FBI Director James Comey had little choice but to inform Congress there was “potentially relevant information” to review in new emails from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private server, U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy said Tuesday.
Addressing a letter that Comey sent to Congress last week about the emails, the Spartanburg Republican told CNN that Democrats are off base saying the move might violate the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from using their positions for political reasons.
Gowdy said Comey “did tell Congress in July that the investigation had been completed and he had determined that she didn’t have specific intent to commit a crime. So I think he felt the need to supplement the record.”
Gowdy has been thrust into the role of a GOP spokesman regarding the new emails, discovered during an FBI investigation into former Democratic U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexting with an underage girl. Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, is a top aide to Clinton.
The issue of Clinton’s use of a private email account, not the secure State Department one provided her when she was secretary of state, first came up during Gowdy’s congressional investigation into the events surrounding the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11, 2012.
Calling on his background as a federal prosecutor and 7th Circuit solicitor, Gowdy told CNN that law enforcement officials can’t control the public reaction to the information they provide.
Of Clinton supporters, he said, “A couple of months ago, they thought Jim Comey was the second coming of Christ, and a couple of months later, now they think that he should be investigated for violation of the Hatch Act. I don’t like relativism, whether it exists on my side of the aisle or their side of the aisle. I think the same rules ought to apply.”
Those rules, he added, apply to complaints the FBI has not discussed an alleged investigation into GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
“Well, as a general rule, the bureau does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation,” Gowdy said. “I don’t view his letter as an update on the facts of the investigation. I view it as a notice document. ‘I want you to know my previous testimony has changed. The matter is still open.’ That’s how I viewed the letter.”