Get ready for some fierce partisan fireworks on Capitol Hill. Two House Republican committee chairs will combine efforts in a joint probe of both the FBI and Department of Justice. One of the two, Trey Gowdy, has some experience at investigations into Hillary Clinton — and was one of the catalysts for the criminal probe of her use of a secret e-mail server:
“Decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016 have led to a host of outstanding questions that must be answered,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said in a joint statement.
The two Republican leaders said they have questions about the FBI’s decision to openly declare the bureau’s investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information, while quietly investigating Trump campaign associates.
They are also interested to know why the FBI decided to formally notify Congress of the probe on two separate occasions; why the FBI — rather than the Justice Department — recommended that Clinton not be charged after the investigation concluded; and the reasoning behind their timeline for announcing such decisions.
That takes a little pressure off of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been pressured to open a separate investigation at the DoJ. Despite strenuous vocal criticism of Justice and the FBI over its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server during the 2016 campaign, Sessions has avoided addressing it at all since taking office. That’s likely a wise choice, given the political heat over the Russian-influence probe, as well as avoiding the precedent of having an administration launch investigations into its predecessor. With Gowdy and Goodlatte taking the lead, Sessions will be free to cooperate with their investigation rather than lead one himself.
Normally, one would be well advised to refrain from high expectations in such an exercise. Gowdy, however, proved his capabilities with the Benghazi select committee in 2014, which formed amid hoots of partisan derision after other Congressional reviews of the attack on the US consulate stalled. The select committee finally uncovered Hillary’s secret server and her corruption of the Federal Records Act and the State Department, which for years stated in court that she had no e-mails responsive to FOIA demands. If anyone can produce results in a constitutional oversight role, Gowdy can.
Nor is that his only effort. Moments after announcing the partnership with the Judiciary Committee, The Hill reports that Gowdy will team up with Intelligence to probe the Uranium One sale and the reports of Russian influence and extortion surrounding it:
The two panels, the House Intelligence and Oversight Committees, will first probe whether there was an FBI investigation into the deal, approved when former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) on Monday cited “very, very real concerns about why we would allow a Russian-owned company to get access to 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.”
“It’s important we find out why that deal went through.”
A confidential informant has come forward to the committees, according to Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), and the two panels are currently in discussions with the Justice Department to release that individual from a nondisclosure agreement.
Of the two, the Clintons have more to fear from the latter, and not just the Clintons either. It’s too late to do much about Hillary Clinton’s corruption regarding her e-mail, it having been litigated by the DoJ already. That’s not true at all of the Uranium One deal, which reportedly got buried by the DoJ under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, and which might reach into the Clinton Foundation and the Clintons’ pockets. Democrats might be able to carry an argument that the e-mail server scandal is old news, but thanks to their non-stop hysteria over Russian influence, they can’t sustain that argument on Uranium One.
The big question, of course, is when — not whether — Gowdy will invite Robert Mueller to testify on the FBI probe and the attempts to silence their confidential informant to keep him from talking to Congress. That should provide enough fireworks for a decade’s worth of Independence Day celebrations.