House Republicans are looking deeper into the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, scheduling three witnesses for June after a four month hiatus without interviews.
The inquiry is being run jointly by the Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Affairs committees, The Hill reported.
The three witnesses include Bill Priestap, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division; Michael Steinbach, the former head of the FBI’s national security division; and John Giacalone, who preceded Steinbach as the bureau’s top national security official.
Priestap is of particular interest because of his leadership position over the Clinton and Russia probes. Among those who served under him was counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, who reportedly was on hand when the bureau interviewed both Clinton and Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.
Multiple texts released by the Department of Justice inspector general between Strzok and his mistress, then-FBI attorney Lisa Page, showed extreme bias against then-candidate Donald Trump.
Strzok described Trump during the 2016 campaign as a “loathsome human” and an “idiot,” and found the prospect of him being president “terrifying.”
Page texted him, “There is no way (Trump) gets elected.”
Strzok then replied, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office … that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
In another exchange, Page wrote “Trump should go f himself,” to which Strzok replied, “F Trump.”
Neither Strzok, nor Page, who recently resigned from the FBI, is expected to testify before Congress in June.
“The Judiciary-Oversight inquiry is running on parallel tracks to an investigation spearheaded by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who has zeroed in on what he describes as surveillance abuses by the Justice Department and the FBI during the election,” according to The Hill.
Additionally, House Republicans introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling for the appointment a second special counsel to look into alleged abuses at the FBI and Justice Department regarding multiple issues, including their handling of the Clinton email scandal and the reported spying on the Trump presidential campaign.
The 12-page resolution offers a detailed account of the many areas the members would call on the special counsel to investigate.
The subjects range from the “premature” closing of the investigation into Clinton’s unauthorized, unsecured private email server during her time as secretary of state to her destruction of materials subject to grand jury and congressional subpoenas to former FBI Director James Comey’s letter exonerating Clinton drafted before interviewing numerous key witnesses (including Clinton) to donations received by the Clinton Foundation in light of the Uranium One deal.
Taking note of the IG’s limitations, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March also calling for a special counsel.
“When I counted up 24 witnesses that he would not be able to access were he to investigate it, yeah only one conclusion, that’s special counsel,” Gowdy told Fox News at the time.
Horowitz has no access to “anyone who no longer works for the Department of Justice, FBI, State Department,” Gowdy explained.
On Thursday, Trump praised the rank-and-file members of the FBI, who he said are starting to speak out against “corruption” within the bureau.
Not surprisingly, the GREAT Men & Women of the FBI are starting to speak out against Comey, McCabe and all of the political corruption and poor leadership found within the top ranks of the FBI. Comey was a terrible and corrupt leader who inflicted great pain on the FBI! #SPYGATE
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018
“Not surprisingly, the GREAT Men & Women of the FBI are starting to speak out against Comey, McCabe and all of the political corruption and poor leadership found within the top ranks of the FBI,” he wrote.
Trump added, “Comey was a terrible and corrupt leader who inflicted great pain on the FBI!”
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