House Republicans are intensifying their effort to have the Justice Department investigate Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, as they're seeking the same sort of special counsel probe President Donald Trump's campaign is now enduring.
House Judiciary Committee Republicans detailed in a seven page letter to Justice a request for a special counsel to investigate “actions taken” by Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Earlier this week, committee Republicans agreed to seek documents related to Comey's investigation of Clinton's private email server while secretary of state.
“The American public has a right to know the facts – all of them – surrounding the election and its aftermath,” said the 20 Republicans who signed the letter. “We urge you to appoint a second special counsel to ensure these troubling, unanswered questions are not relegated to the dustbin of history."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment on the GOP letter, or on whether the letter was correct in describing the current scope of Mueller’s investigation.
Pique over that investigation is a big factor motivating the Republicans to seek a similar probe of Democrats. A committee aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity said: "the members are concerned that the order given to Special Counsel Mueller is narrow in scope and doesn't address many issues that are outlined in the letter..."
President Donald Trump has been prodding Attorney General Jeff Sessions via Twitter to revive an inquiry into Clinton. The FBI investigated her use of the private email server, Her use of a private email server as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 was investigated for months by the FBI.
Comey said her actions were careless but that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Just days before the election, he wrote a letter to Congress saying the case was re-opened, but then quickly said it was again regarded as closed.
This week’s letter, addressed to Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, criticizes “the unbalanced, uncertain, and seemingly unlimited focus of the special counsel’s investigation,” and charge it “has led many of our constituents to see a dual standard of justice that benefits only the powerful and politically well-connected.”
Mueller is a former FBI director who served for 12 years. Originally appointed by President George W. Bush, he also served under President Barack Obama.
In recent weeks, his investigation reportedly unearthed information on a June 2016 meeting between a Russian attorney and Donald Trump Jr, presidential son-law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort that was set up as "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump," according to emails posted on the meeting by Trump Jr.
The investigation also reportedly is moving towards looking at Trump’s family and business finances.
The Republican letter requests outlines what is essentially a detailed list of Republican complaints about the Clinton campaign. It suggests 14 areas it says need further investigation, from the "shadow cast over our system of justice concerning Secretary Clinton and her involvement in mishandling classified information" to "Connections between the Clinton campaign, or the Clinton Foundation, and foreign entities, including those from Russia and Ukraine." Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
The letter raises other concerns, including revisiting the "unmasking" of U.S. citizens in foreign wiretaps, "accusations by the President that he was wiretapped by the previous administration," and "immunity deals given to potential Clinton co-conspirators."
In late June, 2016, President Bill Clinton, husband of the Democrat candidate, got on a plane on a Phoenix airport tarmac to talk with Lynch. The meeting took place as Justice was investigating Clinton’s use of the email server.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who also serves on the committee but did not sign the Republican letter, described the latest GOP effort as "simply wrong."
He said that the committee "has refused to do oversight" on issues including Trump’s May firing of Comey.
"You shouldn’t use election results to punish your enemies," he said. "This effort is bad for American democracy."
He said he appreciated the words of Senate Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who recently said the idea of reviving old allegations against Clinton "harkens back to the notion of a banana republic. It’s what dictators do; they look to punish their enemies."
Republican judiciary committee members didn’t respond to requests for interviews Friday. But conservative Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C. said that, while he doesn’t share their concern, many in Congress worry that the Mueller investigation isn’t politically balanced.
"I suppose the letter is more a product of an attempt to balance the political construction of the investigation," he said. "It’s really just another sign that we live in parallel universes. People who watch Fox News believe one thing. People who watch MSNBC believe something entirely different."