A powerful Republican lawmaker abruptly stopped a hearing Monday on Capitol Hill to serve a subpoena demanding the FBI’s full investigative file on the Hillary Clinton email probe to a top official, telling the man “you are hereby served.”
The dramatic moment came as House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, expressed frustration that the FBI would not guarantee to provide the committee with the full, unedited, unredacted investigative summaries of the federal inquiry into Clinton’s homebrewed server and the Democratic presidential nominee’s potential mishandling of classified information.
“That’s the way a banana republic acts, not the way the United States of America acts,” Chaffetz told FBI acting legislative affairs chief Jason Herring. “I don’t expect to have to issue a subpoena to see unclassified information.”
The FBI could fight the subpoena, though analysts say a resolution could come quickly.
“There are judges sitting in an emergent capacity for applications like this,” Judge Andrew Napolitano said on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s resolved by the end of this week.”
Chaffetz and other Republicans on the panel say the FBI has withheld summaries of interviews with witnesses and unnecessarily blacked out material from documents sent last month.
“We decide what’s relevant — not the Department of Justice, not the FBI,” Chaffetz said. “We are entitled to the full file.”
Democrats on the panel dismissed Chaffetz’s theatrics at the emergency hearing and insisted the sole purpose of the hearing was to undermine Clinton’s presidential bid.
“As far as I can tell, the only ‘emergency’ is that the election is less than two months away,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said.
Witnesses at the hearing on several occasions said they could not answer the questions from lawmakers in an open forum and the committee later voted to hold the remainder of the hearing in closed session.
FBI Director James Comey last week defended the decision to forgo criminal charges against Clinton after a lengthy probe into whether then-Secretary of State Clinton mishandled classified information that flowed through the private email system located in her New York home. Comey told bureau employees in an internal memo that it wasn’t a close call.
Republicans have assailed Comey’s ruling and demanded that the Justice Department open a new investigation into whether Clinton lied during testimony last year before the House panel investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi.
The FBI provided portions of the Clinton probe file to Congress last month and warned lawmakers that the documents “contain classified and other sensitive material” and are not to be made public. But Republicans have said the documents “did not constitute a complete investigative file,” as many of the records had been substantially blacked out or were missing altogether.
“So here’s what we have heard from people who have seen this stuff: that the FBI is attempting to create a false impression of what they want us to think they found by selectively releasing all information,” Napolitano said on “Fox & Friends.” “If all of it had been released, people could form their own opinions about the wisdom and lawfulness of the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton.”
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