(CNSNews.com) - House Government Reform and Operations Committee Chairman Dan Burton (R-Indiana) issued a subpoena on Wednesday for recently conducted interviews of President Clinton and Vice President Gore regarding the 1996 campaign fundraising scandal.
Burton said, in a statement released from Capitol Hill, "Unless the Justice Department is actively investigating President Clinton or Vice President Gore, there appears to be no legitimate reason to withhold this information from Congress and the American people."
The Committee received a letter this week from the Justice Department stating that it would not turn over the interview summaries of the President and Vice President because they are part of an ongoing investigation. But the Department failed to specify who is under investigation, according to Committee officials.
Burton will call a Justice Department official( the committee isn't saying who it will be) to testify next week about what the committee is calling the Justice Department's "failure to produce the interviews and other documents."
Committee spokesman Mark Corallo told CNSNews.com, "We have been very sensitive and very respectful of the Justice Department's need to keep information from Congress when there are ongoing investigations. We bent over backwards for them every time we have had a hearing about this.
"Whether it was John Huang, Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie... In all those cases, when we were going to present public information, the Justice Department had asked us to basically lay off certain subjects because they were under investigation and we agreed," Corallo said.
"We need to know", Corallo told CNSNews.com, "specifically why they won't give us the information. They're just not being specific. Just saying there's an ongoing investigation isn't good enough. They need to tell us either who is being investigated or give us some idea of why it's so important that they not give us these interviews."
The Justice Department was embarrassed last December by revelations at a House Government Reform Committee hearing by revelations that, during two interviews with President Clinton, prosecutors failed to ask a single question about John Huang, Charlie Trie, James Riady or any other aspect of the illegal foreign money case.
"That was embarrassing to them because it proved that they hadn't asked the President or the Vice President about any of the foreign money issues. I would think that now the American people have a right to know exactly what's going on...(and) who's being investigated,"Corallo told CNSNews.com.