21 hours ago
Gowdy, Goodlatte demand appointment of special counsel, citing FISA abuses
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Trey Gowdy on Tuesday demanded the appointment of a special counsel to investigate “conflicts of interest” and decisions “made and not made” by current and former Justice Department officials in 2016 and 2017, noting that “the public interest requires” the action. Gowdy, R-S.C., and Goodlatte, R-Va., penned a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“Matters have arisen—both recently and otherwise—which necessitate the appointment of a Special Counsel. We do not make this observation and attendant request lightly,” Gowdy and Goodlatte wrote.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Gowdy and Goodlatte spoke about the discovery of new information as their reasoning behind calling for a second independent counsel. “What changed for me was the knowledge that there are two dozen witnesses that Michael Horowitz, the [DOJ] Inspector General, would not have access to,” Gowdy said. “When I counted up 24 witnesses that he would not be able to access were he to investigate it, yeah only one conclusion, that’s special counsel.” That list of witnesses included former FBI director James Comey, Gowdy confirmed.
Last week, Sessions announced that Horowitz would investigate allegations of government surveillance abuse in light of memos released on Capitol Hill by the House Intelligence Committee which suggested, at least on the Republican side, that the dossier compiled by ex-U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele was used to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. “Absolutely, this whole FISA warrant was on Carter Page,” Gowdy told Fox News. Goodlatte agreed stating that the case on which the warrant was built was “highly suspect.”
The lawmakers wrote, “There is evidence of bias, trending toward animus, among those charged with investigating serious cases.” They added, “There is evidence political opposition research was used in court filings. There is evidence this political opposition research was neither vetted before it was used nor fully revealed to the relevant tribunal.”
Both lawmakers said they didn’t know when or if a second counsel would be appointed at all.
“This fact pattern is unique and compelling and I think he really ought to consider it,” Gowdy said.
Asked why a special counsel was needed, Gowdy told Fox News earlier, “Congress doesn’t have the tools to investigate this. We leak like the Gossip Girls.”
Gowdy and Goodlatte wrote that because the “decisions of both former and current Department of Justice and FBI officials are at issue,” they did not believe the DOJ was “capable” of investigating the “fact patterns in a fashion likely to garner public confidence.” Both Gowdy and Goodlatte have announced in recent months they would not seek re-election this year.
President Trump blasted Sessions' decision to use Horowitz, saying he appointed an “Obama guy” to investigate “potentially massive FISA abuse.” Horowitz also is investigating former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and whether he wanted to avoid taking action on new Clinton emails found on disgraced Democratic New York Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop, reports said. According to records, McCabe knew about the emails belonging to Hillary Clinton in September 2016, but did not choose to brief former FBI Director James Comey until October 26, 2016 — prompting the re-opening of the Clinton email investigation just one week before the presidential election.
“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,” Gowdy and Goodlatte wrote. Gowdy also serves as chairman of the House Oversight Committee.