Clinton, Comey and Lynch investigation heats up with special counsel request

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Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Justice Department Thursday, requesting that it appoint a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Judiciary Republicans asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a second investigator to match Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting an expansive investigation of the Trump campaign and members of the president’s team.

“The unbalanced, uncertain, and seemingly unlimited focus of the special counsel’s investigation has led many of our constituents to see a dual standard of justice that benefits only the powerful and politically well-connected,” the Republicans wrote, listing 14 separate categories they say should be investigated by the additional special counsel.

They believe it is time to conduct a deeper investigation into Hillary Clinton and her potential mishandling of classified information.

Questioning why the Justice Department did not impanel a grand jury to look into the mishandling of classified information, the Republicans also want to investigate Comey’s recent claim that he was ordered by Lynch to publicly refer to the Clinton email probe as a “matter” instead of an investigation.

In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last month, Comey recalled that he was “confused and concerned” by Lynch’s request.

When it comes to Comey, Republicans want the special counsel to look into “any and all potential leaks originated by Mr. Comey and provided to author Michael Schmidt dating back to 1993.”

Schmidt is a New York Times reporter who has reported numerous breaking news stories about the ongoing Trump-Russia probe and was on the forefront of reporting about memos Comey wrote after his meetings with Trump earlier this year.

Comey testified that he leaked those memos to a friend, Columbia University Law School professor Daniel Richman, after he was fired by Trump on May 9. Richman was instructed by Comey to read portions of the memos to Schmidt. Comey admitted that the reason he leaked the memos was to force the appointment of a special counsel, which is exactly what happened.

The special counsel should also look into leaks of classified information, including the unmasking of Trump administration officials by the Obama administration, Republicans say. They suggest the leak probe focuses on Comey, Lynch, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and former United Nations Amb. Samantha Power.

Headed by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the committee’s chairman, the 20 lawmakers are also calling for the special counsel to investigate the FBI’s reliance on the outrageous anti-Trump dossier created by Fusion GPS, an opposition research company which has ties to Clinton allies but has yet to provide any information about exactly who paid them to come up with the fake report.

The FBI used the debunked dossier as the basis of part of its investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

“You have the ability now to right the ship for the American people so these investigations may proceed independently and impartially. The American public has a right to know the facts — all of them — surrounding the election and its aftermath,” wrote the Republicans.

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