FBI Director Andrew McCabe isn’t getting any time to recover from his eight-hour grilling on the hill yesterday. Reps Trey Gowdy, (R-S.C.) and Bob Goodlatte, (R-Va) already want him back on the stand as early as tomorrow for “transcribed interviews.” The dynamic-duo of conservative congressmen also want to put FBI Chief of Staff Jim Rybicki and FBI counsel Lisa Page under the hot lights as soon as they can be made available, according to a letter they co-wrote Tuesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy at the Justice Department, Rod Rosenstein.
Earlier this month, Rep. Matt Gaetz, (R-Fla.), and other lawmakers on the House Freedom Caucus, demanded an investigation “into the FBI’s procedures that allowed Hillary Clinton to receive special treatment.” Hillary was astoundingly cleared of all charges stemming from her improper use of an email server in her bathroom closet, while Secretary of State. Their demands were met and the investigation is fully underway. Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, who heads up the House Oversight Committee are jointly conducting the probe.
In the lead-up to last year’s presidential election, McCabe was in charge of the FBI investigation. Emails recently obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that he stayed on the case until a week before the election, despite the fact his wife’s state senate campaign was being funded almost entirely by Clinton cronies. That’s not all. Then-FBI Deputy Director McCabe “wrote an email on his official government account stating that the Hillary Clinton email probe had been given ‘special’ status.” Scott Perry (R-Pa) wanted to know, “why are there two different standards of justice?”
There were other strange things about the investigation as well. “From then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch secretly meeting with former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac, to the description of how Hillary Clinton handled classified information being downgraded from ‘grossly negligent’ to ‘extremely careless,'” Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga) fumed, “there are many questions with no answers.”
“James Comey himself has admitted in testimony that he drafted the exoneration statement of Hillary Clinton before even interviewing her or other key witnesses. We seem to have a departure from the normal application of the law,” Rep Gaetz added. Comey was the one to actually sign off on the decision clearing Clinton after Lynch stepped aside amid controversy about the tarmac meeting.
FBI agent Peter Strzok was the one responsible for changing the phrase, “Gross negligence” which is a crime, to “carelessness” which is not. While he was working on the investigation, he was having an affair with co-worker Lisa Page, probably one of the things Gowdy and Goodlatte want to talk to her about. Over 300 text messages exchanged between Page and Strzok last year, while the election was in full swing, recently surfaced. The messages show a clear bias in favor of Hillary and describe President Trump as an “idiot” and “a loathsome human.” They had other choice things to say as Strzok “helped lead the investigation of Clinton’s handling of classified material.”
One particularly noteworthy message talks about a conversation they shared with Andrew McCabe in the Deputy FBI Director’s office. “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way Trump gets elected but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.”
Later, both Strzok and Page worked for Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the witch hunt into Russian election interference claims. Page had already left Mueller’s team when the emails leaked and Strzok was removed shortly after Mueller was forced to acknowledge them.
James Rybicki seems to be wanted for questioning because, according to Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI.), “in November 2016, the Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency that polices personnel practices and is distinct from the Mueller probe, began investigating whether former FBI Director Jim Comey violated the Hatch Act, which restricts political activity by executive-branch officials, while investigating Hillary Clinton’s private server. The office conducted interviews with two of Mr. Comey’s confidantes: FBI chief of staff James Rybicki and FBI attorney Trisha Anderson.”
Another likely thing Rybicki will be questioned on is the draft of James Comey’s proposed decision he circulated around to Strzok and other top officials at the FBI. “Please send me any comments on this statement,” The FBI chief of staff wrote on the cover sheet.
We probably won’t hear much about what happens in these closed-door sessions because, unlike other members of Congress, Gowdy and Goodlatte know how to keep a lid on security. Don’t expect to see leaks until the heads start to roll.