Goodlatte & Judiciary Republicans Call on FBI to Investigate Cyberattacks and Mishandling of Classified Information
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to Director James Comey calling on the FBI to follow all legitimate investigative leads regarding Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as leads regarding the mishandling of classified information. Members signing the letter also renewed their request for a briefing on these matters and allegations made by the President over the weekend that he and his associates were under surveillance during the presidential election.
Members signing the letter are: Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Crime Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).
Below is the text of the letter. The signed letter can be found here.
March 8, 2017
The Honorable James B. Comey
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Dear Director Comey:
Over the past several days, there have been reports containing significant surveillance and cyber-related allegations, including that the government of the Russian Federation attempted to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election as part of a broader cyberattack on our country and the fundamentals of our democracy. It also appears information classified at the highest level, including methodologies of surveillance, has made its way into the public domain. Moreover, we now see allegations from the President himself that he and his associates were placed under surveillance during the 2016 campaign.
An independent FBI and Justice Department are essential to a functioning Republic. Our fellow citizens must have confidence in the thoroughness and evenhandedness of our investigatory and prosecutorial agencies. In the past, some of the undersigned have lamented the appearance of a multitrack justice system. The same laws must apply to each of us.
We believe both the Legislative Branch and the Executive Branch have unique but distinct investigatory functions. The Executive Branch uniquely investigates allegations of criminal wrongdoing, and it should do so without impermissible interference from the other Branches. If criminal activity is discovered, it should be investigated and prosecuted with the utmost rigor of the law. The Legislative Branch has a distinct constitutional role as well, in that it exercises oversight of the functions of the Executive Branch. This Committee will, of course, continue to engage in oversight within our jurisdiction.
To these ends, we again request a briefing regarding Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election, and additionally, on the very serious allegations that the President and/or his associates were or are under surveillance. These briefings must also, necessarily, address why information on any of these matters – which is presumably classified – continues to leak. The Judiciary Committee is the primary House committee of jurisdiction over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the Wiretap Act, laws heavily implicated by recent claims. We, therefore, will not waiver in our commitment to ensuring that our nation’s most powerful intelligence tools and agencies operate with the trust and confidence of the American people.
We know you understand that the FBI must keep total fidelity to the laws and the Constitution of the United States. We therefore urge you to follow all legitimate investigative leads in these matters and any other matter affecting the national security of the United States.