Former FBI Director James Comey's close friend, Benjamin Wittes, slammed the conduct of then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the Hillary Clinton email investigation and said he is looking forward to an inspector general's report on the probe.
"For present purposes, however, my point is simply that if you believe that the Justice Department's Clinton email investigation was a train wreck that cost Hillary Clinton the election, the problem lies not only in what Comey did but also in what others did not do," Wittes wrote in his Lawfare blog.
"It is easy to focus on Comey's various actions," he said. "The full picture, however, involves decisions by others — particularly Lynch — not to take responsibility for things."
Wittes conceded he did not know what to think of how Comey handled the Clinton investigation. Still, her argued that Lynch "was a compromised figure with respect to the emails 'matter.'"
"There was classified material that, almost certainly falsely, impugned her conduct with respect to the investigation; Russian hackers had stolen emails from a Democratic operative suggesting that she would keep control of the investigation and prevent it from getting far," he noted.
"Then, to make matters worse, she allowed Bill Clinton to get on her plane in June 2016 while the Justice Department was getting ready to end the investigation of his wife, sparking a firestorm.
"Yet Lynch refused to recuse herself, even as she also said she would accept the recommendations of her investigative team — a kind of non-recusal recusal that all but guaranteed that the investigation would not close credibly. Her deputy, Sally Yates, did not persuade her to step aside."
And he suggested Lynch was happy to have Comey "fall on this particular grenade."
Wittes wrote: "I very much look forward to how the forthcoming inspector general's report on the Clinton email investigation treats the attorney general."
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