Washington — Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte has spent months preparing to face off against House Republicans as they unleash a gantlet of congressional investigations into the Justice Department.
As the head of the Office of Legislative Affairs — the Justice Department’s liaison to Capitol Hill — Uriarte will be thrust into a high-stakes but largely behind-the-scenes role in coming months as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, leads a sweeping examination of the Justice Department and FBI.
In readying for the challenge, Uriarte has studied congressional investigations in recent decades and quizzed his predecessors on what went right and wrong in their role as ambassador to Congress.
“Frankly, I think it makes the department better when Congress is effectively doing oversight of the department, and so my view is, I want to be as cooperative as we can with them. I want to find those areas where we can work with Congress , because I know that it makes the department better when we do that, (and) are transparent, but I also recognize that there’s some ways and times where we can’t do that,” Uriate, a Bay Area native, told the Los Angeles Times in an interview.
House Republicans are planning multiple investigations, and have formed the select subcommittee on the weaponization of the federal government, which they say is modeled after the 1975 Senate select committee led by Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, that looked into intelligence agencies failures after the Watergate scandal.
The newly created subcommittee is expected to launch an inquiry into whether federal law enforcement and national security agencies sought to censor conservative views at all levels of government, from the presidency down, as well as in private life, on social media and in school board meetings .
The Justice Department is also