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Jayapal, Cicilline Introduce Resolution of Inquiry to Force Trump Administration Release Documents Pertaining to Possible Obstruction of Justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After the Department of Justice released a heavily redacted, single-page document confirming that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian government, House Judiciary Committee members, Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and David Cicilline (RI-01) introduced a resolution of inquiry requesting the Trump administration release any and all information pertaining to Attorney General Sessions’ involvement in the firing of FBI director James Comey in violation of his recusal and related matters.

“For six months, we have watched the Trump administration make a mockery of our laws and the highest office in our land while our Republican colleagues refuse to allow hearings on obstruction of justice and collusion with Russia,” said Rep. Jayapal. “Our resolution of inquiry will force the House Committee on the Judiciary to consider allegations of obstruction of justice involving the Justice Department. The Senate Judiciary Committee is taking action on the matter. We need the Republicans on our committee to wake up and take these issues seriously. We have a duty as members of Congress and the Judiciary Committee to exercise oversight over the administration and the Justice Department.”

“We’ve known for a while now that Paul Ryan and the Republicans don’t want to work with us on just about anything. That’s true for jobs, tax fairness, infrastructure, workforce training, and health care,” said Rep. Cicilline. “But what’s most outrageous is that they don’t even want to work with us to make sure the American people know the truth about allegations of obstruction of justice involving the Justice Department. There is no more serious responsibility than protecting our democracy and the American people deserve members of Congress who take this responsibility seriously.”

A copy of the Jayapal-Cicilline resolution of inquiry can be found here.

The two representatives demanded that House Republicans wake up and conduct oversight of the Trump administration. Attorney General Sessions has failed to disclose his meetings with the Russian government, largely ignored his recusal from the Russia investigation and helped to fire the FBI Director under false pretext. Just yesterday, the Department of Justice released a document that suggests the Attorney General failed to disclose any contacts with foreign governments on his security clearance application.

The Jayapal-Cicilline Resolution is designed to obtain information about these and other systemic problems at the highest levels of the Trump administration. The Majority has refused to conduct even basic oversight of the Department of Justice. This resolution will force the issue, and leave each member to choose whether the House Judiciary Committee will begin to address these urgent problems or continue to be complicit in the administration’s undermining of justice.

Jayapal and Cicilline will closely follow ongoing developments specifically pertaining to the role of Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner in potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. If the administration fails to be more forthcoming about these troubling developments, Jayapal and Cicilline plan to amend the resolution to demand more transparency and accountability to the American people.

Background: a resolution of inquiry is a legislative tool that has privileged parliamentary status, meaning it can be brought to the floor if the relevant committee hasn’t reported it within 14 legislative days, even if the Majority leadership has not scheduled it for a vote. Once introduced, the committee must schedule a markup in that set time, which means there has to be debate and the committee must vote on the resolution. The committee can report the resolution “unfavorably” after markup to prevent it from going to the floor, otherwise it can be raised for a vote before the full House of Representatives.