By Steve Neavling
The Justice Department has instructed an FBI special agent to not testify before the House Judiciary Committee after Republicans insisted he could not be accompanied by both a personal lawyer and a bureau lawyer.
Republicans subpoenaed Elvis Chan after alleging he was involved with the Justice Department’s effort to censor conservative voices on social media.
The committee, however, insisted he could not be accompanied by both a FBI lawyer and a personal lawyer.
In the letter obtained by CNN, the DOJ accused House Republicans of “needless escalation,” saying the law is clear that Chan has the right to be accompanied by both attorneys.
The Justice Department said in the letter that Chan was been instructed to not cooperate with the panel’s subpoena unless both attorneys are allowed to accompany him during his deposition.
That leaves Chan vulnerable to Republicans trying to hold him in contempt of Congress.
“Everything is on the table for Mr. Chan, including contempt,” Judiciary spokesperson Russell Dye told CNN.
In a 2019 legal memo from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, government lawyers said Congress cannot prohibit agency counsel from accompanying employees when the testimony involves information that could be protected by executive privilege.