WASHINGTON, JUNE 23, 2017 — Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch is being investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee led by Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif. Multiple reports have surfaced that suggest she attempted to influence the FBI investigation into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server.
Communications from Democratic Party operatives and testimony from former FBI Director James Comey cast doubt on Lynch’s impartiality in that investigation.
The following was posted to Grassley’s Senate website:
“Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Ranking Member Sheldon Whitehouse sought information about alleged political interference by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The bipartisan inquiry comes as the Judiciary Committee is examining the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey as FBI Director.
“In April, The New York Times reported that the FBI came into possession of a batch of hacked documents, one of which was said to be authored by a “Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far.” Chairman Grassley then requested a copy of the document from the Justice Department, which has failed to respond. A month later, The Washington Post reported similar facts and provided further details about individuals involved in these communications. The Post reported that the email in question, sent by then-chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Leonard Benardo of the Open Society Foundations, indicated that Lynch had privately assured Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria that the FBI’s investigation wouldn’t ‘go too far.’
“Comey was reportedly concerned that the communication would raise doubts about the investigation’s independence and began discussing plans to announce the end of the Clinton email investigation rather than simply referring it to the Department for a prosecutorial decision. Comey’s extraordinary action to announce the end of the investigation was a break from Justice Department protocol, and was later cited as justification for his removal from the FBI.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is obligated to oversee potential misconduct or political influence at the Department of Justice and the FBI. There are numerous allegations of interference into controversial and high-profile investigations that include Clinton’s email server, Russian interference in American elections, former President Clinton’s tarmac meeting with Lynch, obstruction of justice and more that carries over from the Obama administration and that is causing chaos for the Trump administration.
Words matter, and Grassley’s announcement came just weeks after Comey testified that Lynch requested he downplay the Clinton-email investigation by referring to it as a “matter” rather than an “investigation.”
Senator’s Grassley and Feinstein (D-CA) have sent a letter to Lynch saying in part:
“On April 22, 2017, The New York Times reported that during the investigation of Russian hacking against political organizations in the United States, the FBI “received a batch of hacked documents” from U.S. intelligence agencies that had access to stolen materials stored on Russian networks. One of the documents provided to the FBI reportedly appeared to have implications on the then-ongoing Clinton email investigation.
“Specifically, the FBI is reported to have obtained an email or memo ‘written by a Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far.’ According to anonymous government officials cited in the report, the discovery of the document ‘complicated’ how FBI and the Justice Department would interact in the investigation because ‘[i]f Ms. Lynch announced that the case was closed, and Russia leaked the document, Mr. Corney believed it would raise doubts about the independence of the investigation.’
“Similar concerns were raised by Director Corney during this Committee’s May 3, 2017 oversight hearing: The normal way to do it would be [to] have the Department of Justice announce it, and I struggled, as we got closer to the end of it, with—a number [of] things had gone on, some of which I cannot 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.
“And then the capper was—and I am 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. The Washington Post reported that in early March 2016 the FBI had received ‘what was described as a Russian intelligence document’ that ‘cited a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter.’
“The Washington Post reported that in early March 2016 the FBI had received ‘what was described as a Russian intelligence document’ that ‘cited a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter.’
“More specifically, the Russian intelligence document reportedly ‘referred to an email supposedly written by the then-chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and sent to Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations.’ According to the article: ‘[i]n the supposed email, Wasserman Schultz claimed Lynch had been in private communication with a senior Clinton campaign staffer named Amanda Renteria during the campaign. The document indicated Lynch had told Renteria that she would not let the FBI investigation into Clinton go too far …’ 6 In order for the Committee to assess the situation, please respond to the following questions and provide the relevant documents by July 6, 2017:
“1. Did anyone from the FBI ever discuss or otherwise mention to you emails, memos, or reports such as those described in these media reports?
“2. Are you aware of the existence of any email, memo, or report such as those described in the cited media reports? If so, when and how did you become aware of the document’s existence? Did you have any reason to doubt the authenticity of this document?
“3. To the best of your knowledge, have you ever .communicated with Amanda Renteria? If so, when and did you discuss the Clinton investigation? If so, please describe the communications and provide all records relating to them.
“4. To the best of your knowledge, did any of your Justice Department staff or your other associates communicate with Amanda Renteria? If so, who, what did they discuss, and when did the communications occur?
“5. 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.
“6. 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 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?”
Grassley is pointedly referring to reports in both the Washington Post and The New York Times that alleged that then-Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz conveyed, via an email, that she knew that Lynch would ensure the email investigation wouldn’t “go too far.”
The senators also sent letters to others including members of left-wing billionaire George Soros’s group Open Society Foundation.