WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Republican-controlled U.S. House Judiciary and Oversight committees on Tuesday announced a joint probe into how the FBI handled its 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was U.S. Secretary of State.
"Decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016 have led to a host of outstanding questions that must be answered," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, both Republicans, said in a joint statement.
The two chairmen said they have questions about the FBI's decision to openly declare the bureau's investigation into Clinton's handling of classified information, while quietly investigating Donald Trump campaign associates.
The panels also want to know why the FBI, instead of the Justice Department, recommended that Clinton not be charged after the investigation concluded, as well as the reasoning behind the FBI timeline for announcing such decisions.
"The Committees will review these decisions and others to better understand the reasoning behind how certain conclusions were drawn. Congress has a constitutional duty to preserve the integrity of our justice system by ensuring transparency and accountability of actions taken," said the statement.
The then FBI director James Comey, who was ousted by President Donald Trump earlier this year, began drafting his statement that the FBI would not recommend charges months before his July 2016 announcement, according to a The Hill news daily report.
Comey's decision was even drawn up "before the FBI had interviewed key witnesses," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said in late August.
However, House Democrats slammed the decision as an attempt to distract the public eye from the Russia meddling investigation that they said is picking up speed.
"This new investigation is a massive diversion to distract from the lack of Republican oversight of the Trump Administration and the national security threat that Russia poses," the top Democrats at the two House panels, Oversight's Elijah Cummings and Judiciary's John Conyers, said in a joint statement.