Probe: Interior held back Bernhardt records sought by court

An Interior Department internal watchdog says the agency withheld public documents related to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt ahead of his Senate confirmation. The findings were in an internal investigative report made public Tuesday. The report from the agency’s inspector general cites one agency legal adviser as saying the agency was sitting on some documents sought under a federal court order to make Bernhardt’s confirmation process easier. The Interior Department denies its handling of the documents violated the law or ethical standards. But Democratic lawmakers called it a cover-up to smooth Bernhardt’s confirmation by the Senate. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona are demanding a Justice Department criminal investigation.