A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing designed to learn more about a federal report on the flawed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails was stymied when one key witness refused to talk and two others did not even attend.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who had sought immunity before he would discuss his role in the investigation, refused to testify after it was not granted. Instead, Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley said Monday that McCabe invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, The Washington Times reported.
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former FBI Director James Comey were also invited to testify but did not attend. Grassley cited them both in his comments.
“Mr. Comey’s attorney tells us he is out of the country, although I saw he was in Iowa over the weekend. According to his Twitter feed, he seems to be having a wonderful time,” the Iowa Republican said.
“This is the second time since he was fired that Mr. Comey refused an invitation to testify here voluntarily. He has time for book tours and television interviews, but apparently no time to assist this Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the Justice Department,” Grassley said.
In reference to Lynch, he said, “The need for transparency does not end when senior officials are fired or quit.”
Last week, the Justice Department’s Inspector General presented its report on the year-long FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server while she was secretary of state. The report, which can be read at the Justice Department’s website, depicted a pervasive culture of bias against President Donald Trump at the FBI and Justice Department.
McCabe’s silence came as no surprise.
“If McCabe is not granted immunity, he will invoke his 5th Amendment privilege,” McCabe’s attorney, Michael Bromwich, had written to the committee. McCabe was fired over leaking material to the media.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray did appear before the Committee on Monday.
Wray was asked by Sen. Ted Cruz about a dispute between Comey and McCabe.
McCabe has said Comey approved McCabe’s leaks to the media. Comey has denied that.
“One or the other is not telling the truth. I don’t know which one,” the Texas Republican said.
Wray said he could not answer because the answer could impact an ongoing investigation.
Horowitz later said an investigation is underway into Comey’s actions, including his leaking of private memos and the leaking of other internal details to the media, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Grassley said he wanted to force Comey, Lynch and McCabe to testify but California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the panel, prevented him from issuing subpoenas, according to BizPac Review.
“We changed our rules at the beginning of this Congress to ensure the Chairman and the Ranking Member could compel hearing testimony from important witnesses like these,” Grassley said. “Unfortunately, the Ranking Member refused to agree to compel any of them to be here today. That’s a shame because we should be asking them how all of this happened on their watch.”
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