GOP Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy are calling on Attorney General Sessions to appoint a new special counsel to investigate the FBI's actions during and after the 2016 election campaign, based on allegations of FISA abuse detailed in the Nunes memo. They discussed why in an interview Tuesday night with Bill Hemmer on FOX News Channel's 'Special Report'.
Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Committee chairman said of the FBI: "several people at the top of this organization have engaged in activities that are questionable."
Sessions announced last month that he was tasking Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate potential FISA abuses that took place, but Goodlatte and Gowdy say Horowitz does not have sufficient jurisdiction. Gowdy explains that there are up to 24 witnesses, including James Comey and Sydney Blumenthal who "he would not be able to access."
BILL HEMMER: Chairman Gowdy's letter states "matters have arisen." What has changed?
REP. TREY GOWDY: What changed for me was the knowledge there are two dozen witnesses who Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, would not have access to.
So, your options are:
1. DOJ investigating themselves, they can't do that because of conflict of interest.
2. Let the inspector general do it. I'm a big fan of Mike Horowitz, but he has no jurisdiction over witnesses who have left the department or never worked there.
So when I counted up 24 witnesses that he would not be able to access were he to investigate it, you have only one conclusion: a special counsel.
BILL HEMMER: Who is on that list?
GOWDY: Everyone from Jim Comey, Andy McCabe, [Comey's Chief of Staff] Rybicki, [Clinton associate] Sidney Blumenthal, [Blumenthal Associate Cody] Shearer.
Anyone who no longer works for the Department of Justice or the FBI. State Department, you may recall a couple of weeks ago there was some indication that State Department employees were feeding information to Fusion GPS. They would be outside the reach of the inspector general.
Anyone who is not currently an employee of DOJ, Michael Horowitz doesn't have subpoena power.
The two agree that the FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page based on the Steele dossier is at the center of the allegation that the Trump team was spied on.
REP. BOB GOODLATTE: It was abused, from the gathering of information from a very suspect source, not disclosing that information to the court, and in my opinion, getting an authority to look into the background of an American citizen's life on questionable circumstances. That is a very serious concern.
The FBI is America's premier law enforcement organization. Every day thousands and thousands of great men and women keep us safe... but several people at the top of this organization have engaged in activities that are questionable. And I think that in order to set the record straight, clear what is going on at the FBI, and make sure this does not happen again, we need to have an outside special counsel investigation.