A pair of senior House Republicans have opened a joint investigation into the Justice Department's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, the lawmakers announced Tuesday.
The probe will be conducted by two congressional panels responsible for overseeing the Justice Department and government operations in general. The investigators will review then-FBI Director James Comey's various decisions pertaining to the Clinton investigation, such as his unusual announcement that she should not face indictment.
But they will also review whether the Justice Department erred in its handling of investigations pertinent to President Trump's campaign.
"Our justice system is represented by a blind-folded woman holding a set of scales," House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Trey Gowdy said in a joint statement. "Those scales do not tip to the right or the left; they do not recognize wealth, power, or social status. The impartiality of our justice system is the bedrock of our republic and our fellow citizens must have confidence in its objectivity, independence, and evenhandedness."
The review will return Gowdy to a familiar topic. The South Carolina Republican chaired the select committee that investigated the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks, a probe that unearthed Clinton's exclusive use of an email account hosted on a private server during her tenure at the State Department.
The new investigation will look at some of Comey's most controversial decisions, including his announcement that he would not refer the Clinton case to DOJ prosecutors.
They'll also review the "FBI's timeline in respect to charging decisions," an apparent reference to reports Comey began drafting the statement announcing his decision before the investigation's conclusion. At the time, Gowdy complained the FBI failed to investigate whether Clinton's actions reflected criminal intent.
"I didn't see any questions on the issue of intent," he said in August. "[Comey] said he didn't go forward with charges because she didn't have specific criminal intent."
The lawmakers also plan to review decisions that redounded to President Trump's benefit.
Those include the "FBI's decision to publicly announce the investigation into Secretary Clinton's handling of classified information but not to publicly announce the investigation into campaign associates of then-candidate Donald Trump." They'll also consider Comey's decision to notify Congress, in the final days of the election, that a review of newly-obtained Clinton emails was underway.
"The Committees will review these decisions and others to better understand the reasoning behind how certain conclusions were drawn," Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, and Gowdy said. "Congress has a constitutional duty to preserve the integrity of our justice system by ensuring transparency and accountability of actions taken."