The House’s top government watchdog wants the Department of Justice’s inspector general to look into why FBI Director James B. Comey was fired as part of an ongoing probe into how Comey handled the probe of how Hillary Clinton used her email server.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) asked DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz in a letter Wednesday to “expand the scope of your office’s ongoing review . . . to include the facts and circumstances surrounding the removal of Director Comey.” Chaffetz did not cite a specific concern with Comey’s firing, noting only that in the past, Horowitz had said he would “consider including other issues that may arise” during the probe of Comey’s actions during the Clinton email investigation, and concluding that Comey’s firing “indeed warrants such consideration.”
Chaffetz’s request comes as Democrats are accusing President Trump of dismissing Comey in order to hinder the FBI’s ongoing probe into allegations of collusion between the president’s campaign and transition team and Russian officials. The Trump administration cited Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation in its official decision to fire him. But most Democrats and some Republicans — including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting a similar probe — remain skeptical of Trump’s reasoning and timing.
Chaffetz used his committee chairmanship to drive a vigorous and relentless investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server, pledging to continue that probe even after Clinton lost the presidential election. In a statement accompanying the release of his Wednesday letter to Horowitz, Chaffetz cited the pressure he had put on the DOJ’s inspector general in the past “to review the FBI’s actions in advance of the 2016 elections” as he asked the inspector general “to expand the scope of his review to include the decision to fire Director Comey.”
“I look forward to receiving the IG’s findings,” Chaffetz said.
The inspector general announced in January that he would be looking into Comey’s handling of Clinton’s email practices.
Chaffetz announced last month that he will not be seeking reelection in 2018.