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Republicans question Lynch on Comey, tarmac meeting

House lawmakers on Wednesday questioned former Obama administration Attorney General ...

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 5:44 AM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 5:44 AM

House lawmakers on Wednesday questioned former Obama administration Attorney General Loretta Lynch over her tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey's decision to leave her out of his announcement on the Hillary Clinton email investigation, in what is likely to be the final interview of the Republican-led investigation into the FBI.

Lynch testified behind closed doors for nearly seven hours Wednesday before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, where Republicans are probing the FBI's actions during 2016 in the Clinton and Russia FBI probes.

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Leaving the interview, Democrats said there was nothing new to learn from Lynch, while Republicans pointed to her differences with Comey in the Clinton investigation and said there were still questions about her meeting with the former President in 2016.

"You might note she had not recused herself from the Hillary Clinton case, and yet we're finding some very interesting things about his feeling that he didn't have to inform her before, during or after he made the decision not to prosecute," said Rep. Darrell Issa, a retiring California Republican. "There will be details in the transcript, but that's an area I think of considerable interest just to get a feel for just how insubordinate Comey was during the Obama administration leading to his firing by President Trump."

Democrats said the Lynch interview was just one more attempt by Republicans to detract from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation before they lose power in the next Congress. The incoming chairmen of the two committees have made clear they won't continue the FBI probe once they're in control.

"I think basically our Republican friends want to rehash issues that have already been resolved and investigated by the inspector general, and I think one of the greatest presents we could give the American people is by spending their dollars in a way that's effective and efficient," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, who will chair the Oversight Committee next year, as he left the Lynch interview.

Lynch's interview was scheduled the same week that Comey concluded his testimony before the committees. Lynch and Comey are likely the last two witnesses that Republicans will call in their investigation, although some conservatives have pressed for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to still appear.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican and the retiring Oversight Committee chairmen, suggested a Rosenstein interview wasn't in the cards.

"If he is coming, I don't know about it," Gowdy said.

Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, expressed frustration that Rosenstein wouldn't have to testify.

"I think he should have been here a long time ago," Jordan told reporters. "It doesn't look like it's going to happen."

Gowdy would not say whether Republicans planned to issue any report or summary of their yearlong investigation, but he told reporters he hoped the transcripts of their interviews would be made public.Comey's transcript was already released as part of a deal he struck with the committee for his closed-door testimony.

Lawmakers said Lynch's interview was less contentious than Comey, and she and her attorneys weren't raising objections to questions like Comey did with certain topics.

Issa said there were still questions over what happened with her tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton, suggesting that when Lynch met with him in 2016, Clinton could have helped the career of the nation's top law enforcement officer.

"I think the one thing that everyone understands is Loretta Lynch is meeting with a very powerful and wealthy man, the former President, somebody controlling a half-billion dollar global fund who also, in fact, could've helped during her career considering her career was about to end," Issa said. "She was leaving office and was going to be looking for contacts. So the influence that somebody like President Clinton had was undeniable."

Jordan downplayed the significance of the interview.

"I don't think we learned a whole lot new today," he said after the meeting. ""I just didn't feel like she knew a whole lot about the stuff I asked about, the Russia stuff."

Democrats criticized Republicans for focusing on the meeting that was already examined by the Justice Department inspector general.

"Here we are at the end of 2018 and there are still some people extremely focused on what happened on the tarmac," said Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat.

"They're rehashing things that have been gone over in public many times before," said Rep. Jerry Nadler, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "(Lynch) said that there was no other time when she was alone with President Clinton and other people weren't listening to what she was saying."

As they left the interview, several Democrats said they were pleased that this would be the committees' last interview on the FBI's actions in 2016, and they were eager to move in a different direction next year.

"This is the last gasp of the wild goose chase known as the investigation into the Hillary Clinton investigation," said Rep. Raja Krishamoorthi of Illinois.

This story has been updated with additional developments throughout Wednesday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768301

Reported Deaths: 13209
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1093481727
Mobile699891179
Madison48418589
Baldwin35707452
Shelby35193291
Tuscaloosa33029512
Montgomery32582664
Lee21908204
Calhoun20140377
Morgan19351318
Etowah18583433
Marshall17272259
Houston16139353
St. Clair14956276
Limestone14129180
Cullman14069235
Elmore14010245
Lauderdale13128272
Talladega12399215
DeKalb11890229
Walker10231312
Autauga9493127
Blount9418149
Jackson9115136
Coffee8646161
Colbert8324169
Dale8284159
Escambia6456106
Tallapoosa6394168
Covington6313157
Chilton6243133
Russell591654
Franklin563597
Chambers5240132
Marion4628115
Dallas4626178
Clarke451471
Pike450091
Geneva4252106
Winston407987
Lawrence4046102
Bibb396177
Barbour338968
Marengo320981
Monroe311547
Butler309783
Pickens298769
Randolph294055
Henry293856
Hale286081
Cherokee279850
Fayette272271
Washington243545
Crenshaw232265
Clay221561
Macon214454
Cleburne209748
Lamar187839
Conecuh177139
Lowndes169056
Coosa163631
Wilcox154335
Bullock147142
Perry134235
Sumter123335
Greene119241
Choctaw72325
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