The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating alleged political interference by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as part of its examination into the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey as FBI director.
In a news release on his Senate website, Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that he, ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and ranking member Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) had sought information about Lynch’s alleged interference.
In April, The New York Times reported that the FBI came into possession of a batch of hacked documents, one of which was said to be authored by a “Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far.” Chairman Grassley then requested a copy of the document from the Justice Department, which has failed to respond. A month later, The Washington Post reported similar facts and provided further details about individuals involved in these communications. The Post reported that the email in question, sent by then-chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Leonard Benardo of the Open Society Foundations, indicated that Lynch had privately assured Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria that the FBI’s investigation wouldn’t “go too far.”
Grassley writes that Comey’s concern that the “communication would raise doubts about the investigation’s independence” caused him to begin discussing plans to announce the end of the Clinton email investigation instead of simply referring it to the Department of Justice for a prosecutorial decision. Comey’s decision went against DOJ protocol and was later cited as a reason for his removal from the FBI.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over both the FBI and the Justice Department, and the senators are seeking “details about the reported communication, copies of any related documents and whether the FBI contacted them to investigate the alleged communication.”
Read more at Grassley.senate.gov.