Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said today that the committee will pursue investigations into any efforts to influence FBI investigations. In a letter to Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Grassley also said that the committee needs a full understanding of the events that led to former FBI Director James Comey’s removal.
“You and I agree that the American people deserve a full accounting of attempts to meddle in both our democratic processes and the impartial administration of justice. The Judiciary Committee has an obligation to fully investigate any alleged improper partisan interference in law enforcement investigations. 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,” Grassley said in the letter.
Grassley’s letter responds to a recent note from Sen. Feinstein requesting that the committee seek details from senior FBI leadership regarding Comey’s interactions with President Trump prior to being fired. It also addresses Feinstein’s stated desire to examine then Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s involvement in the Clinton email server investigation, a concern Comey cited as part of his rationale for his decisions in that investigation. Those decisions would later become a part of the administration’s justification for his removal.
“Mr. Comey’s statement is extremely troubling. There should be no improper interference with FBI investigations to favor any elected official or candidate of either party. The Committee has an obligation to pursue all evidence of such misconduct,” Grassley said in the letter.
Grassley and Feinstein have been leading a bipartisan effort in the committee, along with Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Ranking Member Sheldon Whitehouse, to examine Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections and the circumstances behind Comey’s removal. Most recently, they have sought copies of Comey’s memos on his discussions with President Trump and any White House records of such interactions.