HOT SEAT: Senate Poses Serious Questions to Obama’s Attorney General

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Let’s face it: The investigation into Donald Trump’s “collusion” with the Russians is an almost-uniquely one-sided affair. It’s Democrats (and a few NeverTrump Republicans who want things to go back to the way they used to be) going after a GOP president they despise. It’s a political, partisan investigation that is meant to do nothing more or less than muddy the waters ahead of the 2018 and 2020 election cycles. It’s a fundraising effort, essentially, and it’s a stain on our democracy.

And for a direct comparison, you can look at what a real investigation looks like. The one that’s taking shape in the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch.

Last week, a bipartisan group of senators on the committee sent a letter to Lynch asking her a few pointed questions about her involvement in the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s improper dissemination of classified material. These senators included Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, but they also included Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Sheldon Whitehouse. The questions they posed to Lynch – with a deadline of July 6 – include:

  • “Did anyone from the FBI ever discuss or otherwise mention to you emails, memos, or reports such as those described in these media reports?”
  • “During your time in the Justice Department, did you ever have communications with Rep. Wasserman Schultz, her staff, her associates, or any other current or former DNC officials about the Clinton email investigation? If so, please describe the communications and provide all records relating to them.”
  • “To the best of your knowledge, did any of your Justice Department staff or your other associates communicate with Rep. Wasserman Schultz, her staff, her associates, or any other current or former DNC officials about the Clinton email investigation? If so, please describe the communications and provide all records relating to them.”

The committee opted to open this preliminary investigation into Lynch’s actions based on the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey, who said that he was concerned about the AG’s impartiality due to several controversial moves on her part. One of them, he explained, came when she asked FBI officials to describe the Clinton case as a ”matter” rather than an “investigation,” mirroring the Clinton campaign’s rhetoric regarding the email scandal. Another was, of course, the gobsmacking incident in which Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton on an airplane in Arizona. And there was a third incident, believed to be Lynch’s contacts with a Clinton campaign staffer, that Comey declined to discuss in the public forum due to issues of classification.

When Clinton was excused from any charges of wrongdoing last summer, a great many political observers – not all of them Republicans by any means – knew the fix was in. Now a bipartisan committee is looking to get to the bottom of what appears to be a cut-and-dried case of politics-before-justice. And by the time their inquiries are done, Loretta Lynch may not be the only one forced to answer some very tough questions.