Republicans to grill Lynch on Paris, IRS

Republicans to grill Lynch on Paris, IRS
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Attorney General Loretta Lynch is set to face tough questions from lawmakers Tuesday about the Justice Department’s role on issues ranging from the IRS to the response to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Republicans will put Lynch on the hot seat during her first appearance before the House Judiciary Committee since replacing Eric Holder as head of the Justice Department. Her scheduled appearance last month was canceled because she was sick. 

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"We will discuss the Paris terrorist attacks with Attorney General Lynch to learn how the department is assisting our ally and taking steps to prevent such attacks from occurring on U.S. soil,” House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteRosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week Conservative pressure on Sessions grows Clock ticking down on NSA surveillance powers MORE (R-Va.) said in a statement.

The GOP’s often tumultuous relationship with Holder could extend to Lynch after the DOJ elected last month not to prosecute Lois Lerner, the former Internal Revenue Service official accused of targeting the Tea Party. 

"She has a lot to answer for,” Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzDem demands documents from TSA after scathing security report Chaffetz replacement sworn in as House member Democrats expand House map after election victories MORE (R-Utah) told The Hill. 

"Everything from Lois Lerner and the IRS, to what’s happening with emails, to how they’re operating at the Department of Justice,” he said in an interview before her first scheduled hearing. "There’s such a wide swath of issues they’re involved with."

The DOJ’s abrupt end to its two-year probe of the IRS angered many Republicans, including previous Oversight Chairman Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaTrump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics Giffords gun group targets Issa over concealed carry bill The Hill Interview: Missouri Republican has gavel on his radar MORE (R-Calif.), who accused Lynch of “white washing” the investigation.

“There are some obvious [questions],” Issa told The Hill last month. “Why they saw no violation at the IRS? Why they could close it out completely without any support for the [inspector general’s] recommendations?"

Issa said he has no intention of taking it easy on Lynch: “After she dismissed and white washed the investigation? Why?” he asked. “I think she made a grievous error.”

“She has to own that,” he added.

Goodlatte also criticized the DOJ for dropping the investigation: “At every turn President Obama and administration officials have repeatedly and publicly undermined the investigation into the IRS’s targetting of conservative groups,” he said in a statement.

The Judiciary Committee last month pressed FBI director James Comey for answers on its investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE’s email scandal — to no avail.

Republicans will likely raise the question again with Lynch, who oversees the FBI, but do not expect much new information from her on this front.

"I may ask a question, but here’s the answer they will give: ‘I’m terribly sorry, but there’s an on-going investigation,’ ” Issa said.

Goodlatte said he will also turn up the pressure on Lynch to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood after a series of controversial undercover videos from an anti-abortion group. 

The nation’s top law enforcement official can also expect to be grilled on the administration’s release of more than 6,000 inmates from federal prisons earlier this month. 

It was the largest one-time release of federal prisoners and is intended to cut down on overcrowding. The move comes amid a growing bipartisan push to reduce the sentences of non-violent drug offenders.

Meanwhile, House lawmakers have struck a bipartisan deal on criminal justice reform they plan to discuss with Lynch.