The Obama administration is in a bit of a tizzy over a request from two congressional committees to see “all investigative files” into Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wants the files, as does U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Politico reported Saturday.
Scores of people were furious last month when Comey said that he recommended the Department of Justice not prosecute the Democratic presidential hopeful over her use of a private email server.
When Comey testified before Congress, he said he would comply with requests for the summaries from Clinton and other witnesses and provide information the FBI gathered in its year-long probe.
“I’ll commit to giving you everything I can possibly give you under the law and to doing it as quickly as possible,” Comey told Chaffetz’ committee July 7.
That same day, Chaffetz sent the FBI director a letter requesting all of the “investigative files” concerning Clinton’s email scandal.
Some government officials, including some of those interviewed, are trying to stop the release of the summaries.
A State Department spokeswoman denied the agency is objecting to disclosing the transcripts, but said the department wants to be told exactly what the FBI is sending to Congress.
“The State Department has asked the FBI that we be kept apprised of information to be provided to Congress that contains sensitive information related to State Department equities and for an opportunity to review it,” State Department Director of Press Relations Elizabeth Trudeau said in a statement. “Such an opportunity for review is in keeping with the standard interagency review process when dealing with another agency’s documents or equities,” Trudeau added. She noted that in relevant cases State checks in with the FBI before sending information to Congress or making it public under the Freedom of Information Act.
A former Justice Department official said releasing the files to members of Congress would open a can of worms.
“The Justice Department would be right to be concerned about the effect that disclosure will have in the future on people being candid with investigators,” former Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Ron Weich told Politico. “It’s important that the FBI and Justice Department be able to gather evidence and deliberate about potential culpability without fearing that material will be viewed by the public … Congress needs to stay out of law enforcement. Their job is to pass laws and the executive branch’s job is to carry them out. For me, this is very straightforward.”
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