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House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday expressed concern that the House is being denied constitutional oversight from the FBI over the agency’s “stonewalling” of a request to determine whether Hillary Clinton committed obstruction of justice.
The remark came during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
“Are you concerned, Speaker Ryan, that the House is being denied its constitutional oversight by an FBI that is indifferent to what is obviously an obstruction of justice?” Hewitt asked.
“Yes, and it’s not the first time we’ve experienced this,” Ryan replied.
The speaker continued: “I was part of the IRS investigation in my last job here in Congress, and I would say it’s a very, very similar story. It’s a story of stonewalling.”
Ryan said Congress would continue “doing our oversight” to “try and bring truth to power.”
House Republicans announced Tuesday that they had requested an investigation into whether Clinton and her team illegally destroyed evidence during the FBI’s investigation into her use of a private email server. The Justice Department has not yet responded to House Republicans’ requests.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that new documents from the FBI raised the possibility that some of Clinton’s email archives were deleted after congressional committees had ordered them preserved.
Ryan, nevertheless, told Hewitt he was perplexed as to why FBI Director James Comey released the agency’s interview notes with Clinton on the Friday before Labor Day weekend.
“I don’t know why they thought it wouldn’t look too cute by half releasing it in the typical political data dump Friday of Labor Day,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “That judgment mystifies me, because it’s so clearly political in nature.”
He added: “That is what politicians do when they have bad news to tell that they want to get swept under the rug in order to minimize a story. They’re not, the FBI’s not supposed to be minimizing political damage of political stories. They’re supposed to be getting to the truth and holding people accountable. And so when they make things like this, it makes them look political.”