Congressional Subpoenas of Department of Justice Investigative Files

Headnotes: 

Congressional subpoenas seeking information from the Department of Justice concerning two closed investigations and one open investigation may be complied with only if the materials sought may be revealed consistent with Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which requires the Department to maintain the secrecy of matters occurring before the grand jury, and with the President’s constitutional obligation to executive faithfully the laws of the United States.

If it is determined after review of the requested documents that compliance with the subpoena would jeopardize the ongoing criminal investigation, we would advise the President to assert executive privilege to ensure the continued confidentiality of the documents contained in the open investigative file.

Because of the importance of the process of determining whether documents may be released to Congress consistent with Rule 6(e) and the President’s constitutional obligations, Congress must allow Executive Branch officials sufficient time to review the requested documents.

Updated July 9, 2014