Jordan threatens to subpoena ex-FBI official after she backs out of interview before House Judiciary Committee

Posted 59 days ago


EXCLUSIVE: House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan is threatening to subpoena the former FBI official who has been accused by whistleblowers of ordering agents to classify cases as domestic violent extremism even if they did not meet standards for such, after she backed out of a scheduled transcribed interview before the panel Friday.

Jill Sanborn, the former executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, had offered to sit for a transcribed interview with Jordan, R-Ohio, and Republicans on the committee to discuss the bureau’s focus and case work with regard to domestic violent extremism. The interview was set for Friday, Dec. 2.

Fox News has learned that Sanborn has decided not to testify voluntarily on Friday. Her attorney, Carter Burwell, notified the committee this week, and instead proposed several dates for Sanborn to voluntarily appear for an interview in early 2023.

"Your decision leaves us little choice but to consider compulsory process to obtain your testimony early in the 118th Congress," Jordan, who is expected to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in January when Republicans take the majority of the House of Representatives and gain subpoena power in January, wrote a letter to Sanborn and her attorney.

"Your decision to renege on your commitment appears to have occurred only after your counsel sought guidance from the Department of Justice and Committee Democrats," Jordan wrote, adding that he and Republicans do not believe the DOJ or FBI need to approve her appearance for a voluntary interview.

"We reiterate that to the extent the Department or FBI is or has been preventing your ability to respond to our request in a timely and comprehensive manner, we will examine these facts during your transcribed interview," he wrote. "Simply put, although the Department and FBI likely would not welcome your testimony, your decision to voluntarily appear for a transcribed interview is your decision and yours alone."

He added: "You have chosen not to do so."

Sanborn has "vigorously" denied the allegations that she engaged in misconduct while at the FBI, according to assertions made to the committee by her attorney.

"The allegations about politicization and bias within the FBI are too serious for your dilatory tactics," Jordan wrote, adding that he will continue to pursue the request for an interview through the end of the year—before Republicans take the majority of the House.

Jordan wrote that Sanborn should appear for an interview on Feb. 1, 2023.

"We will compel your testimony if necessary," he wrote.

But upon notifying Jordan that Sanborn would not appear for her Friday interview, Burwell explained that it would "be more productive to revisit" the request for an interview in the next Congress.

"Given the outstanding issues with the Department of Justice and objections from the current Chairman of the Committee, we believe it will be more productive to revisit your request for a transcribed interview in the next Congress, and we look forward to working with you and your staff then," Burwell wrote, proposing the interview take place during the week of Jan. 30, 2023 or Feb. 3, 2023.

Burwell also explained that Sanborn "understands she is obligated to coordinate any transcribed interview with the FBI and the DOJ, especially given the request necessarily rises issues related to classified information, ongoing criminal investigations, and long-recognized privileges."

Burwell noted that the Justice Department "has not yet agreed to Ms. Sanborn’s participation in a ‘voluntary’ transcribed interview, especially in the absence of agency counsel, nor has the DOJ approved any representation of Ms. Sanborn by outside counsel for such an interview."  He also added that current committee chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N. Y., "does not support" Sanborn's appearance as scheduled and under his chairmanship.... (Read more)