A top House Republican is calling for a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into allegations that the FBI was pressured by the Obama administration to shut down a probe into the Clinton Foundation during the 2016 presidential election.
Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteThe job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden MORE (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE on Tuesday raising issues related to some of the claims laid out by a scathing inspector general report on Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeAndrew McCabe says Nassar case represents 'worst dereliction of duty' he's seen at FBI Capitol Police warning of potential for violence during rally backing rioters: report McCabe says law enforcement should take upcoming right-wing rally 'very seriously' MORE, the fired FBI deputy director.
“I have serious concerns that the Department, during the Obama Administration, attempted to obstruct justice by attempting to inappropriately terminate an FBI investigation on the Clinton Foundation,” Goodlatte wrote. “Under the facts laid out by the DOJ Inspector General (IG), it is shocking to hear that the Obama Department of Justice may have allowed politics to dictate what cases should or should not be pursued.”
The IG report, released last month, concluded that McCabe made leaks to the media that were designed to combat the perception that he had a conflict of interest in overseeing dual FBI investigations related to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE, including one related to the Clinton Foundation and another related to her use of a private email server.
McCabe’s disclosure recounted his version of a conversation with a DOJ official about the investigation, in which McCabe says he pushed back on concerns about FBI agents taking “overt steps” during the presidential campaign.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “a senior Justice Department official called Mr. McCabe to voice his displeasure at finding that New York FBI agents were still openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation probe during the election season. ... The Justice Department official was ‘very pissed off,’ according to one person close to McCabe, and pressed him to explain why the FBI was still chasing a matter the department considered dormant.”
Goodlatte and other Republicans have seized on the findings in the report, saying it shows that the Obama-era DOJ, led by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, may have been putting pressure on the bureau to end the Clinton probes.
“It appears that the [Justice official] was at the very least inquiring into why the FBI was pursuing a case against the Clinton Foundation during the election, and at worst, attempting to improperly and illegally influence the status of an ongoing investigation for purely partisan purposes,” Goodlatte wrote. “Both options are unseemly and should be investigated.”
Meanwhile, House conservatives, who have been calling for a second special to investigate allegations of bias at the FBI, have begun drafting a resolution that calls for the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE, the top DOJ official overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s Russia investigation.
Rosenstein has increasingly become a popular target among hard-line conservatives over the last year.
The articles include allegations that Rosenstein violated federal law by refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena that was part of Congress’s efforts to obtain documents about FBI surveillance during the election, intentionally stalling document production for congressional investigations into possible government misconduct and failing to enforce key laws and protocols.
"They can't even resist leaking their own drafts," Rosenstein said during a Tuesday discussion at the Newseum to commemorate Law Day.
"I just don't have anything to say about documents like that that nobody has the courage to put their name on and they leak in that way," he added.
While some GOP leaders, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Watch live: McCarthy holds briefing with reporters MORE (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseFifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Democratic leaders racing toward Monday infrastructure vote House GOP to whip against bipartisan infrastructure bill MORE (R-La.), have backed a second special counsel, Republican leaders have been largely silent on the conservative calls to impeach Rosenstein.
At Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was unaware of any high crimes or misdemeanors that President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE believed Rosenstein had committed.
In late March, Sessions announced that, while he would not be appointing a second special counsel, he had named a federal prosecutor in Utah to lead the investigation into GOP allegations that the FBI and DOJ abused a surveillance program against a former Trump campaign aide.
—Katie Bo Williams contributed.