Former attorney general Loretta Lynch’s testimony on Capitol Hill strengthened President Trump’s case that he was justified in firing former FBI director James Comey, according to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif), one of the congressmen who questioned her on Wednesday.
Lynch spent about six hours on Capitol Hill behind closed doors yesterday, answering questions from lawmakers on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees about the Justice Department’s Russia and Hillary Clinton email probes.
“When people get to see the transcript, what they’re going to see is Republicans asking important questions — questions that she quite frankly she answered pretty straightforward — and then they’re going to hear Democrats talking sort of almost like a social chit-chat about what were her opinions on unrelated matters. So let’s talk about three hours of interview — not seven,” Issa told Fox News’ Julie Banderas on Thursday.
The committees are expected to release a transcript of the Lynch interview and other transcripts eventually as part of their investigation report, according to Fox News.
Issa responded to Democrat charges that the hearing was “old news” and a “waste of time.”
“It is old news,” he agreed. “It’s old news but it still has not been put to rest. Comey was insubordinate. Comey did not inform the attorney general — who had not recused herself — that he was about to dismiss a case for lack of evidence when in fact he wasn’t a prosecutor, but rather an FBI head. He did a lot of things that justify his firing. And ultimately, one of the greatest questions that had to be resolved was, was FBI director Comey fired for good and valid reasons? And I think we put to rest in no uncertain terms that he was.”
Issa agreed with former attorney general William Barr, President Trump’s pick to lead the Justice Department, who sent a letter to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein in June 2018 slamming Special Counsel Robert Mueller for investigating the president over his interactions with Comey, calling the inquiry “fatally misconceived.”
“[Comey] was appropriately fired by the chief executive for his ongoing insubordination — his attitude,” Issa said. “That’s separate from his efforts to try to undermine the presidency before Donald Trump was elected, and right afterwards with his deceit, his actions towards Flynn, all kinds of other things.”
Issa declared that the firing of Comey was “correct and appropriate.”
“The fact is,” he said later, “… there is a weak and unjustified case to prosecute the president for obstruction for firing Comey. Just the opposite, there’s good and valid reason for the firing of the FBI director.”
Issa also suggested that Lynch’s infamous meeting on the tarmac with Bill Clinton in Phoenix — days before the FBI decided it would not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton — was no coincidence.
“You know, it’s 140 degrees out on the tarmac,” Issa noted. “The reality was, it’s a long way from one side to the other. President Clinton had to basically stalk the attorney general, set it up so that his ‘coincidence’ would happen, and then he not only had private conversations with the attorney general, … he also privately and separately talked to members of her staff — and we still don’t know what was said there,” he said.
Issa pointed out that Lynch and her staffers knew they were heading back to the private sector. Clinton was still an influential former president of the United States who controlled over a half a billion dollars of charity assets and had global reach.
“You better believe he had influence far beyond that of the average citizen talking about chit-chat and children,” he said.