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House Oversight subpoenas FBI for Clinton investigation documents

House Oversight subpoenas FBI for Clinton investigation documents
© Haiyun Jiang

The House Oversight Committee on Monday night issued a subpoena to the FBI for more documents related to the agency’s investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHarris lists out 'racist' actions by Trump in '60 minutes' interview: 'It all speaks for itself' Trump has list of top intelligence officials he'll fire if he wins reelection: report Clinton says most Republicans want to see Trump gone but can't say it publicly: report MORE’s private email server.

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Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (R-Utah) demanded an unredacted copy of the FBI’s report of its investigation, as well as the summaries of key interviews done during the course of the probe, known as 302s.  

“Will the FBI provide to Congress the full file with no redactions of personally-identifiable information?” Chaffetz asked Jason Herring, the FBI's acting assistant director for congressional affairs, during a late afternoon hearing on the documents.

“I can’t make that commitment,” Herring replied.

“Then I’m going to issue a subpoena and I’m going to do it right now,” Chaffetz said, pulling out the document. "We want all the 302s and we would like the full file. You are hereby served.”

Chaffetz, Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySunday shows preview: Election integrity dominates as Nov. 3 nears Tim Scott invokes Breonna Taylor, George Floyd in Trump convention speech Sunday shows preview: Republicans gear up for national convention, USPS debate continues in Washington MORE (R-S.C.) and others repeatedly pressed Herring on the justification for blacking out some personally-identifiable information in the unclassified copy of the FBI's report that was provided to Congress. 

According to Herring, the decision was made at the highest level of the bureau and took into account whether the person in question was already in the public eye.

“Can you cite any legal case, any precedent that says that Congress cannot look at personally-identifiable information?" Chaffetz asked.

Herring said he could not, but argued that exposing individuals unnecessarily could have a chilling effect on public cooperation with future investigations.

“Where I have a problem is when [the FBI] redact[s] information that is not deemed classified. It makes no sense. I believe that Congress should be able to see that,” Chaffetz insisted.

"While I understand there is an argument to withhold information under the Privacy Act or the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), neither of those apply to Congress or any other committees.”

Republicans also pushed Herring on the unreleased 302s, believed to be the interviews with key Clinton aides. According to Herring, the remaining summaries are “working their way through the FOIA process.”

Democrats repeatedly pushed back on the questioning as an attack on Clinton’s presidential campaign, arguing that the session should have been conducted behind closed doors in order to “responsibly” review what should and should not have been redacted.

“I guess this is what happens when you try to schedule a public attack against Hillary Clinton for every day of the week — you get frantic, and you swap substantive discussions for set-up hearings and cheap press hits,” Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in his opening statement.