The Justice Department is investigating how 15 boxes of official records, including classified materials, made their way to Mar-a-Lago when Donald Trump left the White House. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, as it investigates, the Justice Department is blocking a parallel investigation by Congress. And frankly, given how Attorney General Merrick Garland has dragged his feet on investigating the lawlessness of Trump and his associates, it’s not confidence-inspiring.
The Justice Department has blocked the National Archives from giving information about the 15 boxes of records to the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the committee chair, wants to know why.
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“I write today because the Department of Justice is preventing NARA from cooperating with the Committee's request, which is interfering with the Committee's investigation,” she wrote in a Thursday letter, CNN reports. “By blocking NARA from producing the documents requested by the Committee, the Department is obstructing the Committee's investigation.”
While the committee “does not wish to interfere in any manner with any potential or ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice,” Maloney does want an explanation. CNN notes, though, that “It is also common practice for the Justice Department to limit information that government agencies share with Congress while an investigation is ongoing.”
The problem is that this is a very timid Justice Department, more concerned with avoiding the appearance of responding to political pressure than with anything that looks like prompt or efficient justice. The investigations into Team Trump’s lawlessness may be moving forward in secret, but what we know at this point is that if anything is happening, it’s not happening in good time. And House Democrats likely have a limited amount of time left to control investigations.
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