With a Democrat majority set to take control of the House of Representatives, it was made abundantly clear that all Republican-led committee investigations would be killed and a whole new swath of Democrat-led investigations into President Donald Trump would be launched.
No doubt with that in mind, the Republican leaders of two major committees have formally ended their joint investigation into how the FBI had handled the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal, though they shared their remaining concerns in a publicized letter.
Outgoing committee chairs Bob Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy — of the Judiciary and Oversight Committees, respectively — sent a six-page letter to Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell informing them of the closure of the investigation.
They also documented their many “serious questions and concerns” about the “thoroughness and impartiality” of the FBI’s Clinton investigation, especially as compared to how the Trump-Russia investigation had been handled.
Litany of concerns about Comey
Goodlatte and Gowdy took particular exception to both the actions and inaction of fired FBI Director James Comey in 2016 and 2017, most notably how he usurped the power of the DOJ to decide whether or not to prosecute Clinton on his own, how his FBI ignored a clear reading of relevant statutes to avoid prosecution of Clinton, and how his investigative team was quite obviously biased in favor of Clinton and against Trump.
They also took issue with how Comey had allowed for potential witnesses of Clinton’s alleged crimes to sit in on the interview with Clinton, as well as how Comey had already drafted Clinton’s exoneration months prior to her actual interview — not to mention how relevant evidence about her private email server was overlooked and excluded by the investigation.
That would include evidence that former President Barack Obama had emailed Clinton on her private server, how Clinton’s emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop were essentially ignored, and how evidence that foreign states had gained access to Clinton’s emails had been ignored, as well.
Obvious bias, non-cooperation and unanswered questions
The committee chairs also expressed their concerns about the obvious evidence of bias among the FBI and DOJ, most especially from fired FBI agent Peter Strzok — who was involved in the Clinton investigation, the FBI’s initial Trump investigation, and the Robert Mueller-led special counsel investigation into Trump — who had expressed his open animus toward Trump in countless text messages to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Gowdy and Goodlatte wrote: “It is not the discovery of bias that is so destructive to fairness, it is the existence of it. How an agent with this level of bias could have been centrally involved at each stage of three major investigations needs to be fully understood so it can be fully avoided and mitigated.”
Alas, their efforts to ensure that everything was “fully understood” was subverted by the “institutional protectionism” of the DOJ and FBI who consistently refused to cooperate with committee requests for relevant documents and witness interviews.
The two committee chairs also shot down the rumor their investigation was intended to undermine the work of Mueller’s investigation, writing: “Quite the opposite, whatever product is produced by the special counsel must be trusted by Americans and that requires asking tough but fair questions about investigative techniques both employed and not employed.”
They closed out their letter with a reiteration of their prior call for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate how the Clinton and Trump investigations were handled, and subtly suggested the Republican-led Senate could pick up where their investigation had left off.
These two men have worked hard over the past year to uncover the truth of what the FBI did with regard to the Clinton investigation, but alas, their work must cease now that Democrats will be taking power.
Hopefully, the Senate committees will carry on that work and a second special counsel will ultimately be appointed as well, as there are still plenty of unanswered questions and significant concerns that still need to be addressed.