The FBI has reportedly asked the Senate Judiciary Committee for its documents related to allegations Planned Parenthood was paid for body parts and tissue from aborted babies, suggesting an investigation is now underway.
The Hill reported Tuesday that the bureau is seeking “unredacted documents” the committee received from several abortionists, including Planned Parenthood, which were referenced in Chairman Chuck Grassley’s criminal prosecution referral last December. The Iowa Republican asked about that referral during an oversight hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month.
At the time, Grassley said the committee uncovered substantial evidence the abortion providers had transferred tissue and body parts from aborted babies to firms for use in research by charging dollar amounts above their actual costs. This would violate a 1993 law that prevented abortionists from profiting from such transfers.
In his letter of referral to then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Grassley stated, in part:
The report documents the failure of the Department of Justice, across multiple administrations, to enforce the law that bans the buying and selling of human fetal tissue … It also documents substantial evidence suggesting that the specific entities involved in the recent controversy, and/or individuals employed by those entities, may have violated that law.
The Hill’s source, likely a member of the Judiciary Committee staff, said the documents requested by the FBI are being produced expeditiously. Because of constitutional separation of powers, they cannot just be handed over, but rather would have to be set up in a secure “reading room” in one of the Senate office buildings adjacent to the Capitol.
The possibility of an investigation was broached several times during Sessions’ testimony Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee. The attorney general did not comment, citing longstanding department policy, but told Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) he had become aware of information that warranted his attention in the matter.