Politics & Government

NC congressman accuses U.S. Justice officials of obstruction: ‘Very incriminating’

U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, center.
U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, center. AP

Joining a chorus of congressional Republicans, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger Thursday accused “certain individuals” in the Justice Department of obstruction of justice in connection with the independent counsel’s probe of President Donald Trump’s campaign.

The Charlotte Republican made the comments during an appearance with GOP Rep. Richard Hudson of Concord at Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. They were there to tout the recent Republican tax cut bill.

The two Republicans also called for release of a secret memo prepared by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The memo reportedly says the FBI and Justice Department abused their surveillance power in monitoring the Trump campaign, and thus triggering special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the election and its involvement with the Trump campaign.

Democrats say the memo is designed to undercut Mueller’s investigation. On Wednesday a Justice Department official warned House Republicans that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release the memo.

Pittenger and Hudson disagreed.

“It’s very incriminating,” Pittenger said. “I’ve read the memo.… It certainly warrants greater in-depth review and frankly investigation…

“(From) what I have read, it’s real and it’s serious in terms of statements that are being made by certain individuals inside our Justice Department that have utilized their position to obstruct justice and frankly to collude in a way that would have a political effect.”

Hudson said he was disturbed by the memo.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Concord Republican.

“Facts need to come forth and there are people who need to suffer the consequences of their behavior,” he said.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, has called the Republican memo “highly misleading.”

If made public, he said, “this Administration and Majority will have reached a dangerous new low, trading our national security interests for political benefit.”

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill