At least four congressional investigations into Hillary Clinton’s personal email use and mishandling of classified information are expected to go forward even after the former secretary of state’s election loss last week, Republican lawmakers tell Fox News.
The probes, which cover allegations that Clinton lied to Congress about her email practices in October 2015 and that government records were destroyed, are ongoing and not dependent on the election’s outcome, two senior Republican senators said.
“I still don’t have the information I need,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told Fox News. Johnson said the work of his committee, with jurisdiction over government records and the mishandling of classified information, would be careful not to disrupt President-elect Donald Trump’s priorities.
“I think it’s one of the messages of this election that the public is disgusted when they see double standards, when they think people in high places, high government officials can get away with what ordinary citizens can’t,” he said. “So, I just think it’s extremely important to follow this thing through and get all the information. Make it public.”
A spokesperson for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said answers, not the political calendar, are driving investigators.
“Senator Grassley has always followed inquiries through to their logical end, until he feels he’s received the answers he needs to be able to satisfy the questions he posed on the public’s behalf. He performs oversight regardless of which party holds the White House, just as he initiates oversight inquiries irrespective of politics,” the spokesperson said.
While the senators have more latitude to conduct committee investigations, there is an expectation on the House side that leadership will set immediate priorities for the new session.
Both the House judiciary and government oversight committees have pending investigations that cover allegations of a quid pro quo between a State Department executive and an FBI official over stripping an email of its classified status in return for coveted slots for the bureau overseas. Congressional sources said lingering questions about the FBI probe into the Clinton Foundation, and pay-to-play allegations, must also be resolved – though FBI Director James Comey sought to close the book on the email case right before the election, after briefly re-opening the matter.
“We still have some questions because [Comey’s] latest letter narrowed the scope of their investigation to the time that she was secretary of state, but we’re also interested in what happened before and what happened after that. It’s this huge … mess that has to be cleaned up. So we would be remiss if we just dismiss it and moved on,” Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Congressional sources said some committee requests for the State Department are over a year old, and others from the FBI, including for a handful of remaining interview summaries known as 302s, have yet to be fulfilled.
“[The requests] go back probably about a year. I’ve asked for information on who else, what other high-level administration officials were engaged on these emails,” Johnson said.
President Obama, among others, used an alias to correspond with Clinton on her personal email which resided on a private, unsecured server.
During a weekend conference call with top donors, Hillary Clinton blamed Comey for her defeat. Clinton said Comey’s decision to reopen the email case 11 days before the election put her campaign on the defense and blunted her ability to make a strong closing argument.
While Comey announced two days before the polls opened that he continued to believe there was no basis for criminal charges, Clinton told donors the FBI director’s decision reinforced a central Trump campaign theme — that the system is rigged — and it drove Trump voters to the polls on Election Day. On CBS’ “This Morning,” Clinton’s former Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders said the failure goes beyond the emails.
“It’s not a question of what happens in the last week,” Sanders told Charlie Rose. “The question is she should have won this election by 10 percentage points. The question is why it is millions of white working-class people voted for Obama, turned their backs on the Democratic Party.”