Citing “evidence of bias, trending toward animus,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Trey Gowdy (who also serves as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee) sent a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein requesting a special counsel be appointed to investigate “conflicts of interest” and decisions “made and not made” by current and former Justice Department officials related to FISA court abuses involving former Trump adviser Carter Page.
The two legislators said special counsel was needed because they believe Congress is incapable of effectively investigating the matter independently — “We leak like the Gossip Girls,” Gowdy quipped to Fox News Tuesday night — and that the DOJ was incapable of either investigating itself without a clear conflict of interest and/or cannot investigate former employees who are potential witnesses.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Gowdy and Goodlatte spoke about the discovery of new information as their reasoning behind calling for a second independent counsel.
“What changed for me was the knowledge that there are two dozen witnesses that Michael Horowitz, the [DOJ] Inspector General, would not have access to,” Gowdy said. “When I counted up 24 witnesses that he would not be able to access were he to investigate it, yeah only one conclusion, that’s special counsel.”
That list of witnesses included former FBI director James Comey, Gowdy confirmed.
“While we have confidence in the Inspector General for the Department of Justice, the DOJ IG does not have the authority to investigate other governmental entities or former employees of the Department, the Bureau, or other agencies,” Gowdy and Goodlatte wrote [in their letter to Sessions and Rosenstein].
Gowdy and Goodlatte’s letter follows a similar request by 13 other legislators requesting an independent counsel to investigate the same potential abuses within the FBI and DOJ.
The House Intelligence Committee ranking member, Democrat Adam Schiff (CA), said the call by lawmakers to get to the bottom of what happened with the warrant to surveil Carter Page was a way for Republicans to investigate “everything but what is most important: Russia’s interference in our election.”
Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD), also a ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said the letters were an attempt to “protect Trump.”