling his triumph over a group of 20 intransigent blue-state Republicans who opposed a budget bill passed by the House on Thursday, the Republican leader dropped a surprising revelation about the House Intelligence Committee’s push to subpoena the FBI for records pertaining to the infamous “Trump dossier.”
As the public’s perception of the dossier’s credibility has deteriorated further following this week's revelation that it was financed by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, the FBI is finally acquiescing to the House Intel committee's monthslong campaign to obtain the records. The agency said it will provide the documents to Nunes & Co. by next week, Ryan said.
After Ryan accused the agency of “stonewalling” and “foot-dragging” during an interview published on Wednesday, the FBI contacted his office and promised the requested materials would be readily provided, Politico noted.
“The FBI got in touch with us yesterday afternoon and they have informed us that they will comply with our document requests, and that they will provide the documents that Congress has been asking for by next week,” Ryan said.
Releasing the documents will allow the House to ascertain their credibility,and also how they factored into the DOJ’s decision to launch an investigation into allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. But more important, the release of the documents appears to be part of a shift in the DOJ's behavior toward cooperation and transparency. On Tuesday, the DOJ released an FBI informant from a gag order, enabling him to testify publicly before any or all of the three Congressional investigations into the Obama-era Uranium One deal. Revelations that the FBI Investigated possible corruption surrounding the deal back in 2010, but neglected to inform Congress, prompted the launch of the investigations.
As Axios pointed out, the release of the FBI files is important because the dossier is now playing an important role in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, and Republicans want to find out more about the roles of Democrats and the FBI prior to the dossier's public release.
We now wait to learn what these documents can tell us about the dossier, specifically pertaining to the FBI’s assessment of its credibility, and how exactly it played into the decision to launch the investigation into the Trump campaign. It’s already been widely reported that the most salacious allegations contained in the dossier - which was first published by Buzzfeed in January - have been debunked.
The intelligence community decided to withhold allegations from the dossier from an assessment published earlier this year determining that Russian agents had worked to sway the US election in Trump’s favor.
Hopefully, the public will soon be made privvy to the FBI's justifications for these decisions, and others.
* * *
Meanwhile, Fox News is reporting that Trump said he personally ordered the FBI to release an informant from a gag order to allow him to testify in the multiple Congressional investigations that have been launched into the Uranium One deal.
Ultimately, the DOJ's decision to start accomodating Congressional Republicans comes as Democrats have begun backing away from the Russia collusion narrative, as investigators have apparently come up short in their efforts to find direct evidence of conclusion that could threaten the Trump presidency. Bob Mueller's probe flounders, it appears the DOJ is working to ensure that the Russia ties of Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democrats receive the scrutiny they deserve.