The Senate Judiciary Committee is launching a wide-ranging probe into the circumstances behind James Comey’s firing as FBI director, as well as any attempts to influence FBI investigations under the Obama administration.
The committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), laid out his plan in a letter made public Wednesday in response to requests from Democrats to investigate potential obstruction of justice surrounding Comey’s dismissal by President Donald Trump last month.
“The Judiciary Committee has an obligation to fully investigate any alleged improper partisan interference in law enforcement investigations,” Grassley wrote to his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. “It is my view that fully investigating the facts, circumstances, and rationale for Mr. Comey’s removal will provide us the opportunity to do that on a cooperative, bipartisan basis.”
In the letter, Grassley also stressed that the committee is obligated to look into the Justice Department’s handling last year of the probe surrounding Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail use, citing Comey’s testimony last week that he was concerned DOJ “could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system.”
“There should be no improper interference with FBI investigations to favor any elected official or candidate of either party,” Grassley wrote to Feinstein. “The Committee has an obligation to pursue all evidence of such misconduct.”
Grassley and Feinstein met late Tuesday to discuss the Russia matter following testimony from Attorney General Jeff Sessions before the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to a Grassley spokesman. The Judiciary Committee has oversight of the Justice Department and the FBI.