Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch used the name “Elizabeth Carlisle” as an alias for her official Justice Department email account, according to newly released documents.
The alias shows up in documents released Monday by the American Center for Law and Justice, a group led by one of President Trump’s attorneys, Jay Sekulow. The center obtained hundreds of pages of Justice Department emails through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request pertaining to Lynch’s meeting with former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFive takeaways from Arizona's audit results Virginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Business coalition aims to provide jobs to Afghan refugees MORE on a tarmac in Arizona during the 2016 campaign.
It is not uncommon for Cabinet secretaries to use an email alias for security reasons, although the practice can make it more difficult for reporters to FOIA government documents.
Lynch’s predecessor, former attorney general Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderOregon legislature on the brink as Democrats push gerrymandered maps Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Democrats look to state courts as redistricting battle heats up MORE, used the alias “Lew Alcinder” — the birth name of basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — for his emails.
Unlike the controversial arrangement used by former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE, all of Holder and Lynch’s emails were housed on the Justice Department’s server.
A spokesperson for Lynch did not return a request for comment or respond to questions about why she used an alias or what the significance of “Elizabeth Carlisle” might be. “Elizabeth” is Lynch’s middle name.
Still, the revelation created a stir among media outlets on the right, where Lynch’s impromptu private meeting with former President Bill Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign continues to be a source of intense speculation.
At the time, the FBI was conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified material as secretary of State. The revelation that Bill Clinton met privately with Lynch — uncovered by a local ABC affiliate reporter — provoked allegations that the former president was improperly seeking to influence the investigation.
It led Lynch to state that she would defer to then-FBI Director James Comey’s judgment on whether to bring charges in the case. In a dramatic press conference, Comey said Clinton had been reckless in her handling of classified information but that her actions did not warrant criminal charges.
Monday’s release of documents was part of a conservative effort to uncover more information about the impromptu meeting in hopes that Congress or law enforcement officials will continue to investigate it.
The documents are heavily redacted, but Lynch’s alias was revealed in emails in which the former attorney general engaged in back-and-forth with her communications team about how to respond to the burgeoning political crisis around the tarmac meeting.
Last month, Comey thrust Lynch back into the spotlight after he testified before Congress that Lynch had instructed him to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's server as a political matter, rather than a criminal investigation, parroting the Clinton campaign line.
Senate Republicans are hoping Lynch will testify on that allegation soon.