The ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee has called for an investigation into former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s actions in connection with the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Senator Dianne Feinstein was reacting to comments made by former FBI Director James Comey during testimony on Capitol Hill that Lynch asked him to downplay the Clinton investigation.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she’s concerned by former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony Thursday that Lynch asked him to downplay his “investigation” into the Democratic presidential nominee as merely a “matter.”
Comey said the political request called into the question the credibility of Lynch’s Department of Justice and made him “queasy.”
“I would have a queasy feeling too,” Feinstein admitted Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think we need to know more about that. And there’s only one way to know about it and that’s to have the Judiciary Committee take a look at that.”
Lynch, a President Obama nominee, ultimately had to distance herself from the FBI probe after meeting with former President Bill Clinton on a tarmac in Phoenix during the height of the election campaign and email investigation.
Lynch said the meeting was impromptu and they didn’t discuss Clinton’s private email server, but the appearance of impropriety forced her to back off and for Comey to become the public face of the probe.
Asked whether Lynch provided improper political cover for Clinton, Feinstein said: “I can’t answer that,” but a “separate investigation” is worthwhile to find out.
Feinstein also sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian meddling into the 2016 election. She, however, believes it’s the Judiciary Committee that needs to investigate whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice when he allegedly asked Comey to back off his criminal investigation into former Trump aide Michael Flynn.
Feinstein has formally asked the GOP chairman of the committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), to open an additional review of the president.
“Right now, this is [about] the total integrity of the president of the United States,” Feinstein said. “This is a very big deal. It should be all hands on deck. And everybody should welcome a second committee getting involved, particularly on the technical legal aspects of obstruction of justice.”
When exactly did Lynch ask Comey to downplay the Clinton investigation? Was it before or after her meeting with Bill Clinton? That question should certainly be at the top of Feinstein’s list if she manages to get Lynch to testify. If it was after her tarmac meeting with the former president, it would seem the two talked about a little more than grandkids and travel.
Back in May, Comey had this to say in a congressional hearing:
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s surprise meeting with Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac last year convinced FBI Director James Comey there was no way the Justice Department could conduct an independent probe of Hillary Clinton, Comey testified on Wednesday.
“A number of things had gone on which I can’t talk about yet, that made me worry that the department leadership could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system,” Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“And then the capper was — and I’m not picking on the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who I like very much — but her meeting with President Clinton on that airplane was the capper for me, and I then said, you know what, the department cannot, by itself, credibly end this,” he said.
Clearly, Lynch was running interference for Hillary. Whether she was ordered to do so is another question Feinstein may want to ask her if she testifies.