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House GOP chair calls for investigation into FBI’s Clinton Foundation probe

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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 Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday raising issues related to some of the claims laid out by a scathing inspector general report on Andrew McCabe, the fired FBI deputy director.

{mosads}“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 Clinton, 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 Rosenstein, the top DOJ official overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’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 McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (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 Trump 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.

Tags Andrew McCabe Bob Goodlatte Department of Justice Donald Trump Federal Bureau of Investigation Hillary Clinton Impeachment Jeff Sessions Kevin McCarthy Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Steve Scalise
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