Gowdy on new Clinton emails: May Justice be done

Congressman Trey Gowdy’s statement on the reopening of an FBI investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails didn’t feature a call to arms. But it might as well have.

The South Carolina Republican established an adversarial position with the former secretary of state through his Benghazi Committee, which was investigating the events that resulted in the deaths of an American ambassador to Libya and three others on Sept. 11, 2012, in Libya’s second largest city. His committee’s final report on Benghazi stopped short of finding fault with Clinton, though it was highly critical.

Their relationship had reached a point where Gowdy had been featured in more than 200 emails of the recently released cache through WikiLeaks called “The Podesta Emails,” involving the Clintons’ inner circle. Friday, Gowdy issued a statement that stopped just short of jubilation regarding the FBI’s announcement that a new set of Clinton’s emails had been found and would be investigated.

“In the end,” he wrote in the original Latin, “Fiat Justitia ruat caelum.” He then offered the translation: “May Justice be Done though the Heavens fall.”

Gowdy was reacting to a letter sent to Congress on Friday by FBI director James Comey that says his agency will be investigating newly discovered emails to determine whether they contain “classified information as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”

Comey earlier this year had testified to Congress that his investigation into emails Clinton had kept in a private account – and therefore outside the high security of her official State Department account – had ended without finding cause for criminal charges in the matter. His letter Friday explained, “In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. . . . I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails.”

Gowdy’s statement said he’d found Comey’s “manner of communicating to Congress and the content of said communication to be instructive.”

His statement said: “My objective remains as it has always been: a full, complete, independent investigation consistent with the history and reputation of the FBI and worthy of public respect and confidence.”

Gowdy was not the only South Carolina congressman to quickly issue a statement. Fellow Republican Congressman Joe Wilson issued a statement making it clear that he believes the Democrat had been reckless in her use of a private email server. He said his district is home to “countless military families and government employees who understand the importance of properly handling classified data and the consequences of failing to do so. It is an offensive abuse of power to hold Secretary Clinton to a different standard.”

“Secretary Clinton put American families at risk of attack with her utter lack of judgment when she used a private email server to transmit official, government business,” his statement read.

Matthew Schofield: 202-383-6066, @mattschodcnews