Tags: Hillary Clinton | US | Attorney General | Congress | Loretta Lynch | Bob Goodlatte

Rep. Goodlatte to AG Lynch: Your Handling of Clinton Probe Wasn't 'Responsible'

Image: Rep. Goodlatte to AG Lynch: Your Handling of Clinton Probe Wasn't 'Responsible'
(Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 12 Jul 2016 12:58 PM

Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified before a divided House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, one in which Republican committee members sought answers about the Hillary Clinton email scandal while Democrats enabled Lynch to evade the topic by making inquiries about unrelated topics.

Lynch adeptly cut off Republicans' inquiries at the knees during her opening statement.

"While I understand that this investigation has generated significant public interest, as attorney general it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on the underlying facts of the investigation or the legal basis for the team's recommendation," Lynch said during her opening statement.

Lynch would cite that obligation numerous times during her testimony.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte was the first to pose questions to Lynch. He concluded his questioning of Lynch by asserting that she did not uphold her responsibility in the Hillary Clinton email scandal.

Goodlatte had pressed Lynch several times whether she agreed with the conclusion by FBI Director James Comey that no criminal proceedings be brought against Clinton. And several times Lynch answered that she accepted the decision by Comey and the team.

"The concern here is in regard to your sworn oath to uphold the United States Constitution and the laws there under," Goodlatte concluded. "And to conclude no prosecution would take place without examining and drawing conclusions regarding the questions I've just asked does not seem to be a responsible way to uphold your constitutionally sworn oath."

Goodlatte also asked Lynch why she didn't recuse herself, given her federal appointment to the U.S. Attorney's Office by Bill Clinton in 1999 and the fact the two met on Lynch's private airplane back in June.

"In considering the matter, there was no connection, there was no need for recusal for an independent prosecutor," Lynch answered. 

And Lynch held firm that her and Clinton's discussion on her plane was not untoward in any way.

"With respect to my conversation I had with former President Clinton in Phoenix, it was a conversation that was held on the airplane, on the tarmac," Lynch said. "The former president indicated he wanted to say hello. I agreed to say hello. We had a social conversation. Nothing of any relationship to the email investigation was discussed, nor were many specific cases or matters before the department of justice discussed."

Goodlatte would later reprimand Lynch for not being more forthcoming before the committee.

Republican committee member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, excoriated the attorney general for announcing to the world her decision to accept the decision of the FBI before they gave their report. Lynch admitted she had never done that before, but did so in this case because of her meeting with Bill Clinton on her plane.

Committee member Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, asked Lynch she deferred the decision on whether to prosecute Clinton to Comey. Lynch replied,  "My decision was to accept the recommendation of the team of agents and investigators who worked on this." Sensenbrenner told Lynch she has a credibility problem.

"You have a burden I think to convince the American public that you don't have a double standard," Sensenbrenner said to Lynch. "You're not meeting the burden."

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, told the attorney general his belief that Clinton benefited from a double-standard.

"I would conclude by saying that every American …  including a candidate for the highest office in our land wants to be treated equally under the law and I think in this case it's a travesty because I don't think Hillary Clinton has been treated like any other American would have been treated under the same circumstances," Chabot said.

No Democrat asked Lynch about the email investigation, but rather chose to preach about the hearing or pose obvious questions to Lynch about gun violence in the country.

The most original non-sequitur, given the reason for Lynch's appearance, came from Congresswoman Judy Chu, D-California, who asked Lynch about the Department of Justice's ASCAP and BMI ruling that negatively affects songwriters.

"Thank you for that very important issue," Lynch said, before informing Chu that a ruling has not yet been rendered.

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified before a divided House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, one in which Republican committee members sought answers about the Hillary Clinton email scandal while Democrats enabled Lynch to evade the topic by making inquiries about unrelated topics.
US, Attorney General, Congress, Loretta Lynch, Bob Goodlatte
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2016-58-12
Tuesday, 12 Jul 2016 12:58 PM
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