WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican chairmen of two House committees announced Tuesday they’re opening an investigation into actions the Obama administration Justice Department took during last year’s presidential election.
The chairmen said in a statement Tuesday they have several questions, including why then-FBI Director James Comey decided to publicly announce the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information but not to publicly announce the investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign associates.
Trump fired Comey in May. At first, the White House cited a harsh memo about Comey’s performance from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as the justification — though Trump later said he would have fired Comey regardless of what the Justice Department recommended.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, chairman of the Oversight Committee, announced the probe. They described it as necessary to “better understand the reasoning behind how certain conclusions were drawn.”
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Other questions the Republican lawmakers said they want addressed revolve around the decision not to file criminal charges against Clinton. The lack of charges remains a lingering grievance for Trump, who for months has held it up as an example of a “rigged” criminal justice system that shielded his Democratic opponent from punishment for her use of a private server for government business.
Comey said in July of last year that Clinton’s handling of classified information was “extremely careless” but the FBI would not recommend charges against her.
The two chairmen said they want to know more about the FBI’s timeline for charging decisions.
“Congress has a constitutional duty to preserve the integrity of our justice system by ensuring transparency and accountability of actions taken,” Goodlatte and Gowdy said in a press release.
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia dismissed the move.
“This is nothing more than a charade and distraction from the ongoing crisis in the White House. What about Russia? What about rampant conflicts of interest? This gives hypocrisy a bad name,” he said.