Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch released a scathing statement late Sunday addressing some of the information in former FBI Director James Comey’s new book, which is set to release Tuesday.
Lynch dropped the statement just hours before a bombshell interview between Comey and ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos was set to air.
What did Lynch say?
Lynch’s statement defended her reputation as a career federal prosecutor while reiterating that when it came to the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, she “did what I always do: rise above politics and uphold the law.”
“The Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email investigation under my leadership was no exception,” Lynch wrote.
“That is why, at the critical early stages of this case, I followed the Department’s long-standing policy of neither confirming nor denying the fact of an ongoing investigation. This policy both pre-dates my entire tenure in the Department of Justice and will live on long after my current debate is over,” she explained.
“Any suggestion that I invoked this bed rock policy for any reason is simply false,” she added. “At no time did I ever discuss any aspect of the investigation with anyone from the Clinton campaign or the DNC.”
Then Lynch directed her statement toward Comey.
“I have known James Comey about 30 years. Throughout his time as Director we spoke regularly about some of the most sensitive issues in law enforcement and national security. If he had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did,” she wrote about the former FBI director.
Statement from former AG Loretta Lynch on Comey pic.twitter.com/w9lRIT0dwS
— Laura Jarrett (@LauraAJarrett) April 15, 2018
Though Lynch didn’t directly explain her reason for releasing the statement, it’s apparent the statement is a response to some of the claims Comey made in his book regarding Lynch and her handling of the Clinton investigation.
What did Comey say?
As he explained in his interview Stephanopoulos, Comey felt “uncomfortable” with a request Lynch made to him in September 2015, three months after the FBI opened its investigation into Clinton.
Comey said Lynch requested he publicly refer to the investigation as a “matter” instead of an “investigation.” Comey said Lynch didn’t explain her reasoning, nor did he understand her request. It especially “worried” him because the request fell in line with language the Clinton campaign was using at the time to spin the investigation.
“It did worry me that the attorney general’s direction was tracking that effort to avoid using the word ‘investigation.’ And so, to be honest, it gave me a bad feeling,” Comey said.
However, Comey admitted he didn’t push back against the request — which he complied with — a decision he now regrets.
In addition, as the Washington Examiner reported, Comey writes in his book that he believes Lynch and former President Barack Obama “jeopardized” the FBI’s Clinton investigation with a series of political decisions, such as a public exoneration prior to a legal one.
Specifically, Comey writes about two interviews where Obama said Clinton’s private email server did not compromise national security.
“To this day, I don’t know why he spoke about the case publicly and seemed to absolve her before a final determination was made,” Comey says in his book.