DOJ reserves right to not cooperate with certain House GOP requests

It’s an early marker of DOJ’s position as Republicans pledge to probe President Joe Biden’s administration over a laundry list of issues, including with a select subpanel that has a broad mandate to investigate the federal government. Conservatives have hinted they would use that panel to try to look into certain ongoing law enforcement investigations.

The Justice Department letter cites a 1982 directive from President Ronald Reagan, stressing that the administration would try to respond to congressional oversight requests and avoid invoking executive privilege, reserving it for use “only in the most compelling circumstances.” Uriarte, an assistant attorney general, said DOJ would respect the committee’s “legitimate efforts” to seek information, “consistent with our obligation to protect Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

DOJ also outlined guidance for potential hearings House Republicans might call, including which Justice Department staff might be able to testify. Citing a 2000 DOJ letter to Congress, Urirate wrote that DOJ would not be making line agents or attorneys involved in everyday casework available to testify and instead would direct inquiries to supervising officials.

“We are available to engage in staff-level meetings to determine which information requests incorporated into your recent letters reflect the Committee’s current priorities in light of prior Department responses and disclosures,” Uriarte said.

A Jordan spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney contributed to to this report.