FBI director James Comey really had little choice but to inform Congress that there was “potentially relevant information” in new emails to review from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private server, Congressman Trey Gowdy told CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday morning.
Gowdy, R-S.C., addressing a letter the director sent to Congress about a new batch of emails that broke late last week, said the reaction from Democrats that the move might violate the Hatch Act against federal employees using their positions for political reasons was off base. He said Comey “did tell Congress in July that the investigation had been completed and he had determined that she didn’t have specific intent to commit a crime. So I think he felt the need to supplement the record.”
Gowdy has been thrust into a role as a GOP spokesman regarding the new emails, which have been described as having been discovered during an FBI investigation into former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexting with an underage girl. Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, is a top aide to Clinton. The FBI was looking into Weiner’s alleged activities when it reportedly found devices that included the new batch of emails.
I think he felt the need to supplement the record.
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, on the FBI director informing Congress of a new batch of Hillary Clinton emails
The issue that Clinton used a private email account, not the secure State Department one provided for her when she was secretary of state, first came up during Gowdy’s congressional investigation into the events surrounding the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11, 2012.
Calling on his background as a federal prosecutor and 7th Circuit solicitor, Gowdy told CNN that law enforcement officials can’t control the public reaction to the information they provide. He said of Clinton supporters, “A couple of months ago, they thought Jim Comey was the second coming of Christ, and a couple of months later, now they think that he should be investigated for violation of the Hatch Act. I don’t like relativism, whether it exists on my side of the aisle or their side of the aisle. I think the same rules ought to apply.”
Those rules, he added, applied to complaints that the FBI has not discussed an alleged investigation into Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
“Well, as a general rule, the bureau does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, although that rule lately has been honored more in its breach,” he said, which is different from commenting to Congress on issues on which Congress has asked for information. “I don’t view his letter as an update on the facts of the investigation. I view it as a notice document. I want you to know my previous testimony has changed. The matter is still open. That’s how I viewed the letter.”