Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Debate Over Wiretaps Lacks Key Documents

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (right) and ranking member Elijah Cummings are in a debate over Justice Department wiretap applications.

“Breuer is charged, by statute, with responsibility for approving these wiretaps. The department specifically designated Breuer as the person responsible for the sign-off and his assistants signed under his name,” Hill said.

Amid the recriminations, Deputy Attorney General James Cole sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Issa, saying the Justice Department and House officials have “had a number of constructive conversations with staff” since the House leaders wrote Holder on May 18.

“These conversations stand in contrast with the tone and content of the letter that Chairman Issa made public today,” Cole wrote.

Though Cole vigorously disputed Issa’s characterization of the contents of the wiretap applications, Cole wrote he is “legally prohibited from commenting on the content” of them.

Cantor said at a pen-and-pad meeting with reporters today that a hearing Thursday where Holder is testifying will be crucial to whether Republicans decide to hold Holder in contempt of Congress.

“Holder is coming before the Judiciary Committee this Thursday, and he’s going to have to answer to a lot of concerns that our members have and that I have and that I know the Speaker has,” Cantor said.

“We remain committed to moving on this contempt issue if the Justice Department and the administration and Holder continue to withhold the information that we’ve asked for,” Cantor warned.

John Stanton contributed to this report.

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