Back on June 29, 2016, Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, tried to convince us that the following ‘impromptu’ meeting between herself and Bill Clinton at the Phoenix airport, a private meeting which lasted 30 minutes on Lynch’s private plane, was mostly a “social meeting” in which Bill talked about his grandchildren and golf game. It was not, under any circumstances, related to the statement that former FBI Director James Comey made just 6 days later clearing Hillary Clinton of any alleged crimes related to his agency’s investigation.
But, according to a new DOJ FOIA dump just released by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), it looks increasingly as if nothing reported about this “social meeting” between Lynch and Clinton was grounded in fact…shocking, we know.
First, the new FOIA documents seemingly confirm that the FBI and DOJ simply lied in response to the ACLJ’s initial FOIA request filed back in July 2016. Here is what the ACLJ was told at the time after sending requests to both the Comey FBI and the Lynch DOJ asking for any documents related to the Clinton-Lynch plane meeting:
That said, documents released today by the ACLJ reveal several emails between FBI and DOJ officials concerning the Lynch/Clinton meeting primarily related to how they should go about explaining the train wreck that had just been unwittingly played out on live television courtesy of a local Phoenix affiliate station. Here is a recap from ACLJ:
The documents we received today from the Department of Justice include several emails from the FBI to DOJ officials concerning the meeting. One with the subject line “FLAG” was correspondence between FBI officials (Richard Quinn, FBI Media/Investigative Publicity, and Michael Kortan) and DOJ officials concerning “flag[ing] a story . . . about a casual, unscheduled meeting between former president Bill Clinton and the AG.” The DOJ official instructs the FBI to “let me know if you get any questions about this” and provides “[o]ur talkers [DOJ talking points] on this”. The talking points, however are redacted.
Another email to the FBI contains the subject line “security details coordinate between Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton?”
On July 1, 2016 – just days before our FOIA request – a DOJ email chain under the subject line, “FBI just called,” indicates that the “FBI . . . is looking for guidance” in responding to media inquiries about news reports that the FBI had prevented the press from taking pictures of the Clinton Lynch meeting. The discussion then went off email to several phone calls (of which we are not able to obtain records). An hour later, Carolyn Pokomy of the Office of the Attorney General stated, “I will let Rybicki know.” Jim Rybicki was the Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to FBI Director Jim Comey. The information that was to be provided to Rybicki is redacted.
Also of note several of the documents contain redactions that are requested “per FBI.”
It is clear that there were multiple records within the FBI responsive to our request and that discussions regarding the surreptitious meeting between then AG Lynch and the husband of the subject of an ongoing FBI criminal investigation reached the highest levels of the FBI.
Then comes a series of emails between DOJ officials and several mainstream media outlets that appear to reveal collusion to effectively ‘kill the story.”
The first such email involves a Washington Post writer who tells the DOJ’s Director of Public Affairs that he’s hoping to “put it [the story] to rest.”
The next email came from Mark Landler of the New York Times who almost apologizes for even inquiring about the Lynch/Clinton meeting saying that he had been “pressed into service” to write about the topic.
Finally, here is an email where ABC apparently told the DOJ they “aren’t interested” in the Lynch/Clinton story, “even if FOX runs with it.”
Can you imagine all of the stuff we would have learned over the past 8 years if the press pursued the Obama administration and/or the Clinton investigation with even 1/10th of the vigor with which it is currently pursuing Trump?