Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, testifying before Congress last year about how the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email use was handled, said she never told ex-FBI chief James Comey to downplay the investigation by referring to it as a “matter” as opposed to an “investigation.”
Lynch’s testimony was part of transcripts released Monday by the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee in an apparent attempt at
making Donald Trump feel good being transparent about the House’s probe into potential bias in the Department of Justice and the FBI.
“The American people deserve transparency,” GOP Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia said, according to the Washington Times. “They deserve to know what transpired in the highest levels of the FBI at the origin of the probe of President Trump’s campaign.”
Lynch, who served as attorney general as part of President Barack Obama’s administration, testified before a joint panel of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees during a closed-door session in December 2018 before the Democrats officially took control of the House chamber.
As the Washington Post explains:
Lynch said she was “quite surprised” by Comey’s characterization, made during a 2017 appearance before a Senate committee as he sought to explain why he decided to take it upon himself to announce that no charges would be brought against Clinton, the former secretary of state who was then a Democratic candidate for president.
In his testimony before the Senate committee, Comey said: “The attorney general had directed me not to call it ‘an investigation,’ but instead to call it ‘a matter,’ which confused me and concerned me.”
Lynch disputed that statement, according to the Washington Times, telling House members:
“I did not. I have never instructed a witness as to what to say specifically. Never have, never will,” adding:
“I didn’t direct anyone to use specific phraseology. When the director asked me how to best to handle that, I said: ‘What I have been saying is we have received a referral and we are working on the matter, working on the issue, or we have all the resources we need to handle the matter, handle the issue.’ So that was the suggestion that I made to him.”