A spokesman for former Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Thursday that the former Obama administration official did not discuss the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails with Democratic National Committee officials, The Hill reports.
“To the best of her knowledge and recollection, neither Ms. Lynch nor any representative of the Office of the Attorney General discussed the Clinton email investigation with Ms. Amanda Renteria, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz or her staff, or any DNC official,” Robert Raben, a spokesman for Lynch, wrote in a letter to top members of the Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Raben added that Lynch would cooperate with the committee’s investigation into potential interference into FBI probes from the Justice Department under both the Trump and Obama administrations.
The Washington Post reported that a document, purportedly created by Russian intelligence, showed Wasserman Schultz, then the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, saying Lynch had assured Renteria, a Clinton campaign operative, that she wouldn’t let the FBI probe “go too far”.
But Raben countered in Thursday’s letter that “those communications did not take place”.
“Ms. Lynch does not know Ms. Renteria, did not discuss the Clinton email investigation with Ms. Renteria and did not communicate to Ms. Renteria, either in words or in substance, that ‘she would not let the FBI investigation into Clinton go too far,” he wrote.
Senators Chuck Grassley, Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse referenced the alleged conversation in a letter to Lynch sent last month as part of the committee’s investigation into potential political interference in FBI probes and former FBI Director James Comey’s firing.
CNN reported earlier this year that former 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 wanted to know if Lynch was aware of the memos, cited in media reports, how she became aware of them and if she had “any reason to doubt the authenticity of this document”.
Raben said while Lynch was “prepared to address” the questions, she was legally prohibited from discussing them publicly. “Ms. Lynch intends to cooperate fully with your inquiry. Ms. Lynch is a committed public servant who has dedicated much of her career to the Department of Justice, who led the Department with integrity and distinction, and who oversaw the fair and impartial administration of justice,” he added.
The letter comes as GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee are clamoring to hear from Lynch. A Judiciary Committee spokesman told The Hill last month 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”.