House Republicans on Wednesday grilled former Attorney General Loretta Lynch about her decision-making during the 2016 presidential election -- a deposition that marked the final witness interview in the GOP-led probe examining FBI and Justice Department (DOJ) conduct.
Investigators on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, which have jointly examined allegations of bias, pressed the nation's former top cop on a series of topics including her controversial tarmac meeting with former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFederal judge changes his mind about stepping down, eliminating vacancy for Biden to fill Joe Biden's gamble with history Can America prevent a global warming cold war? MORE at a time when former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE was under investigation.
Committee investigators also pressed Lynch on former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyCountering the ongoing Republican delusion How Biden should sell his infrastructure bill 'Finally, infrastructure week!': White House celebrates T bill MORE’s decision to recommend that no charges be brought against Hillary Clinton during the heated 2016 presidential race, a flashpoint among GOP lawmakers who say Comey broke protocol by not consulting the attorney general.
Comey has maintained that he did not consult with Lynch until shortly before he made the recommendation because he “was very concerned by the appearance of that interaction” on the tarmac, whether or not it was potentially inappropriate, according to a transcript of his interview earlier this week.
Lynch’s appearance on Capitol Hill concludes a series of witness interviews conducted during the yearlong probe, which has been criticized by former intelligence officials and Democrats who characterized it as an attempt to undermine special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE’s Russia investigation.
Lynch's interview, however, ended the interview portion of the probe with a small spark rather than a big bang, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle saying her remarks did not yield new information.
The former attorney general did answer questions from the press before or after the interview.
Democrats, who out weighed Republicans in attendance, described the interview as a waste of time.
“Nothing new,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is poised to lead the House Judiciary Committee starting next month.
Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Jim Jordan reveals he had COVID-19 this summer The Memo: Gosar censured, but toxic culture grows MORE (R-Ohio), who will serve as ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, said, “I don’t think we learned a whole lot today.”
Jordan said he does not know when a transcript of Lynch's interview will be made publicly available.
Other GOP members like Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaProposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy Bipartisan lawmakers target judges' stock trading with new bill How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation MORE (R-Calif.), who is retiring from Congress in early January, said they learned “interesting” new details about Lynch, but they remained vague on specifics.
“We are finding some very interesting things about how [Comey] felt he didn’t have to inform her during or after he made a decision not to prosecute,” Issa told reporters, while declining to provide specifics on whether this is his personal characterization of her interview or whether Lynch criticized Comey.
“That is an area of considerable interest to get a feeling of how insubordinate Comey was during the Obama administration leading to his firing by President TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE,” said Issa, who has been tapped by President Trump to lead the United States Trade and Development Agency.
Issa also suggested that Lynch met with Bill Clinton because she may have needed help in finding a job since she was on her way out at DOJ.
“Loretta Lynch is meeting with a very powerful and wealthy man, the former president, someone controlling a half billion dollar global fund who also in fact could’ve helped her in her career, considering her career was about to end,” Issa told reporters.
Republicans, who have alleged the top brass at the FBI and DOJ were biased against Trump, have brought in a series of witnesses to Capitol Hill from high-level officials like Comey, former counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Democrats have no appetite to continue a probe that they say has been an effort by the president’s allies to undermine the reputation of the institutions that are investigating Trump and his administration.
Nadler has said Democrats will not continue the investigation once they take hold of House committee gavels next month.
How Republicans will present the details that they gleaned from the probe remains unclear.
Oversight Committee Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.) indicated there is no plan in place, instead saying he will defer the decision to Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFight breaks out between Jordan, Nadler over rules about showing video at Garland hearing The job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line MORE (R-Va.), who is retiring after the term ends.
“I have my own thoughts,” added Gowdy, who said he would prefer to release the witness transcripts and let people read the interviews for themselves.
A spokesperson for the Judiciary committee did not immediately respond to a request for information about the Lynch transcript release and the overall report's findings.