This week, the House Oversight Committee called for the appointment of special counsel to commence an investigation into the Department of Justice under the Obama administration for possible crimes such as FISA abuse and bias.
The official request was implemented by the chairmen of both the Oversight and Judiciary Committees — Republican Representatives Gowdy and Goodlatte. When asked what prompted the need for these new investigations, it was said that matters have arisen that would prescribe the need for special counsel.
Why the Need for Special Counsel?
In a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the chairmen issued the following statement:
“We believe that, in the case of certain decisions made and not made by the Department of Justice and FBI in 2016 and 2017, both an actual conflict of interest exists and separately, but equally significant, the public interest requires the appointment of a special counsel.”
The letter went on to discuss the unverified dossier compiled for Hilary Clinton and paid for by Democrats, which was used against President Donald Trump in court filings. The letter stated that by including this politically motivated and unverified information, the dossier shows strong evidence of bias in both the FBI as well as the DOJ. The chairman went on to state that they believed special counsel would be a necessity, citing the inability of Congress to mitigate it properly.
The letter discusses the 2016 October Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant that was executed on Carter Page, Trump’s former foreign policy advisor during the campaign. Part of the allegations state that the Justice Department and the FBI had used the dossier on the alleged Trump and Russia connection and presented it to the FISA court without providing the fact that the dossier came from Democrats who provided the dossier even though it was not thoroughly vetted. The chairmen stated that by withholding the origin and link with the dossier both the FBI and DOJ showed bias during the investigation.
Goodlatte and Gowdy believe that a special prosecutor is necessary as they feel the scope goes above the reach of the Justice Department inspector general, who would be unable to gain access to at least 24 witnesses that could be included in the investigations — including such people as Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer, both confidantes of Hilary Clinton. They also went on to state they felt a special counsel would be better for public confidence and the fact that they will have the tools they need to accomplish the goal.
Why The Chairmen Feel Congress is Not Up to the Task
“We leak like the Gossip Girls,” Gowdy said when asked why he felt that Congress would not be the best choice to investigate the matter. “We don’t have the ability to empanel a grand jury we don’t have the ability to offer immunity; we should not be offered immunity. Executive Branch investigations are more publicly confidence-inspiring than current congressional investigations.”
The Democrats rebutted with a counter memo reiterating their belief that the both they and the FBI acted properly stating there was no abuse during the FISA process. Top Democrat representatives in the Oversight and Judiciary Committees have slammed the supposed action calling for special counsel, claiming that their inspector general is up to the task, has the ability and is capable of performing an independent review saying that Congress can handle the matter themselves. Sessions stated that he had contacted the inspector general of the Justice Department and had already instructed him to begin the investigation into the FBI handling of the FISA application.
Goodlatte and Gowdy concluded that they are confident in the Department of Justice inspector general, but feel that his limitations will prevent the matter from being properly investigated.
“While we have confidence in the Inspector General for the Department of Justice, the DOJ IG does not have the authority to investigate other governmental entities or former employees of the Department, the Bureau, or other agencies,” they added in the letter.
While Goodlatte and other Judiciary Committee Republicans have previously requested special counsel for investigation in uranium dealing to Russia as well as how the FBI handled the Clinton email investigation, this is the first time that representative Gowdy has joined in the call. Whether or not his addition will prove to have the push the request needs is yet to be seen.
~ Conservative Zone