House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) issued a blistering statement Thursday criticizing the Department of Justice’s “numerous failures” in investigating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Gowdy said he is “alarmed, angered, and deeply disappointed” by Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s findings, which were released in a report to Congress Thursday, and he told Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray to take “decisive action restore Americans’ confidence in our justice system.” He said the IG report showed the investigation into potential Espionage Act violations by Clinton deviated from standard procedure “in favor of a much more permissive and voluntary approach.”
“This is not the way normal investigations are run,” Gowdy said. “The investigatory conclusions were reached before the end of the witness interviews. The July 5th press conference marked a serious violation of policy and process. And the letters to Congress in the fall of 2016 were both delayed in substance and unnecessary in form.”
Gowdy zeroed in on how the treatment of Clinton and her associates was “starkly different from the FBI’s investigation into Trump campaign officials.”
“Voluntariness and consent in the former were replaced with search warrants, subpoenas, and other compulsory processes in the latter,” Gowdy said. “Many of the investigators and supervisors were the same in both investigations but the investigatory tactics were not.”
In addition, he alluded to the text messages between FBI investigator Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, in which Strzok said “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president. Gowdy said his messages show “manifest bias trending toward animus,” which “casts a pall on this investigation.”
“Bias is so pernicious and malignant as to both taint the process, the result, and the ability to have confidence in either,” he said.
Gowdy accused former FBI Director James Comey of violating established policy, judging such violations as a problem for the department.
“Former Director Comey violated Department policy in several significant ways,” he said. “The FBI’s actions and those of former Director Comey severely damaged the credibility of the investigation, the public’s ability to rely on the results of the investigation, and the very institutions he claims to revere.”
Gowdy finished by saying “questionable decision making by FBI and DOJ leadership destroys confidence in the impartiality of the institutions I have long served, respected, and believed in.”
“This is not the FBI I know. This is not the FBI our country needs. This is not the FBI citizens and suspects alike deserve,” he said. “It is now urgently incumbent on Attorney General Sessions and Director Wray to take decisive action to restore Americans’ confidence in our justice system.”