Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee to probe Lynch’s role in Clin­ton in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY STEPHEN DINAN Andrea No­ble con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee has opened a probe into for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta E. Lynch’s ef­forts to shape the FBI’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into 2016 Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton, the com­mit­tee’s chair­man an­nounced Fri­day.

In a let­ter to Ms. Lynch, the com­mit­tee asks her to de­tail the depths of her in­volve­ment in the FBI’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing whether she ever as­sured Clin­ton con­fi­dantes that the probe wouldn’t “push too deeply into the mat­ter.”

Fired FBI Direc­tor James B. Comey has said pub­licly that Ms. Lynch tried to shape the way he talked about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mrs. Clin­ton’s emails, and he also hinted at other be­hav­ior “which I can­not talk about yet” that made him wor­ried about Ms. Lynch’s abil­ity to make im­par­tial de­ci­sions.

Mr. Comey said that was one rea­son why he took it upon him­self to buck Jus­tice Depart­ment tra­di­tion and re­veal his find­ings about Mrs. Clin­ton last year.

The probe into Ms. Lynch comes as the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee is al­ready look­ing at Pres­i­dent Trump’s fir­ing of Mr. Comey.

Sen. Charles E. Grass­ley, Iowa Repub­li­can and chair­man of the com­mit­tee, said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is bi­par­ti­san. The let­ter to Ms. Lynch is signed by the panel’s rank­ing Demo­crat, Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein of Cal­i­for­nia. Also sign­ing the let­ter were Sens. Lind­sey Gra­ham of South Carolina and Shel­don Whitehouse of Rhode Is­land, re­spec­tively the chair­man and rank­ing mem­ber of the key in­ves­tiga­tive sub­com­mit­tee.

Let­ters also went to Clin­ton cam­paign staffer Amanda Renteria, and to Leonard Be­nardo and Gail Scov­ell at the Open So­ci­ety Foun­da­tions. Mr. Be­nardo was re­port­edly on an email chain from the then-head of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee sug­gest­ing that Ms. Lynch had given as­sur­ances to Ms. Renteria, the cam­paign staffer, that the Clin­ton probe wouldn’t “go too far.”

At a Se­nate hear­ing ear­lier this month, Mr. Comey told law­mak­ers that Ms. Lynch had at­tempted to change the way the FBI de­scribed its probe of Mrs. Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate email server. The change ap­peared to dove­tail with how Mrs. Clin­ton’s sup­port­ers were char­ac­ter­iz­ing the probe.

“At one point, [Ms. Lynch] di­rected me not to call it an ‘in­ves­ti­ga­tion’ but in­stead to call it a ‘mat­ter,’ which con­fused me and con­cerned me,” Mr. Comey said dur­ing his June 8 tes­ti­mony be­fore the Se­nate Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence. “That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to con­clude I have to step away from the depart­ment if we are to close this case cred­i­bly.”

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that he didn’t know whether it was in­ten­tional, Mr. Comey said Ms. Lynch’s re­quest “gave the im­pres­sion the at­tor­ney gen­eral was look­ing to align the way we talked about our in­ves­ti­ga­tion with the way a po­lit­i­cal cam­paign was de­scrib­ing the same ac­tiv­ity.”

Mr. Comey said the lan­guage sug­gested by Ms. Lynch was trou­ble­some be­cause it closely mir­rored what the Clin­ton cam­paign was us­ing. De­spite his dis­com­fort, Mr. Comey said, he agreed to Ms. Lynch’s lan­guage.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Fired FBI Direc­tor James B. Comey has said that for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta E. Lynch tried to shape the way he spoke about the FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Clin­ton’s emails.

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