Senate Republicans are eying the possibility of seeking testimony from former Attorney General Loretta Lynch over possible wrongdoing with regard to the FBI’s criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
On Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, formally requesting that the committee probe any attempts to influence the FBI’s investigations under the Trump and Obama administrations.
It is not immediately clear whether the Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department, has taken any action on the matter.
A spokesman for Grassley, the Judiciary Committee chairman, told The Hill that although no decisions have been made, it is “likely” that Lynch’s testimony to the Committee “will become necessary at some point.” The spokesman explained that the Committee needs to first “gather evidence.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said it “would be very helpful” for Lynch to testify, The Hill reported.
“Frankly, a lot of what Hillary Clinton was exposed to by Director Comey’s misconduct and the way he handled that was apparently in response to his lack of confidence in the attorney general, and I think there is a lot we could learn from that,” Cornyn said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also expressed support for probing the accusations about Lynch.
“The accusations now that … the current and former attorney general were political — that has nothing to do with Russia as much as it has to do with how the Department of Justice is being run,” he said. “I want to find out all about that.”
The Hill also quoted a spokesperson for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) explaining the former presidential candidate would “absolutely” back calls for Lynch to testify.
President Trump himself tweeted about Lynch, accusing her of “totally illegal” activity.
A.G. Lynch made law enforcement decisions for political purposes…gave Hillary Clinton a free pass and protection. Totally illegal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2017
How Russia Probe Exposes Loretta Lynch for Possible Wrongdoing in Clinton Email Case
There are three main issues surrounding Lynch’s possible misdeeds in the Clinton email probe, as this reporter documented last week.
One is Lynch’s infamous tarmac meeting last June at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in which former President Bill Clinton, the husband of the FBI’s main subject in a criminal probe — Hillary’s email case — boarded the attorney general’s plane and reportedly stayed there for about thirty minutes for a private chat.
The second concern is Lynch’s reported directive for then-FBI Director James Comey to publically refer to the FBI’s criminal investigation into Clinton’s email as a “matter” instead of an investigation or a criminal probe. The language matched the specific rhetoric used at the time by Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, which referred to the criminal investigation as a “matter.”
The third issue relates to testimony and questions surrounding reports claiming that Comey was in possession of a document purportedly indicating that Lynch would ensure the Clinton email probe didn’t go too far.
Largely unreported by the news media, these questions surrounding Lynch are so serious that, in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee this month, Comey conceded that the appointment of a special counsel in the Clinton email case would have been appropriate due to his concerns about Lynch.
Referring to Lynch’s directive for Comey to call the criminal email probe a “matter” as well as her private tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn asked the ex-FBI chief the following pointed question:
And under Department of Justice and FBI norms, wouldn’t it have been appropriate for the attorney general, or, if she had recused herself — which she did not do — for the deputy attorney general to appoint a special counsel?
That’s essentially what’s happened now with Director Mueller. Would that have been an appropriate step in the Clinton e-mail investigation, in your opinion?
“Yes, certainly a possible step,” replied Comey. “Yes, sir.”
And in testimony in May, Comey expressed his concern that the “[Justice Department leadership could not credibly complete the investigation and declined prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the — in the justice system.”