Matt Gaetz: Trump-Russia collusion narrative not the crime, but the 'cover-up'
Though the Justice Department decided against prosecuting former FBI Director James Comey for leaking classified information, he will still be held accountable overall, according to Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
The Justice Department's decision is only the first involving Comey, as his FBI had a role in using the assertion President Trump colluded with Russia as a "cover-up" for others' actions, Gaetz claimed Thursday on "The Story."
"This is the first chapter in the story of Jim Comey's culpability -- certainly not the last," he said.
"Jim Comey signed those FISA warrants based on that dossier and I think that will be the area of greatest focus.
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"It's our proposition that the Trump-Russia narrative wasn't the crime, it was the cover-up."
In regard to the DOJ's decision specifically, the House Judiciary Committee member said he respected the department's decree.
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"Ultimately, the DOJ didn't believe they could make out all the elements -- I accept that decision," he said.
"I think the testimony of Robert Mueller highlighted where Comey's greatest culpability could lie, and that is in the origins of this investigation."
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Gaetz claimed the true crime was the purported "politicization" of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court against Trump's campaign.
"If Jim Comey signed those warrants knowing that there was not complete information included about George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, then that may be the true area where he has to be held to account," he said.
Earlier Thursday, the Justice Department decided against prosecuting Comey for leaking classified information following a referral from the department’s inspector general, sources familiar with the deliberations told Fox News.
“Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official said.
“They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”
Comey penned memos memorializing his interactions with Trump in the days leading up to his firing. He then passed those documents to a friend, Columbia University Law Professor Daniel Richman, who gave them to The New York Times. Comey admitted to that arrangement during congressional testimony.
After the fact, the FBI classified two of those memos as “confidential.”
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz had referred Comey for potential prosecution as part of an internal review.
Fox News' Brooke Singman and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.