The Republican leaders of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees announced the launch of an investigation into various decisions the Justice Department made during the 2016 campaign, including the FBI’s handing of the Hillary Clinton email inquiry as well as its decision not to make public its ongoing investigation into associates of President Donald Trump.
House Oversight Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlate (R-VA) said in a joint statement that “Congress has a constitutional duty to preserve the integrity of our justice system by ensuring transparency and accountability of actions taken.”
The top Democrats on the committees accused Republicans of engaging in “a massive diversion to distract from the lack of Republican oversight of the Trump Administration and the national security threat that Russia poses,” in a statement issued a few hours after the new probe was announced.
“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,” Judiciary’s Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Oversight’s Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in the statement. “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.”
Gowdy and Goodlatte’s investigation comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee, and particularly its chair, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), has also signaled interest in examining some of the moves the DOJ made during the election.
According to Gowdy and Goodlatte’s press release, the probe will include (but is not limited to) the following questions:
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; and
FBI’s timeline in respect to charging decisions.