WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 24: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (L) and FBI Director James Comey (R) announce that the Justice Department and FBI are indicting seven Iranian hackers for attacking financial institutions and a dam in New York during a press conference in Washington, USA on March 24, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

War of Words Escalates Between Comey and Lynch

- April 16th, 2018
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This is getting good.

Former FBI Director James Comey has been fairly blunt in his criticism about his ex-boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch; Lynch is now fighting back. The two are presently engaged in a he-said, she-said PR skirmish that seems more like damage control before the Justice Department’s inspector general releases his report about possible misconduct by Obama DOJ officials related to the 2016 presidential election.

In testimony last year, Comey explained that Lynch asked him to refer to the Clinton email probe as a “matter” rather than an “investigation.” He told the Senate Judiciary Committee that although he honored her request, it “concerned me because that language tracked the way the [Clinton] campaign was talking about the FBI’s work and that’s concerning.” Comey was also troubled by Lynch’s infamous tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton while his wife was under federal investigation and just days before Comey basically saved her from criminal prosecution.

In his new book and in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Comey made curious accusations about Lynch’s conduct: “Classified information came into the possession of the intelligence community in the early part of 2016 that indicated there was material out there that raised the question of whether Loretta Lynch was controlling me and the F.B.I. and keeping the Clinton campaign informed about our investigation. Now, I don’t believe that. And I don’t believe that’s true. But there was material that I knew someday, when it’s declassified, and I thought that would be decades in the future, would cause historians to wonder, “Hmm, was there some strange business going on there? Was Loretta Lynch somehow in — carrying water for the campaign and controlling what the F.B.I. did?”

Comey again blasted Lynch’s meeting with Bill Clinton and subsequent refusal to recuse herself from the Clinton email investigation.

Lynch hit back after Comey’s interview aired. After some customary back-patting (can law enforcement officials ever make a public statement without complimenting themselves first?), Lynch rejected Comey’s backpeddling: “If he had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did.”

So, why the bad blood? Michael Horowitz, the DOJ inspector general, issued a warning shot last Friday about his pending report on the 2016 election. In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) – in which he also transmitted the report on former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – Horowitz told Grassley that, in the course of the McCabe investigation, the IG also found new information and documents related to the election review: That report is due next month. This war of words between Obama’s top law enforcement officials will likely continue. Enjoy.

Photo credit: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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