House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Wednesday that the Justice Department had agreed to begin honoring a subpoena for intelligence materials related to the special counsel’s investigation, a hint of easing tensions between the Trump administration and Congress, reports the New York Times. The department could begin handing over counterintelligence and foreign intelligence related documents this week. The action prompted Schiff to cancel a committee meeting at which Democrats had planned to vote on an unspecified “enforcement action” to increase pressure on the department.
Schiff’s subpoena is broad, encompassing Robert Mueller’s full report, its underlying evidence and the intelligence-related materials his investigation produced. In an effort to find an initial compromise, Schiff said he would accept documents in 12 narrower categories. He said he would keep the subpoena “in force until we get all the documents we are seeking.” The House Judiciary Committee moved this month to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress and President Trump invoked executive privilege on a similar request for information, walling off the materials they wanted for an investigation into obstruction of justice and abuse of power. Schiff said Wednesday that the new agreement “is no substitute in any way, shape or form for the appearance of Bob Mueller before our committee and the Judiciary Committee. It’s no substitute for the appearance of [former White House counsel] Don McGahn and the other witnesses that have been subpoenaed to come before the committee. But we are pleased we are finally going to start to receive documents we are entitled to from the Department of Justice.”