By Annie Grayer, CNN
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland about the search of former President Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago requesting that Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray testify in public and provide documents Republicans have requested relating to the search, as congressional GOP pressure on the Department of Justice intensifies.
House Republicans are limited in what they can do as they are currently in the minority and do not have the power to compel public testimony from Garland, but McCarthy’s request offers a preview of the GOP agenda if Republicans take back the House in the November midterm elections, which would give them unilateral subpoena power.
In the letter, McCarthy, as well as the top Republicans on the House Oversight, Judiciary, and Intelligence committees, claim that the Department of Justice “is proceeding in a manner that is eroding public trust and confidence” by not testifying publicly before congressional committees or producing the documents relating to the search that Republicans have requested.
“The appropriate time is now, and the appropriate way is to publicly appear before and answer these important questions to the congressional committees of jurisdiction that oversee your department” the letter reads. The Republicans are specifically calling on Garland and Wray to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, where GOP Rep. Jim Jordan serves as the ranking member.
“To ensure effective oversight, you must produce all requested materials immediately without redactions or withholdings” the Republicans’ letter continues.
When calling for a public briefing, McCarthy writes that a private briefing with congressional and intelligence committee leadership would not go far enough. The letter states, “rather than appearing before the relevant committees of jurisdiction, the DOJ appears to want to limit interactions on this matter to a narrow group of Members.”
McCarthy’s letter comes as congressional Republicans are putting increased pressure on DOJ over the search. Jordan as well as House Oversight ranking member James Comer, and Mike Turner, the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have all made their own requests to DOJ as well as other agencies involved in the search such as the National Archives.
Congressional Republicans have largely defended Trump over the search and the ongoing fallout from it even amid questions around the former President’s handling of classified material.
US District Judge Aileen Cannon on Friday released a detailed inventory from the Mar-a-Lago search that the Justice Department previously filed under seal in court.
The search inventory released showed that classified documents had been mixed in with personal items and other materials in the boxes in which they were stored. Federal investigators also retrieved more than 11,000 non-classified government documents.
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CNN’s Tierney Sneed contributed.