Following former FBI Director Comey’s testimony that President Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked him to downplay the Hillary Clinton email scandal, Senate Republicans are demanding hearings into her involvement in “obstructing justice.”
As a reminder, Comey said Lynch instructed Comey not to call the criminal investigation into the Clinton server a criminal investigation. Instead, Lynch told Comey to call it a “matter,” Comey said, “which confused me.” Comey cited that pressure from Lynch to downplay the investigation as one of the reasons he held a press conference to recommend the Department of Justice not seek to indict Clinton.
LANKFORD: Then you made a comment earlier a the attorney general, the previous attorney general asking you about the investigation on the Clinton e-mails saying you were asked to not call it an investigation anymore. But call it a matter. You said that confused you. You can give us additional details on that?
COMEY: Well, it concerned me because we were at the point where we refused to confirm the existence as we typically do of an investigation for months. And was getting to a place where that looked silly because the campaigns we’re talking about interacting with the FBI in the course of our work. The Clinton campaign at the time was using all kinds of euphemisms, security matters, things like that for what was going on.
We were getting to a place where the attorney general and I were both going to testify and talk publicly about it I wanted to know was she going to authorize us to confirm we have an investigation. She said yes, don’t call it that, call it a matter. I said why would I do that? She said, just call it a matter. You look back in hindsight, if I looked back and said this isn’t a hill worth dying on so I just said the press is going to completely ignore it. That’s what happened when I said we opened a matter.
They all reported the FBI has an investigation open. So that concerned me because that language tracked the way the campaign was talking about the FBI’s work and that’s concerning.
LANKFORD: You gave impression that the campaign was somehow using the language as the FBI because you were handed the campaign language?
COMEY: I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but it gave the impression that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way it was describing that. It was inaccurate. We had an investigation open for the federal bureau of investigation, we had an investigation open at the time. That gave me a queasy feeling.
So who was obstructing or trying to interfere there?
Comey said that this troubled him greatly and convinced him, “I have to step away from the department if we’re too close this case credibly.”
Well, as The Hill reports, Senate Republicans want to know…
Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican who is a member of both the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, said it “would be very helpful” for Lynch to testify before the Judiciary panel, which oversees the Justice Department.
“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 wants to hear from Lynch and is pushing for the Judiciary Committee to “get more involved.”
“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.”
A spokesman for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Judiciary Committee chairman, stressed that no decisions have been made and staffers needed to first “gather evidence.”
But the spokesman said it was “likely” after Comey’s remarks before the intelligence panel that Lynch’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee “will become necessary at some point.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, signaled that the panel should look into whether Lynch tried to downplay the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s email setup.
“I think we need to know more about that. And there’s only way to know about it, and that’s to have the Judiciary Committee take a look at that,” she told CBS in a recent interview.
A spokesman for Sen. Ted Cruz said the Texas Republican would “absolutely” support Lynch testifying.
Of course President Trump has had plenty to say (tweeting)…
“A.G. Lynch made law enforcement decisions for political purposes…gave Hillary Clinton a free pass and protection. Totally illegal!”
one RNC talking point leaked to a Washington Post reporter this week.
“Why is no one investigating Attorney General Lynch’s Department of Justice for obstruction of justice in the Clinton email investigation…
There is compelling evidence to back up the claim that AG Lynch engaged in obstruction of justice.”
Though GOP lawmakers have long been wary of Lynch, placing her back in the spotlight could backfire if it also keeps the public’s focus on Comey amid continued fallout over the FBI chief’s firing in early May.
Of course, we are sure that The Left will see this as nothing but misdirection from the various Russia probes – which are all backed by nothing but innuendo – and “obstruction of justice” enquiries – which are supported by nothing but Comey’s testimony – and well it might be. However, in this case, the weight of evidence, circumstantial or not, is starting to get heavy against the holier-than-thou Lynch.