With Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s support, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday hijacked a Democratic bill calling for information from the Justice Department relating to the firing of former FBI director James Comey.
Democrats were hoping to put Republicans on the spot with a “resolution of inquiry” that, if it had passed, would have asked the Department of Justice to provide documents related to any potential involvement Attorney General Jeff Sessions had in the firing of Comey.
The resolution was sponsored by Democrats Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.
But Republicans used their majority in the committee to tack on an amendment that struck the Democrats’ language, and instead called for a special counsel to investigate matters more closely related to Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration. That includes the recently-revealed information that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked James Comey to refer to the Clinton email scandal as a “matter” instead of an “investigation.”
It passed along party lines in the committee, 15-13.
Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia defended the move by saying Democrats were being “redundant” for seeking information from the administration while the Mueller special counsel investigation was ongoing.
“This resolution seems to be just one more opportunity for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to vicariously voice Hillary Clinton’s long and growing list for why she lost the election,” Goodlatte said.
Jayapal said the committee had fallen down with its responsibilities by not investigating Russia matters, “even as our counterparts in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have put country over party and have refused to step away from their essential roles.”
The Republican action was yet another attempt at distraction from real and current matters of concern about the Trump campaign and the Trump administration relating to Russia.
In a revealing remark, Goodlatte said of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s possible collaboration with Russia: “There is real concern over whether this is a fishing expedition.”
Remember that when Mueller was appointed in May, Goodlatte said:
“Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the right decision by appointing a special counsel to oversee the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence our nation’s 2016 presidential election. Former Director Mueller is a well-respected law enforcement professional who served the FBI for a dozen years under both Democratic and Republican presidents. I am confident that he will serve with integrity and professionalism, and will conduct a thorough and fair investigation.
“I applaud the Trump Administration for taking this important step that the previous Administration repeatedly declined to do in other matters, ensuring an independent and thorough investigation is conducted to unearth all the facts. This decision will help instill much needed public confidence in the investigation.”
So it appears Goodlatte now has doubts about the investigation he expressed so much confidence in just a couple of months ago. What’s changed? I mean, aside from the fact that President Trump is now lashing out at Mueller and denouncing his probe as a “witch hunt.”