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Grassley: Americans Deserve Context from FBI on Clinton Inquiry

Reps. Nunes, Jordan also chime in on email review

Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley heads the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley heads the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley called on FBI Director James B. Comey to provide more details about the agency’s review of emails that could be pertinent to an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server while she was secretary of State. 

“Without additional context, your disclosure is not fair to Congress, the American people, or Secretary Clinton,” the Iowa Republican, whose panel has jurisdiction over the FBI, wrote in a Monday letter to Comey.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes of California also sent a letter to Comey on Monday, requesting additional information about the newly discovered emails by Nov. 2. And Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, opined in an interview that Comey’s disclosure of the review may not have been appropriate.

On Friday, Comey announced that the FBI had found emails in an unrelated investigation that could relate to a previous investigation into whether Clinton mishandled classified information. The agency had previously concluded that Clinton was careless in the handling of some information, but that there was no basis for any criminal charges.

[FBI Reviewing More Emails Related to Clinton Case]

Comey said Friday that he did not know how long it would take the agency to review the emails, and whether the new emails were significant.

The announcement prompted some Democrat to charge Comey with trying to compromise Clinton’s prospects in the presidential election. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Comey may have broken the law, and accused the FBI of treating the presidential nominees with a double standard.

Grassley noted the circumstances surrounding Comey’s announcement in his letter, but said the agency did not provide enough information about the new emails.

[Senate Democrats Want Details of FBI’s Clinton Email Inquiry]

“While I disagree with those who suggest you should have kept the FBI’s discovery secret until after the election, I agree that your disclosure did not go far enough,” Grassley wrote. “Unfortunately, your letter failed to give Congress and the American people enough context to evaluate the significance or full meaning of this development.”

Grassley asked Comey a series of 10 questions in his letter, and requested a response by Nov. 4 — four days before the presidential election.

His questions involved the content of the emails; how the emails were obtained; if the FBI requested a grand jury during the initial investigation; whether the Justice Department denied the FBI’s request for a grand jury for an investigation into the Clinton Foundation; and whether the Justice Department did not allow investigators to search laptops belonging to senior Clinton aides.

While many Republicans welcomed the chance to get Clinton’s email investigation back into public light, others disagreed with the FBI’s timing. Jordan told a Fox News Radio show on Monday that “this was probably not the right thing for Comey to do,” so close to the election.

Rema Rahman and Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.

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