The Justice Department on Monday denied a request by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan for sensitive information regarding his investigation of classified documents found in President Joe Biden’s home and a former office.
In a letter obtained by NBC News, a senior Justice Department official said the department would cooperate as much as possible but would not reveal confidential information about the investigation.
“It has been a longstanding policy of the Department to maintain the confidentiality of such information regarding open issues,” Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Carlos Uriarte wrote in Jordan, R-Ohio.
“Disclosure of non-public information about ongoing investigations could violate legal requirements or court orders, reveal the roadmaps of our investigations, and interfere with the Department’s ability to gather facts, question witnesses, and initiate criminal prosecutions where warranted Maintaining confidentiality also safeguards the legal rights, personal safety, and privacy interests of individuals implicated in or assisting in our investigations,” he added.
Jordan on Jan. 13 inquired about the discovery of Obama-era documents that had been in Biden’s possession, including all documents and communications regarding the Justice Department investigation.
A Jordan spokesperson snatched up the response.
“It is worrying, to say the least, that the Department is more interested in making policy than in cooperating,” Russell Dye said in a statement.
A House Democrat aide said the Justice Department’s response shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Jordan. “Jim Jordan knew from the beginning that he had no right to stop an ongoing criminal investigation. The question is whether he’s going to clutch his pearls and feign indignation or actually sit down and work with a department that seems willing to give him at least some some of the information he requested,” the aide said.
Uriarte briefed Jordan this month on the Justice Department’s policy regarding the ongoing investigation.
“The Department’s longstanding policy prevents us from confirming or denying the existence of ongoing investigations in response to requests from Congress or from providing nonpublic information about our investigations,” Uriarte wrote at the time.
In a separate letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee obtained by NBC News Sunday, Uriarte said the Justice Department is working with the intelligence community to provide some insight into ongoing national security assessments in the Biden case and a separate investigation into the Former President Donald Trump’s documents had been withheld by the Justice Department.
“We are working with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to support the provision of information that meets the Committee’s responsibilities without harming the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation,” he wrote, adding that “prosecutors on both issues are actively working to enable information sharing with the Committee”.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., told reporters on Monday that the Justice Department’s letter “gave us no additional indication as to when” panel members will receive a substantive response.
Senators on the committee became angry last week after Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines refused in a closed-door briefing to show them copies of classified documents discovered at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and Biden’s office and home in Delaware.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com