The outgoing Republican committee chairmen in charge of a year-long probe of how the FBI and Justice Department handled investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged Russia ties and Hillary Clinton’s emails once again called for a second special counsel to look into such matters in a letter to top administration and congressional officials summing up their work, Washington Post reported.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) sent their letter to acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
In it, they encouraged them to pick up where the House panels left off and “continue to identify and eliminate bias” at the federal law enforcement agencies “so the public can trust the institutions to make decisions solely on the facts and the law and totally devoid of political bias or consideration.”
“Our 2016 presidential candidates were not treated equally,” Goodlatte and Gowdy wrote in a statement accompanying the release of the letter. “The investigators in both investigations were biased against President Trump.”
The House GOP leaned heavily on details in an inspector general report released earlier this year to make their arguments about bias having infected the FBI and DOJ’s proceedings. The inspector general’s report found that while certain individuals, such as former top FBI counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok, displayed clear personal bias against Trump, there was no evidence that the conclusions of the investigations themselves were biased.
Nonetheless, Republicans and Democrats have openly warred over the implications of the inspector general report and their own investigation for months. Democrats have frequently charged that the GOP used the congressional investigation as a means of discrediting the work that provided the foundation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Republican leaders denied that charge in their letter, arguing that “whatever product is produced by the Special Counsel must be trusted by Americans and that requires asking tough but fair questions about investigative techniques both employed and not employed.”
But after dozens of mostly closed-door interviews and months of high-profile partisan clashes, the seven-page letter comes as a remarkably quiet ending — with lawmakers offering no discernibly new insights or recommendations for how the federal law enforcement agencies erred or might improve their work, The Post added.