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US House panels open probe into Justice Department action during 2016 campaign

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The Republican chairmen of two U.S. House of Representative panels on Tuesday said they are probing various Department of Justice actions during the 2016 presidential campaign, including FBI decisions surrounding the investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said they have “outstanding questions” about why former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey decided to publicly disclose and keep Congress updated on the status of the bureau’s probe into Clinton’s handling of classified information, but never disclosed its probe into President Donald Trump’s campaign associates.

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The probe will also explore the FBI’s decision to “appropriate full decision-making” in declining to prosecute Clinton, rather than leaving it to prosecutors at the Justice Department, they said in a statement.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the probe.

Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman, said the department plans to “fully cooperate with this important congressional investigation.”

Comey, who was fired by Trump earlier this year, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The joint investigation by the two panels is now the second congressional inquiry into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton investigation.

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It also comes as Republicans are starting to gear up for midterm elections, after suffering major setbacks in trying to advance legislation to repeal Obamacare.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has also been digging into the matter, as part of a broader probe that also encompasses alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and whether Trump’s campaign associates colluded with the Russians.

In addition, the Justice Department’s inspector general is conducting an inquiry into public statements that Comey made about the Clinton investigation.

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It is highly unusual for the FBI to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

However, Comey discussed the status of the probe in 2016.

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In July of that year, he held a press conference and testified about why the FBI opted not to refer Clinton for prosecution.

Then in October, he told Congress he was reopening the matter because of new emails found on the computer of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was married to Huma Abedin, the vice chair of Clinton’s campaign.

On Nov. 6, he said a search of Weiner’s computer had produced no new evidence.

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Comey was later fired by President Trump.

A memo drafted by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended firing Comey on the basis of his handling of the Clinton matter, but Trump later said he fired Comey over “this Russia thing.”

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Susan Heavey; Editing by Andrea Ricci)


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After Trump: No free pass for Republicans — they own this nightmare

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With the impeachment inquiry leveling up this month as public hearings begin, and with an election that might actually be the end of Donald Trump now less than a year away, the campaign to let Trump's Republican allies — even the most villainous offenders — move on and pretend this never happened is already underway.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Sadly, the clearest articulation of the let-bygones-be-bygones mentality has come from a Democrat — unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden.Biden, who is still, somehow, the frontrunner in Democratic primary polling, spoke at a chi-chi fundraiser on Wednesday, and dropped this pearl of wisdom: "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany."

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As climate crisis-fueled fires rage, fears grow of an ‘uninhabitable’ California

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As activist Bill McKibben put it, "We've simply got to slow down the climate crisis."

With wildfires raging across California on Wednesday—and with portions of the state living under an unprecedented "Extreme Red Flag Warning" issued by the National Weather Service due to the severe conditions—some climate experts are openly wondering if this kind of harrowing "new normal" brought on by the climate crisis could make vast regions of the country entirely uninhabitable.

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Elections 2016

‘A profound emoluments clause violation’: Andrew Napolitano slams Trump’s hosting the G7 at Doral

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In the wake of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's announcement this Thursday that next year's G7 summit will be hosted at President Trump's Doral golf club, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano pointed out that Trump would be violating the emoluments clause if he were to go through with the move.

At the outset of the segment, Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto said that the announcement is "effectively saying the president has given himself this contract."

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