At first glance, you might think it’s something right out of a novel. Salacious, unverified dossiers, reports of informants that appear more like spies for the U.S. government, a chain of alarming text messages, and the use of surveillance powers to collect information on a U.S. citizen all play a central role in the story.
But it’s not a novel, it is real life. The actions of top officials at the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) surrounding the 2016 election are deeply troubling. That’s why Congress has a responsibility to pursue the truth and ensure America’s law enforcement agencies operate fairly and justly.
In October of last year, the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced a joint investigation into decisions made by the FBI and DOJ in 2016 and 2017. This includes decisions by former FBI Director James Comey not to prosecute former Secretary of State Clinton as part of the investigation into her private email server and to publicly announce just days before the election that he was reopening the investigation. To date, the Committees have interviewed several key witnesses and reviewed thousands of related documents.
Last month, the DOJ Inspector General – an independent entity tasked with rooting out misconduct within the department – released a report detailing many problems with this particular investigation, as well as serious institutional issues. The report confirmed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received special treatment from the Obama Justice Department during its investigation of her use of a private email server. The DOJ and FBI didn’t treat her like any other criminal suspect and didn’t follow standard investigative procedures. In fact, one of the lead investigators, Peter Strzok, texted he would “stop” Trump from becoming President. These actions only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in their justice system.
Just a few days ago, the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to Peter Strzok – a former senior official in the FBI’s counterintelligence division – to testify publicly before the Committees. The joint hearing is expected to convene on Thursday, July 12. This is an important opportunity for Members of the Committees to get answers from Mr. Strzok regarding his role in the investigation as well as his chain of politically-biased text messages with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Why is this investigation important? Every American, regardless of political affiliation, should be concerned by the FBI’s actions. Equality under the law is a core American value. Our laws are to be administered and enforced with impartiality.
Any questions regarding the FBI’s and DOJ’s actions need to be resolved so that the focus is once again on the great men and women performing admirable and often heroic jobs to protect our country. I will continue in my role as Judiciary Committee Chairman to seek transparency and accountability from our nation’s law enforcement agencies. The American people deserve nothing less.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte