The Senate Judiciary Committee has opened a formal investigation into the actions of former attorney general Loretta Lynch, trying to answer the question of whether she tried to interfere in the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton's emails.
A story in the New York Times revealed the existence of a Russian intelligence memo – intercepted by the FBI – that said Lynch told a member of the Clinton campaign that the investigation into the candidate's emails wouldn't go too far.
The existence of the Russian intelligence memo was first disclosed in April by The New York Times, which said it played a role in Comey's decision last year to bypass the normal chain of command and make a public announcement that the FBI was not recommending criminal charges against Clinton. He reportedly was worried that the Justice Department's credibility could be called into question if the announcement came from Lynch, and Russia later leaked the document.New details about the intelligence memo came to light in a Washington Post story last month that said U.S. intelligence officials believe it might be unreliable or even a fake.Renteria and others involved in the issue told the Post they did not know each other and had never gotten such an assurance from Lynch.Robert Raben, a spokesman for Lynch, said Friday that the former attorney general would "cooperate fully with this inquiry and respond directly to the Senate Judiciary Committee.""Ms. Lynch is a committed public servant who has dedicated much of her career to the Department of Justice and led the Department as Attorney General in the fair and impartial administration of justice," Raben said in a statement.The letters announced Friday seek information from Lynch, Renteria and others about whether they were ever in contact with the FBI or each other about the issue.Grassley previously requested a copy of all FBI documents that reference the Russian intelligence document, but has not gotten it.
If the memo is fake, why did Comey deliberately bypass the former attorney general when making the announcement that DoJ would not seek to prosecute Clinton? He testified he was worried about the "credibility" of DoJ, given Lynch's desire to limit the email investigation.
In fact, the memo could be fake but be based on what actually happened. It is encouraging that there appears to be a bipartisan effort to get to the bottom of this issue, although how far the Democrats will go in implicating Lynch in an obstruction scheme remains to be seen.