Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch should testify before the Senate, top Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday, in the wake of fired FBI Director James Comey calling into question her handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe.
“I want to hear from Loretta Lynch,” Graham said.
The call follows Comey’s claim during a Senate committee hearing that Lynch once directed him to describe the email probe as a “matter” and not an “investigation” — an alleged intervention Comey said made him “queasy.” He also said that directive, combined with Lynch’s unusual Arizona tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton, led him to make his independent announcement regarding the Clinton email probe last July.
Asked Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” whether he wants Lynch to appear before the judiciary committee on which he sits, Graham, R-S.C., said: “Absolutely.”
Several GOP lawmakers have shown interest in learning more about Lynch’s actions following Comey’s testimony.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he wants to see whether Comey kept any notes regarding conversations with Lynch.
“I want to see if he had any memos on Loretta Lynch,” King said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”
The intelligence committee has asked Comey for any notes or memos he took. Comey has made clear he took extensive notes regarding his conversations with Trump, which detailed the president’s alleged attempt to seek his “loyalty” during a late January meeting, among other conversations — a claim Trump adamantly denies.
But Comey’s allegations about Lynch drew widespread attention.
He said Lynch’s tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton was a “deciding factor” in his decision to act alone to update the public on the Clinton probe — and protect the bureau’s reputation.
“There were other things, significant items,” he added, citing how “the attorney general directed me not to call it an investigation and call it a matter — which confused me.”
“That was one of the bricks in the load that I needed to step away from the department,” Comey said, later adding he was concerned Lynch was trying to align the DOJ’s comments with the way the campaign was talking about the probe. “That gave me a queasy feeling,” he said.
Lynch and former President Clinton met on a tarmac in Phoenix, Ariz., on June 27, 2016, which immediately raised questions about whether she — or the Justice Department — could be impartial in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Days later, Comey called Hillary Clinton’s actions “extremely careless” but declined to recommend charges.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she would have had a “queasy feeling, too.” She said lawmakers need to know more about that, and the judiciary committee should “take a look” at it.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., though, said he hasn’t heard Lynch’s side of the story and cannot say “whether it rises to the level that she should come and testify.”
“All I’m saying with Loretta Lynch is before anyone jumps to any conclusions, we ought to hear what she has to say,” he said on “Face the Nation.” “And let her state something privately and see if it makes much of a difference. I don’t know that it will.”