The blame game between ex-Obama officials now that the investigation microscope is being pointed at them is escalating.
This time, former Obama AG is flatly accusing former FBI Director of lying about her statements.
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch has flatly accused former FBI Director James Comeyof mischaracterizing her statements by repeatedly alleging, under oath, that Lynch privately instructed him to call the Hillary Clinton email probe a “matter” instead of an “investigation.”
Lynch, who testified that Comey’s claim left her “quite surprised,” made the dramatic remarks at a joint closed-door session of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees last December. A transcript of her testimony was released on Monday by House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga.
The episode marked the latest public dispute to break out among high-level ex-Obama administration officials, as multiple government reviews of potential FBI and Justice Department misconduct continue.
In a June 17 interview under oath with the House Intelligence Committee, Comey said Lynch had pressed him to downplay the significance of the Clinton email review. He said the moment led him to question her independence and contributed to his decision to unilaterally hold a press conference in July 2016 announcing the conclusions of the probe.
“The attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation, but instead to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me,” Comey testified. “That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude, ‘I have to step away from the department if we’re to close this case credibly.’”
Comey continued: “The Clinton campaign, at the time, was using all kind of euphemisms — security review, matters, things like that, for what was going on. We were getting to a place where the attorney general and I were both going to have to testify and talk publicly about. And I wanted to know, was she going to authorize us to confirm we had an investigation? … And she said, ‘Yes, but don’t call it that, call it a matter.’ And I said, ‘Why would I do that?’ And she said, ‘Just call it a matter.’”
Comey later said that Lynch’s secret airport tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton in the summer of 2016 cemented his assessment that Lynch lacked independence.
But in her testimony in December, Lynch said Comey had completely mischaracterized the situation.
“I did not,” Lynch responded when asked if she had “ever” told Comey to call the investigation a “matter.”