Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) blasted the FBI and Senate Democrats on Wednesday for their unwillingness to fairly investigate Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration, stating that the Democrats on the committee he oversees “only want to talk about [President] Trump.”
In a fiery speech to the Senate, Grassley lambasted Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrats for “a double standard here in the way that they desperately want to go after the president but ignore all other potential wrongdoing in the previous administration.”
He then tore into the credibility of the Justice Department and the FBI, pointing out that the veteran FBI agent placed in charge of both the Clinton investigation and the Trump-Russia, Peter Strzok, is wildly anti-Trump. Grassley insisted that both the Trump-Russia investigation and the Clinton email investigation are intricately connected to the firing of the former FBI Director James Comey, so they must be investigated together. From his speech:
There are two major controversies plaguing the credibility of the Justice Department and the FBI right now. On the one hand the Trump Russia investigation, and then on the other hand the handling of the Clinton investigation. Any congressional oversight related to either one of these topics is not credible without also examining the other. Both cases were active during last year’s campaign. Both cases have been linked to the firing of the FBI Director.
These questions go to the heart of the integrity of our federal law enforcement and justice system.
Grassley grilled Dianne Feinstein next for telling him that she would not participate in any investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails, despite stating earlier in the year that she wanted to get to the bottom of whether Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked James Comey to downgrade the seriousness of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information by referring to it as a “matter” instead of an investigation.
“[T]he ranking member [Feinstein] has told me plainly she won’t join any investigation of the oversight of the Clinton e-mail investigations… …Even on Trump-Russia oversight where we have been able to cooperate a great deal, there have been similar problems.” –Rep. Grassley
When it came to the topic of obstruction, Grassley pointed to the fact that Hillary Clinton’s use of ‘Bleach Bit’ to delete 33,000 emails under subpoena appears be a clear case of obstruction, however when it came to Trump he said “So far, I have seen no credible evidence that President Trump has told anyone to lie. I have also seen no credible evidence that he or his aides have destroyed records being sought by investigators.
Grassley even placed an article by liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz in the Congressional record which asserts that Trump did not commit obstruction – because even if the President did fire Comey over the Russia investigation, “the president cannot be charged with a crime for merely exercising his authority under Article 2 of the constitution. This authority includes firing the director of the FBI for whatever reason or no reason”
In light of the mounting body of evidence that FBI officials were clearly covering for Clinton while gunning for Trump, one can understand why the President wanted Comey gone. As another example of Feinstein’s stonewalling, Grassley pointed to her refusal to fully investigate the “salacious and unverified” Trump-Russia dossier:
[A]ll year I have wanted to learn more about the origins of the dossier that largely kick started the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. In july, the ranking member [Feinstein] joined me in a bipartisan letter seeking voluntary cooperation from the firm that produced the dossier. The dossier was based largely on Russian sources within Russia and was put together by a former british spy. It made salacious and unverified claims about trump. The company responsible for producing it, Fusion GPS, was uncooperative.
In response to our bipartisan request, it dumped on the committee about 32,000 pages of press clippings and 8,000 pages that were entirely blank. Since then, it has provided zero additional documents. The founder of Fusion GPS Initially indicated he would rely on his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination rather than testify at the committee hearing in july. He later agreed to a private staff interview but refused to answer dozens of key questions. I would like to compel him to answer questions and compel him to provide the documents that senator Feinstein and I both asked him in July to provide voluntarily, but under our committee rules, I don’t have the authority to do that on my own.
It should be pointed out that the House Intel Committee chaired by Devin Nunes (R-CA) has made much more progress with Fusion GPS, after the House found out that Fusion agreed to provide them with bank records, only to withhold 112 transactions relevant to the Russia probe. Due to this, the House is now demanding bank transfers to Fusion with other law firms in addition to the DNC’s council at Perkins Coie and Hostelter. Because of Fusion’s ommission of the banking transactions – effectively lying, the House committee is now arguing that the use of law firms to conceal payments to operatives is now fair game and relevant to their investigation.
While Grassley’s speech focused on Democrat efforts to hamstring Senate investigations, Feinstein told CNN on Monday that Grassley had similarly refused to sign her letters requesting more information on actions taken by the Trump campaign, saying “We want him to sign on. I think there’s an effort … not to go deeply,” adding “I hadn’t realized it before. But I realize it now. And we’re going to have to find a way to deal with it.”
Grassley shot back yesterday, stating “[Democrats] complain publicly and they complain privately that I’m not doing enough to investigate obstruction. But obstruction of justice is a legal term of art. It is a conclusion not evidence. …I do not make my conclusions first and try to shoehorn the facts to fit my conclusions.