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House GOP asks: What did the FBI know about the lost IRS emails, and when did the FBI know it?

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: FBI Director James Comey testifies during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee June 11, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on 'Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.' Alex Wong/Getty Images

A top member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked the FBI on Thursday when it first learned that the IRS lost more than two years' worth of emails from Lois Lerner and other officials, and asked why it didn't seem to be aware of this problem much earlier.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey to ask why Comey didn't seem to be knowledgeable about the lost emails last week. In the letter, Jordan said the FBI's criminal investigation should have been unable to uncover this loss very early in its criminal investigation of the IRS.

FBI Director James Comey is being asked when he knew about the lost IRS emails, why he didn't know earlier, and why he didn't tell Congress about it last week. Alex Wong/Getty Images

"I would hope, as others have suggested, that one of the FBI's first actions in its criminal investigation would be to identify and seize all documents related to Ms. Lerner," he wrote to Comey. "If the FBI took this simple investigatory step, the FBI has known or should have known since May 2013 that the IRS lost a portion of Ms. Lerner's emails from the relevant period.

"If the FBI has known that crucial evidence has been missing for over a year, I am greatly troubled by your failure to inform Congress of this substantial violation of federal records law."

Jordan said that if Comey knew about the lost emails earlier, he should have told Congress when he testified there last week. Comey testified on June 11, and the IRS told Congress about the lost emails two days later.

"Despite discussing the investigation, you did not disclose that the IRS had lost any documents relevant to the investigation," Jordan wrote of Comey's testimony last week. "I therefore write to ask further clarification about your awareness of the missing emails and the FBI's actions to recover this important information."

Jordan asked Comey specifically when the FBI became aware that the IRS lost Lerner's emails, how it learned this, and what steps it has taken to recover those emails. Read his letter here:

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