House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) took aim at the Department of Justice Wednesday, calling recent revelations of “insider bias” on FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team “deeply troubling” and questioning the impartiality of the Russia probe as well as the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“We are now beginning to better understand the magnitude of this insider bias on [FBI Special Counsel Robert] Mueller’s team,” Goodlatte said.
Goodlatte made the remarks at a hearing featuring Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller’s probe has come under fire in recent weeks after it was revealed that top investigator Peter Strzok had exchanged anti-Trump text messages with fellow agent Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
In addition to being on Mueller’s “dream team” investigating Trump contacts with Russian officials, Strzok was also a key investigator in the 2016 FBI probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
The impartiality of both investigations has been cast into doubt after the news of the emails broke. More details about the messages emerged late Tuesday, including specific texts from the two officials.
“I cannot believe Donald Trump is likely to be an actual, serious candidate for president,” Page texted Strzok in March 2016, according to CNN. In another, she describes Trump as a “loathsome human being.”
In August, Strzok texted Page, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s] office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…”
At the hearing Wednesday, Goodlatte said the messages are “deeply troubling to all citizens who expect a system of blind and equal justice.”
In relation to the Clinton investigation, which left many conservatives outraged when the FBI declined to recommend charges, Goodlatte said the messages confirm “what we all suspected” about the investigation.
“High ranking FBI officials involved in the Clinton investigation were personally invested in the outcome of the election and clearly let their strong political opinions cloud their professional judgment and this was only an initial disclosure containing heavy redactions,” he said.
Strzok reportedly interviewed top Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, and was behind the softening of the language used by then-FBI Director James Comey to describe Clinton’s handling of classified information — from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
At the hearing, Goodlatte also mentioned a gushing email sent by Mueller deputy Andrew Weissman in January to then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates over his refusal to implement Trump’s travel ban.
“I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects,” Weissman said in the email.
Goodlatte made reference to the email as yet another example of left-wing bias at the department, and quipped, ‘We are the ones now in awe that someone like Mr. Weissman remains on an investigative team that looks more and more partisan.”
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.