The Russia Connection

There They Go Again: Your House Judiciary Committee Hard at Work, Part II

By Benjamin Wittes
Friday, September 29, 2017, 3:17 PM

Back in July, faced with all the issues with which the Trump Presidency confronts the nation, House Judiciary Committee Republicans called for an investigation of certain burning public integrity issues: Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's emails, and James Comey's alleged leaking to a 1o-year-old who would some day become a reporter. As Quinta Jurecic wrote at the time,

The committee voted to adopt an amended resolution introduced by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) calling for a special counsel investigation into, variously, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s instructions to former FBI Director James Comey to refer to the Clinton email probe as a “matter” rather than an “investigation”; Comey’s leaks to Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman; Comey’s leaks to New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt as far back as 1993 (when Schmidt, who graduated college in 2005, would have been around ten years old); “collusion” between Comey and Robert Mueller; any knowledge by Comey of the Steele dossier and of efforts by the intelligence community to surveill Trump or unmask his associates in a quest to damage Trump’s campaign or his presidency; immunity deals provided by the FBI to various Clinton aides over the course of the email investigation; whether Clinton secretly approved a deal to transfer U.S. uranium deposits to Russian control in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation; and yes, the specific circumstances of Huma Abedin’s employment at the State Department.

This week, those fun-loving House Judiciary Committee Republicans are at it again. They wrote a letter calling for a special counsel investigation of—can you guess?—"the recent revelation that former FBI Director Comey had prepared a statement ending the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before interviewing at least 17 key witnesses, including the former Secretary herself."

Really, guys?

This is actually the second letter the committee Republicans have written demanding a special prosecutor to examine what they describe as "unaddressed matters, some connected to the 2016 election and others, including many actions taken by Obama Administration officials like former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." The first one, sent in July to the attorney general and deputy attorney general, listed 14 subjects for a special counsel investigation. Like the resolution they reported around the same time, this letter includes "Any and all potential leaks originated by Mr. Comey and provide [sic] to author Michael Schmidt dating back to 1993."

It would all be merely comical, except that this is the committee responsible for serious constitutional matters, including the contemplation of impeachment. Instead of doing anything that a serious person would recognize as even related to its job, it is busy sending typographically challenged, factually ludicrous letters to the Justice Department demanding investigations of irrelevancies. In its own microcosmic way, it is as vivid a portrait of congressional dysfunction as the failure to pass major legislation in health care or anything else.