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Lawmakers to question FBI officials in review of Clinton probe
(WASHINGTON) — Lawmakers on Tuesday are scheduled to interview the first of three current and former FBI officials set to appear before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees this month as part of their ongoing review of how the Department of Justice handled the Clinton and Russia investigations, according to congressional aides.
Assistant Director Bill Priestap, the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, is expected on Capitol Hill Tuesday, according to aides familiar with the planned interview. The committees are planning to also question Michael Steinbach and John Giacalone — two former executive assistant directors of the FBI’s National Security Branch — later this month.
Priestap is of interest to lawmakers for his role supervising the Clinton email investigation. He was named assistant director of the counterintelligence division in December 2015 by then-FBI Director James Comey.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has signaled that Republicans plan to question the officials about the handling of the Clinton investigation.
“These three officials know a great deal about what was happening at the FBI during this period of time,” Goodlatte said in a recent Fox News interview.
The interviews as part of the ongoing congressional investigation come as Congress is preparing to receive the much-anticipated Justice Department inspector general’s report on the department’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, and the investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Former FBI Director Comey has defended his handling of the Clinton and Russia probes in response to criticism that he acted improperly by, among other actions, drafting his statement about Clinton while the investigation was ongoing, and disclosing that the email investigation was reopened in late October of 2016 shortly before the presidential election.
“If you’ve been investigating for a year, you know that, unless things change, we’re going to head in this direction. Prosecutors and investigators all the time draft indictments before they finish the investigation. Their mind is open that if they find something that changes their view, they won’t bring an indictment. But they know where it’s headed after a year of investigation. Same thing here,” Comey told ABC News in an interview with Chief Anchor George Stephanopolous.
He also said he felt obligated to inform Congress in October 2016 about the then newly-discovered emails after previously and publicly announcing the close of the Clinton investigation.
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