War of Words Escalates Between Comey and Lynch

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

About Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.

Photo: 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)

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