Congress is hauling FBI director James B. Comey in to explain why he decided to let Hillary Clinton off the hook and not press criminal charges for her illegal use of a private email server whilst serving as Secretary of State.
On Thursday, Comey will appear before Congress to explain his bizarre decision not pursue an indictment against Hillary, and be probed on whether he or the FBI were pressured into arriving at their decision.
The F.B.I. did not immediately confirm that Mr. Comey would comply, but the announcement by Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, came after the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, said that Mrs. Clinton should be barred from receiving classified information — an extraordinary recommendation even if it is certain to be ignored by the Obama administration.
In addition, Attorney General Loretta Lynch will appear Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, and that committee’s chairman, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, made it clear he would focus on Ms. Lynch’s impromptu meeting with former President Bill Clinton, ahead of the F.B.I.’s announcement.
The decision not to prosecute “is uniquely troubling in light of Attorney General Lynch’s secret meeting with former President Bill Clinton,” Mr. Goodlatte said in announcing the hearing Wednesday morning. “No one is above the law.”
Mr. Ryan’s comments and the grilling of Mr. Comey and Ms. Lynch may escalate a political confrontation between Democrats and Republicans just days before Congress breaks for a recess so the major parties can hold their presidential nominating conventions. Compounding the tension, Donald J. Trump will visit Capitol Hill on Thursday morning to meet with House Republicans.
“What bothers me about this is the Clintons really are living above the law,” Mr. Ryan said on “The Kelly File” on Fox News Channel. “They’re being held by a different set of standards — that is clearly what this looks like. This is why we’re going to have hearings, and this is why I think Comey should give us all the publicly available information to see how and why they reached these conclusions.”
The outrage expressed by influential Republican Congressional leaders, including Mr. Chaffetz, Mr. Goodlatte and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also signaled that far from leaving the email matter to law enforcement authorities, the Republicans still hope to inflict major damage on Mrs. Clinton in support of their presumptive nominee, Mr. Trump.
In a letter to Mr. Comey, Mr. Johnson on Wednesday demanded to know the number of F.B.I. employees assigned to the investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, a list of all F.B.I. resources detailed to the investigation, a cost estimate for the F.B.I. and any other federal department or agency roped in and an explanation of the difference between “extreme carelessness” — the phrase Mr. Comey used the characterize Mrs. Clinton’s behavior — and gross negligence, a prosecutable offense.
Those questions and more should be answered by July 19, the senator demanded, a week before the Democratic National Convention.