OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A GOP lawmaker on Friday suggested that the Republican-led House jump-start new investigations into failed 2016 Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after special counsel John Durham’s report cited her campaign as being responsible for the phony ‘Russian collusion’ allegations against her rival, Donald Trump.
In an interview with Fox News, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) responded after co-anchor Sandra Smith noted that much of the mainstream media came out in defense of the FBI even after Durham’s report also pointed out that the bureau launched an investigation into Trump’s campaign over the collusion charges despite having no evidence to indicate they were valid.
“The media was in on this from the beginning, in my view. They’re the ones who were willing to launder out Hillary Clinton’s phony, made-up information about Donald Trump,” he said, adding it was “the same information that she used with her friends at the upper echelon of the FBI to start the ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ investigation.”
“So her media friends are not gonna come out now and say, ‘Oh yeah, you know what? We were wrong, and this is damning,'” Donalds continued. “They’re just gonna laugh it off, cover it for one or two days, and then ignore it. This is really dangerous for our country.”
Donalds went on to say that, in his view, the Durham report “clearly shows rank-and-file in the FBI, in three different offices, who had serious concerns about the Clinton Foundation” — which was launched by former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton after they left office.
Ahead of the 2016 election, the Justice Department and elements within the FBI had launched at least four investigations into the foundation and Hillary Clinton, who was accused of violating laws governing the handling of classified materials after it was discovered that she had her own personal email server located in her New York home while serving as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. She was also under investigation for allegedly destroying classified materials and emails that were under congressional subpoena.
“I think one of the most damning things in this report that really isn’t talked about is that [then-CIA Director] John Brennan actually briefed Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden” in July 2016 “about what the Clinton campaign was doing,” Donalds said, adding that Congress has “no idea” what his reaction was to the briefing or the fact that then-FBI Director James Comey was overseeing the probe into the Trump campaign.
Obama “could have shut the whole thing down right then and there, and obviously, he did not,” the Florida lawmaker continued.
At that, co-anchor John Roberts circled back to the four investigations into the Clintons that were referenced in Durham’s report, noting they were simply shut down in the months heading into the November 2016 election and adding that some Republicans, including Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, would like to see them reopened.
“If the DOJ and the FBI refuse to do it, should there be congressional investigations?” Roberts asked.
“I totally agree. We should definitely be looking into this,” Donalds responded, going on to note that Durham’s report mentioned how abruptly the investigations were shut down as well as “back-channel” emails and communications between FBI personnel who believed Hillary was going to win the presidency and would retaliate against them if they continued their investigations.
Certain federal laws, including those for alleged violations governing the handling of classified materials, have statutes of limitations, however, so it isn’t clear that Clinton could be charged at this point.
Nevertheless, the situation “stinks,” Donalds declared, “and the American people need to know about it. So I think the investigations should be restarted into what was going on with the Clinton Foundation at the time.”