Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent James Comey a letter requesting the entire “investigative file” on the Hillary Clinton email issue. | Getty
By Josh Gerstein
08/13/16 – 07:46 AM EDT
- Congress wants documents from email probe, but some insist it’s wrong to make interrogations and deliberations public.
The Obama administration is urgently debating how to respond to congressional demands for the official report on Hillary Clinton’s three-and-a-half-hour interview at FBI headquarters, as some inside and outside government raise concerns about giving lawmakers access to politically sensitive records of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email system.
During congressional testimony last month, FBI Director James Comey promised to respond promptly to lawmakers’ requests for the interview summaries known as “302s” for Clinton and other witnesses, as well as other information gathered in the course of the year-long FBI probe.
“I’ll commit to giving you everything I can possibly give you under the law and to doing it as quickly as possible,” Comey told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee July 7.
Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent Comey a letter the same day requesting the entire “investigative file” on the Clinton email issue. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also asked Comey for all 302 reports related to the case, requesting that they be turned over by the end of last month.
Comey and the FBI are pressing to send at least some of the requested information to the Hill soon, but others in government have stepped in to question such a move, officials tracking the debate said.
Among those involved in the discussions are State Department officials, since many of those interviewed in the FBI probe are current or former State employees.
Former State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Hillary Clinton take a break in a hearing of the House Select Committee on Benghazi October 22, 2015.
“The State Department has cooperated — and will continue to cooperate — with the FBI every step of the way. We support and understand the FBI’s desire to provide information to Congress. Any suggestion to the contrary is false,” State Department Director of Press Relations Elizabeth Trudeau said in a statement.
“The State Department has asked the FBI that we be kept apprised of information to be provided to Congress that contains sensitive information related to State Department equities and for an opportunity to review it. Such an opportunity for review is in keeping with the standard interagency review process when dealing with another agency’s documents or equities,” Trudeau added. She noted that in relevant cases State checks in with the FBI before sending information to Congress or making it public under the Freedom of Information Act.
Comey has already faced criticism both for the unusual public statement he made about the conclusion of the Clinton email probe and for the decision not to recommend prosecution in the case. Whatever the FBI turns over, or chooses not to turn over, seems certain to trigger another round of political recriminations.
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