Republicans Are Investigating The FBI's Hillary Clinton Email Probe Like It's Still 2016
On Tuesday, the two Republican chairmen of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees ― Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Rep, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, respectively ― announced their committees are launching probes into the FBI's handling of its Hillary Clinton investigation last year. This news comes the same day as controversial House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes announced that his committee will be examining a uranium deal with Russia approved during the Obama administration, one that President Donald Trump has used to deflect scrutiny of his own alleged Russia ties.
In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Goodlatte and Gowdy announced that the two committees would conduct a joint investigation of the FBI's handling of the Clinton investigation.
"Decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016 have led to a host of outstanding questions that must be answered," the statement reads, identifying the following areas the probe will examine.
• FBI’s decision to publicly announce the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s handling of classified information but not to publicly announce the investigation into campaign associates of then-candidate Donald Trump;
• FBI’s decision to notify Congress by formal letter of the status of the investigation both in October and November of 2016;
• FBI’s decision to appropriate full decision making in respect to charging or not charging Secretary Clinton to the FBI rather than the DOJ;
• FBI’s timeline in respect to charging decisions.
The joint statement from Gowdy and Goodlatte also invoked the image of a blindfolded justice, concluding that "no individual is exempt from oversight."
Our justice system is represented by a blind-folded woman holding a set of scales. Those scales do not tip to the right or the left; they do not recognize wealth, power, or social status. ... No entity or individual is exempt from oversight.
It's worth noting that the questions listed don't all have negative implications for Clinton, although it's impossible to know for sure how the probe will move forward on them. The first point, for example, draws a comparison between the FBI's extremely assertive updates to Congress regarding the Clinton affair, versus its relative silence about its investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia.
Gowdy has long been involved in investigation efforts regarding Clinton. Most notably, he was the chairman during Clinton's 11-hour testimony about the Benghazi consulate attack last year, a performance which won her praise from Democrats and her supporters.
Representative John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, was none too pleased with the announcement of the new joint probe. Specifically, he and Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, condemned the GOP leadership for failing to conduct aggressive investigations into the Trump administration, in this case favoring a focus on Clinton and the FBI.
Ten months into the Trump Administration and House Republicans still have not held a single substantive oversight hearing on clear abuses by the President or his top aides. That amounts to ten months of abdication of responsibility—a near total failure to question, investigate, or challenge the President or the White House, including on grave allegations of obstruction of justice.
Both Conyers and Cummings voiced outrage that a new investigation into Clinton was being launched amid the ongoing independent counsel and congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, both of which have been received skeptically and reluctantly by many Republicans. Their statement described the Russian government as "a clear and present threat to the United States and our democratic system," while Cummings assailed the House GOP for its laser-like focus on Clinton.
"This new investigation is a massive diversion to distract from the lack of Republican oversight of the Trump administration and the national security threat that Russia poses," the joint statement said.