Rep. Collins Statement on Subpoena Authorization Resolution

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, made the following opening statement at today’s markup regarding the resolution authorizing subpoenas. Ranking Member Collins said, “Here we are again for another episode of premature subpoena authorizations, brought to you by the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee.  In the world of congressional oversight, today’s markup makes absolutely no sense. First, we have the zero-tolerance policy. This is an area where the chairman has sent one single request to the administration, way back on January 11, six months ago and not a single follow-up request since. Nevertheless, since then, the administration has produced a steady stream of documents. The Department of Health and Human Services has made a total of 20 productions, nearly one per week, totaling over 7,500 pages. The Department of Homeland Security has made four productions, including one earlier this week, amounting to over 3,300 pages. The Department of Justice has provided six productions, totaling over 1,200 pages. In sum, the administration has voluntarily made 30 productions totaling over 12,000 pages. Yet the chairman, out of the blue, and without a single formal follow-up, wants to issue a subpoena for more documents.  Second, the chairman wants to issue a subpoena for information regarding the detention of children and families and a subpoena for information about discussions or offers of presidential pardons to DHS officials or employees. The chairman has only tangentially issued a document request regarding detention, way back in January. A subpoena here is not only premature, but unjustified. The chairman has zero predicate for this markup today. Given this fact, I guess the chairman was telling the truth when he said during an earlier subpoena authorization that he views a subpoena as “the beginning of a dialogue process.” Third, the chairman wants to continue his subpoena binge and issue an additional twelve subpoenas to individuals related to the Mueller investigation. The chairman has had no formal contacts with three of these individuals during his chairmanship, and the subpoena will, in fact, be “the beginning of a dialogue process.” Again, I want to emphasize, the chairman has not sent even one written request to three of the individuals on this list we are authorizing. Four other individuals were part of the chairman’s short-lived, and now-defunct, investigation into the 81 Trump associates. Each of these individuals responded to the chairman and cooperated with his inquiry before that investigation died on the vine. Incredibly, another one of these individuals has already received a subpoena from the chairman! He produced documents as well, but I guess the chairman is going to reward him with yet another subpoena, because apparently his first one wasn’t good enough. Again, the record is devoid of any basis for these subpoena authorizations.  At least the chairman is consistent. This is a pattern we have seen several times before: If you cooperate with him, you get a subpoena; If you ignore him, he will leave you alone. In the world of congressional oversight, these subpoenas make no sense at all, but in the world of politics, today’s markup makes perfect sense. When we left for the July 4 recess, Democrats were reeling. They were having a very large and very public intra-party squabble over funding for the humanitarian crisis at the border, a crisis this committee has repeatedly failed to address. Before we even got back into town, however, we were greeted by the chairman’s intention to go on a subpoena binge, attempting to change the narrative to focus on issues he hasn’t touched in months, if at all. This is a very haphazard way of conducting congressional oversight. It’s no wonder other committees have taken the lead on investigating the issues the chairman wants to focus on today. The Judiciary Committee, as it has been for months, is trying to play catch up. For example, Chairman Cummings issued subpoenas to DHS, HHS and DOJ regarding the zero-tolerance policy back in February, five months ago! HPSCI has been consistently leading the way regarding the Mueller investigation. One of today’s subpoenas is for Michael Flynn, a person HPSCI is close to bringing in after issuing him a subpoena last month. In addition, the chairman refused for months to review the lesser redacted Mueller report and held the attorney general in contempt. Meanwhile, Adam Schiff cut a deal with the department and got access to the underlying documents. If the goal truly is to get the information or testimony, our chairman is failing us, but, as I’ve repeatedly said, if the goal is political theater, Chairman Nadler is winning.  Chairman Schiff also threatened to subpoena the special counsel before the July break. He fulfilled his promise, and in doing so, forced the chairman’s hand. Now, instead of having a hearing where all of our Members get to ask Robert Mueller questions, we are having our legs cut out from under us by limiting the questioning. Not all Republican members will be able to ask questions, and not all Democrat members will be able to ask questions. This odd format is the result of the chairman’s dawdling, and, as a result, all of us here suffer. The Democrat members on this committee are not happy about that. Today’s subpoena binge is an effort to change that narrative. It is a show of force. It is a chance for the chairman to prove to his rank and file, and the rest of the Democratic caucus, he can be tough on the Trump Administration after being pushed around for six months. Today is the chairman’s chance to show he has what it takes and will not wilt when the spotlight is brightest. That’s all today’s episode is about. It sure isn’t about oversight. It’s simply about politics.”