Top Republicans are reportedly ramping up pressure for a special prosecutor to evaluate the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, questioning whether Attorney General Loretta Lynch can be a neutral arbiter.
No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn
of Texas — who has long doubted Lynch's neutrality in the case — last week repeated his call for a special prosecutor "because of the conflict of interest by asking Attorney General Lynch to investigate and perhaps even prosecute somebody in the Obama administration," The Hill
And Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, agrees, noted the appointment would reassure Americans that decisions are made "without regard to any political considerations," The Hill reports.
The Justice Department is resisting.
"This matter is being reviewed by career attorneys and investigators and does not meet the criteria for the appointment of a special prosecutor," the Justice Department's spokeswoman, Melanie Newman. tells The Hill in a statement.
If the FBI finds evidence to launch a criminal probe into Clinton or one of her top aides for mishandling classified information, it's the Justice Department — headed by Lynch — that'll have to decide whether to press ahead, The Hill notes.
But pressure for independent oversight has increased following revelations that more than 1,500 classified emails
— including 22 classified at the highest level — were found on her personal server.
Clinton says she's "100 percent confident" the FBI's review
won't become a criminal matter.
And despite Obama's assurance last October that Clinton's private emails never "endangered" national security, GOP lawmakers are skeptical.
"It might appear that [the president is] trying to influence the conduct of the investigation," Cornyn said on the Senate floor, The Hill reports.
"That's a real problem."
Adding to the concerns about Lynch's role in the issue is the fact that if Clinton becomes the next president, Lynch may be asked to stay on, The Hill reports.
"That Hillary Clinton could be the Democrat nominee and potential next president represents an extraordinary circumstance that commends the appointment of a special counsel," Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, head of the House Oversight subcommittee on national security, said in a statement to The Hill.
"For a Democrat-appointed attorney general such as Lynch, this is obviously something that distinguishes the Clinton investigation from other cases."
Along with 43 other Republicans, DeSantis also had asked last year for a special counsel
Assistant attorney general Peter Kadzik wrote back
the law allowing for a special counsel "has rarely been used," The Hill notes.
"Any investigation related to this referral [into Clinton's server] will be conducted by law enforcement professionals and career attorneys in accordance with established department policies and procedures designed to ensure the integrity of all ongoing investigations," he said in his letter.
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