FBI Nervous as Congress Launches Investigation Into Hillary Email Probe
House Republicans confirmed this week that two congressional committees – Judiciary and Oversight – would be interviewing the first subjects in their investigation into how the FBI handled the Hillary Clinton email case in 2016.
These interviews will begin next month, and will include testimony from Bill Priestap, the assistant director for counterintelligence in the FBI, Michael Steinbach, the former director of the FBI’s national security squad, and John Giacalone, who held the same job before Steinbach was brought on to replace him.
The one to watch will be Priestap, who played a significant role in both the Clinton email investigation and the Russia investigation. Not only that, he was a direct supervisor of controversial FBI agent Peter Strzok, whose anti-Trump text messages have given critics plenty of reason to believe that not everything at the Bureau was on the up and up.
The scope of the joint committee investigation, headed up by Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Trey Gowdy (R-SC), will be fixated on the FBI’s process while investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server when she served as President Obama’s Secretary of State from 2009 to 2012. That usage erupted into a scandal that threatened to put Clinton behind bars just as her presidential aspirations were taking shape. After an expose in The New York Times revealed that she traded classified messages over an unsecured system, Clinton could not escape the shadow of her wrongdoing…even if she did, ultimately, escape any legal penalty for her crimes.
But the committees will almost certainly tread over to the Russia investigation as well, which has become inseparable from the Clinton email probe thanks to many of the same participating players. Agents like Strzok and his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, had their fingers in both pies, as did former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Many critics have made the case that if the FBI had treated the Clinton case with as much skepticism and aggression as they have treated the Russia probe, Ms. Hillary Rodham would be in a prison jumpsuit right about now.
Perhaps more importantly than anything that will be done in these House committees, though, is the report scheduled to be released imminently by the Office of the Inspector General. OIG Michael Horowitz has completed his internal Justice Department review of the Clinton case, and inside sources say that he will refer at least a few individuals within the Department for criminal prosecution. That report should be out before the end of the month, at which time we may see a Washington explosion the likes of which we have not seen in a very long time.