Screengrabs via YouTube: C-SPAN, CBS News

The Facts —

  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Virginia) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (South Carolina) have opened a joint investigation into a number of decisions made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2016, the representatives announced in a joint statement on 24 October.
  • “Decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016 have led to a host of outstanding questions that must be answered,” the joint statement said. Issues that will be investigated include, but are not limited to:

“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 Committees will review these decisions and others to better understand the reasoning behind how certain conclusions were drawn. Congress has a constitutional duty to preserve the integrity of our justice system by ensuring transparency and accountability of actions taken.”

The Context —

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in her book What Happened — an account of her 2016 campaign for the presidency against President Donald Trump — according to Politico:

“What happened in the homestretch that caused so many voters to turn away from me? First, and most importantly, there was the unprecedented intervention by then FBI Director Jim Comey.”

  • Former FBI Director Jim Comey sent a letter to House leaders on 28 October 2016 explaining, days before the 2016 president election, that additional emails from Clinton’s private server were discovered after the Bureau completed its investigation into her email practices, an issued that plagued Clinton throughout her candidacy for president.
    • Comey explained that the Clinton-related emails he mentioned in his 28 October letter to House leaders were discovered during a separate FBI investigation.
    • The emails in question were almost entirely duplicate emails that had already been reviewed by the FBI, Newsweek reported on 6 November 2016.

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  • On 6 November 2016, Comey sent a second letter to the House of Representatives explaining that the emails were not new, and did not add anything to the previously closed investigation.

“I write to supplement my October 28, 2016 letter that notified you the FBI would be taking additional investigative steps with respect to former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Since my letter, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.

Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.

I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.”

“To all:
This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation. Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case. Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record. At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression. In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it. Jim Comey”

  • The New York Times reported that the emails were found on electronic devices owned by top Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner.
    • The FBI began investigating Weiner after it came to light that he sent sexually-suggestive pictures of himself to a 15-year-old girl, a crime to which Weiner pled guilty in May, and was sentenced to 21 months in jail.
  • Comey determined in July 2016 that Clinton should not be prosecuted for her handling of classified information related to her use of a private email server while Secretary of State.
    • Attorney General Loretta Lynch left that decision to the FBI so as to avoid the appearance of an impropriety or a conflict of interest following a 30-minute meeting on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport with former President Bill Clinton on 27 June 2016, which Lynch said was purely social.

Supporters of the Investigation into the DOJ’s 2016 Actions —

“Decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016 have led to a host of outstanding questions that must be answered.”

  • Gowdy told Fox News on 24 October that “no entity is above oversight:”

  • The GOP House Oversight Committee Twitter account wrote the purpose of this investigation is “to ensure transparency and accountability at the [FBI] agency.”

Critics of the Investigation into the DOJ’s 2016 Actions —

  • The Democratic House Oversight Committee Twitter account published the following tweets on 24 October:

  • Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Maryland), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. John Conyers (Michigan), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, issued the following joint statement on 24 October calling Goodlatte’s and Gowdy’s investigation “a massive diversion to distract from the lack of Republican oversight of the Trump Administration and the national security threat that Russia poses.” The representatives added:

“The Russian government continues to represent a clear and present threat to the United States and our democratic system, and we are the targets of near-constant cyberattacks by foreign adversaries. Yet House Republicans have taken no concrete steps to secure our next election. Apparently, House Republicans are more concerned about Jim Comey than Vladimir Putin…

“If Republicans want to know why Director Comey discussed the investigation of Secretary Clinton publicly, maybe they should ask their own former Republican Chairman, Jason Chaffetz, who harassed the FBI for months to reveal public details about the case. Rep. Chaffetz hauled Director Comey before the Oversight Committee to demand his public testimony, issued twelve unilateral subpoenas to Comey and others to force the production of internal investigative documents, and held five ‘emergency hearings’ directly before the election to harm Secretary Clinton’s presidential bid — all while completely ignoring the extremely troubling reports about Donald Trump and his campaign’s connections to the Russians. We must protect our democracy.”

Stephanie Haney contributed to this report. 

The Whim News Team

The Whim News Desk

We'd rather be second and accurate than be first and wrong. The Whim News Desk is a dedicated team of researchers and investigators committed to presenting the news without bias. Follow us @TheWhimOnline for daily news coverage without the spin!

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