Senate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference

Top senators on the Judiciary Committee are pressing former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to respond to allegations that she tried to interfere with the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. 

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sent Lynch a letter this week as part of the committee’s investigation into the Department of Justice under both the Trump and Obama administrations. 
The four senators point to a pair of articles alleging that Lynch wouldn’t let the FBI’s investigation “go too far” and want the former attorney general to respond by early next month so they can “assess the situation.” 
{mosads}The New York Times reported in April that the FBI had received a slate of documents hacked from Russian networks, including one from a Democratic operative who appeared confident that Lynch would keep the FBI probe reined in.
The Washington Post reported last month that a document, purportedly created by Russian intelligence, showed Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), then the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, telling a Clinton campaign operative that Lynch had assured her she would make the FBI probe go away.
“Did anyone from the FBI ever discuss or otherwise mention to you emails, memos, or reports such as those described in these media reports?” the senators ask in their letter to Lynch. 
They also want to know if Lynch is aware of the existence of any memo cited in the media reports, how she became aware of them and if she had “any reason to doubt the authenticity of this document.” 
CNN reported last month that former FBI Director James Comey knew the documents were fake but feared that if the information became public it would undermine the investigation as well as the Justice Department itself.
The senators also want to know if Lynch or her Justice Department staff communicated with Amanda Renteria, a Clinton campaign staffer named in the Washington Post article, and want details on any conversations. 
They also want to know if Lynch or her staff ever spoke to Wasserman Schultz, or the congresswoman’s staff, about the Clinton email investigation and, if so, whether there any records of the conversations.
The letter comes as GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee are clamoring to hear from Lynch. A Judiciary Committee spokesman told The Hill late last week that it was “likely” that she would need to testify.
Grassley has backed tying the Obama administration’s Justice Department into the committee’s probe of Comey’s firing because the Trump administration initially cited his handling of the Clinton email case as their reason for dismissing him. Trump later said he would have fired Comey regardless of the Justice Department’s recommendation. 
Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, also backed Lynch meeting with the committee after Comey telegraphed concerns about Lynch during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. 
He told the committee that he was concerned over the former attorney general telling the FBI to refer to the Clinton investigation as a “matter,” not an investigation, which resembled the Clinton campaign line.
He also told the Judiciary Committee last month that he had been worried the Justice Department couldn’t “credibly” decline to prosecute Clinton without “grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system.”
Tags Chuck Grassley Dianne Feinstein Hillary Clinton Lindsey Graham Sheldon Whitehouse

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