A group of House Republicans has been secretly investigating the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI for weeks, according to Politico.
Politico on Wednesday reported that the coalition is attempting to build a case that senior DOJ and FBI leaders improperly – and maybe criminally – mishandled a controversial dossier.
Four people familiar with the collective’s plans told Politico that the dossier is the one described alleged ties between President Trump and Russia.
A subset of the House Intelligence Committee’s GOP members is quietly working on the matter parallel to the panel’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.
Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) is leading the subset, which has not informed Democrats about its plans but has consulted with the House’s general counsel.
Politico’s sources said the goal is to illuminate what some panel Republicans view as conspiracy and corruption in the top ranks of federal law enforcement.
The group hopes to release a report in early 2018 explaining their concerns about the DOJ and FBI, and they might also seek congressional votes to declassify elements of their evidence.
Republicans in the effort suspect that the FBI and DOJ have worked to hurt Trump or help Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee he defeated in last year’s White House race.
The separate inquiry was born out of steadily rising frustration with the DOJ’s refusal to share details of how the Trump dossier was used to start the FBI’s probe of his election bid last year.
The examination is also interested in whether the dossier was the basis of any court-ordered surveillance of Trump’s associates.
The group is using the same documents and testimony provided by top officials from former President Barack Obama’s administration.
The officials were questioned as part of House Intelligence Committee’s broader probe of Russia’s interference in last year’s Oval Office contest.
The Obama-era officials include former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
Politico on Thursday reported it is unclear how many members of the House Intelligence Committee are participating in the effort.
The news outlet additionally reported that the group’s findings could be used to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions about the 2016 race.
Mueller is investigating Russia’s intrusions upon last year’s campaign, including whether Moscow colluded with Trump’s election bid.
Politico noted that the inquiry’s determinations might even justify Mueller’s dismissal, as some of Trump’s allies and rank-and-file Republicans have suggested.
Trump on Sunday said he is not considering firing Mueller, but he has called the special counsel’s investigation a “witch hunt” in the past.