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Gowdy, Goodlatte announce investigation into DOJ's handling of Clinton emails

President Trump was elected nearly a year ago, but the controversy over Hillary Clinton's emails is getting a new boost from key House Republicans.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, announced on Tuesday they are opening an investigation into how the Justice Department handled its investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while at the State Department. 

The DOJ Office of Inspector General is already probing the role of the DOJ and FBI in the investigation that led to no action in former FBI Director James Comey's famous July 2016 statement. This latest probe announcement comes after top Republicans said Comey drafted a letter exonerating Clinton before completing key interviews. 

"Our justice system is represented by a blind-folded woman holding a set of scales," the two chairmen said in a 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 law is the most equalizing force in this country. No entity or individual is exempt from oversight."

But Democrats are calling this latest probe a distraction.

"This new investigation is  a massive diversion to distract from the lack of Republican oversight of the Trump administration and the national security threat that Russia poses," Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. John Conyers, D-Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. "Ten months into the Trump Administration and House Republicans still have not held a single substantive oversight hearing on clear abuses by the President or his top aides. That amounts to ten months of abdication of responsibility—a near total failure to question, investigate, or challenge the President or the White House, including on grave allegations of obstruction of justice."

"The Russian government continues to represent a clear and present threat to the United States and our democratic system, and we are the targets of near-constant cyberattacks by foreign adversaries. Yet House Republicans have taken no concrete steps to secure our next election.  Apparently, House Republicans are more concerned about Jim Comey than Vladimir Putin."

Clinton says Comey was "under pressure" to re-open FBI probe

The chairmen said decisions the DOJ made in 2016 led to a "host of outstanding questions," including why the FBI publicly announced the investigation into Clinton's use of classified information but not the investigation into campaign associates of then-candidate Donald Trump, and the FBI's timeline related to charging decisions, among other things.

The White House initially named Comey's handling of the Clinton email probe as the reason for his May firing, although Mr. Trump has brought that reasoning into question. The same week he fired Comey, the president told NBC News in an interview that he thought of the "made-up" story about ties to Russia when he fired Comey.

"And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won," he said in the May interview. "And the reason they should have won it is the electoral college is almost impossible for a Republican to win. Very hard. Because you start off at such a disadvantage. So everybody was thinking, they should have won the election. This was an excuse for having lost an election."

On Tuesday, the House Intelligence Committee and House Oversight Committee announced yet another Clinton-related investigation — the 2010 sale of a U.S. uranium company to a Russian company, specifically whether there was an FBI probe of the matter and that was approved when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. 

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