Politics

There’s ‘Smoke’ and ‘Fire’ in Probing Clinton for Collusion, Rep. Duffy Says

Apparent lack of interest at Department of Justice and FBI in examining Hillary's Russia ties makes people ask, 'What they are trying to hide?'

People “wonder what are they trying to hide” when Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials are constantly found “not cooperating” with congressional investigations of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s collusion with Russians, according to Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.).

“The charge that Mueller received was to investigate collusion or involvement of Russia in the 2016 election, which means they can look at Donald Trump but they can also look at Hillary Clinton,” Duffy said Tuesday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

But “the only evidence that we have had come out publicly in regard to collusion is the fact that Hillary Clinton and the [Democratic National Committee] colluded through Fusion GPS and [dossier author] Christopher Steele with Russia,” Duffy told Jason Chaffetz, the former Utah congressman who is subbing as host this week for Laura Ingraham during her vacation.

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“They paid Russian informants with double-triple-quadruple hearsay to craft a dossier that then the FBI used to go after Donald Trump,” Duffy continued, referring to the FBI’s surveillance warrant applications for Trump associates.

“So, if you want to look at Russian collusion and Russian influence, you’ve got to look at Hillary Clinton and what they did in crafting the dirty dossier. And for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t appear that Mueller is actually looking at the Hillary Clinton campaign.”

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave special counsel Robert Mueller authority to investigate allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump’s associates and Russia, plus “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” according a Rosenstein memo made public only Monday.

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Democrat Scott Bolden, a managing partner of the Reed Smith law firm, disagreed with Duffy, saying the Clinton campaign’s dealings with Steele and the anti-Trump dossier weren’t too significant.

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“[Mueller] had a direct mandate to look at the coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. But let me get to Hillary Clinton, because Republicans love to jump on and jump back to Hillary Clinton,” Bolden said.

“Now, if you think Hillary Clinton ought to be investigated, the Republicans run the House, Senate and the White House,” Bolden added. “If they don’t investigate, that means either there’s nothing there or they’re too busy focusing on the other part of the Mueller investigation.”

Duffy argued that the DOJ and FBI weren’t showing comparably significant interest in Clinton because there are “partisan hacks at the head of the DOJ and the FBI. And that’s why I’ve called and others have called for a special counsel to look at the partisanship inside the FBI and the DOJ.”

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Republican lawmakers have called for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate Clinton and other controversies surrounding her and her campaign. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to appoint a special counsel and instead directed U.S. attorney John Huber from Utah to lead probes of those issues.

“Why won’t Jeff Sessions investigate that?” Bolden said, wondering if Sessions’ reluctance indicates that Clinton’s conduct wasn’t as bad as Republican lawmakers make it out to be and that the FBI and DOJ didn’t commit significant errors while investigating her.

“I deeply believe that if Mueller finds information — whether it’s smoke, fire or evidence or facts — that Hillary Clinton somehow coordinated [with Russia], I think he may have the authority to look at it or to ask Rosenstein for the authority for that,” Bolden argued.

But Duffy insisted that Americans are wondering about “what involvement did Russia have in our elections,” whether that involvement stemmed from collusion with the Trump campaign, the Clinton campaign, or both.

“I’m on the same page as you are. We want to find that out. But if you’re going to do it, let’s not do it in a partisan way,” Duffy said. “Let’s not just look at Donald Trump. There is a lot of smoke, and I think there’s fire to look at Hillary Clinton as well. If you only look at one side of this issue and not the other, that’s why so many Republicans feel like it’s a partisan … investigation.”

“We know for a fact that Hillary Clinton paid Russians to develop this dirty dossier that was used against Donald Trump. That’s the only evidence we have for collusion,” Duffy continued.

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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