GOP chairmen urge Whitaker, McConnell to continue probe into DOJ, FBI
Two House committee chairmen want a special counsel to evaluate the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s handling of the probes into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
In a six-page letter Friday to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Trey Gowdy and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte said questions still remain about the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Ms. Clinton for her improper use of government email.
After more than a year investigating the agencies, the joint congressional inquiry reviewed thousands of documents and interviewed key witnesses, concluding former FBI Director James Comey acted improperly when he cleared Ms. Clinton of wrongdoing. They say some witnesses, including FBI General Counsel James Baker, didn’t back the exoneration.
“We invite your attention to the transcripts of witness testimony and we encourage you to continue to investigate these matters,” the letter read.
The chairmen had asked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel to evaluate the matter in March, but he declined and instead appointed U.S. Attorney John Huber with the task. Mr. Huber is still conducting that review, according to the lawmakers.
They said if Mr. Whitaker chooses not to appoint a special counsel, Congress should do its role in continuing the investigation.
The lawmakers also raised concerns with how the FBI handled the probe into Mr. Trump’s campaign and possible collusion with Russians, specifically calling out the bias of federal agents and their different treatment of the candidates during the election.
“The Committees remain concerned with how derogatory information about candidate Trump was accessed by the FBI, the sourcing of such information, the vetting of such information and government reliance on it in court pleadings,” the letter read.
GOP lawmakers probed Mr. Comey for two days on Capitol Hill earlier this month, and also questioned former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
About to lose the power of the gavel when they slip into the minority next year, the Republicans had wanted one last crack at Mr. Comey, who they saw as the center of botched decisions at the FBI not to investigate Mrs. Clinton and instead to focus on Mr. Trump.
Ms. Lynch did not comment on her closed door questioning, but Mr. Comey said it harms the integrity of the FBI. He also used the closed-door hearing as an opportunity to criticize the president.
“Republicans used to understand the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matters and the truth matters. Where are those Republicans today?” Mr. Comey said.
Republicans had also wanted to speak with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein since he has been overseeing the probe into Russian interference and had reportedly joked about wearing a wire to secretly record the president.
However, an interview with Mr. Rosenstein has not occurred.