The Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating "alleged political interference" by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch during last year's FBI probe into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server at the State Department.
Committee leaders from both parties are seeking information about Lynch's involvement in the Clinton email probe during the 2016 presidential election, when Clinton was running for president, committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) announced Friday.
Grassley had previously requested documents obtained by the FBI and authored by a "Democratic operative ‘who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far.'" Subsequent reporting by the Washington Post indicated that Lynch, who served as attorney general during the Obama administration, had privately told a Clinton staffer that the investigation would not "go too far."
The FBI was investigating whether Clinton mishandled classified information over her private server while serving as secretary of state. In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey said Clinton was "extremely careless" handling sensitive material but added that he would not recommend that the Justice Department file criminal charges against her.
Comey raised concerns about Lynch during public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month. The former FBI chief claimed that Lynch asked him to refer to the Clinton probe as a "matter" rather than an investigation.
In response, the Judiciary Committee issued letters to Lynch, as well as the Clinton staffer to whom she reportedly spoke, seeking more information on the matter. The letter to Lynch asked her to detail her involvement in the Clinton investigation, including whether she ever reassured any Clinton campaign affiliates about the state of the investigation.
The committee also sent letters to two officials at the Open Society Foundation, an organization founded by liberal billionaire George Soros. The Post reported that one of the foundation's affiliates, Leonard Bernardo, received an email from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), then-chair of the Democratic National Committee, relaying Lynch's conversation with the Clinton staffer.
Both Wasserman Schultz and Benardo told the Post that they do not know each other and have never communicated.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, recently said that Lynch's actions regarding the Clinton probe made her "queasy" and said that the committee should investigate the matter.
Critics have questioned Lynch's role in the investigation since June of last year, when she met privately with Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, at a tarmac in Phoenix, Ariz. Lynch said at the time that the two discussed social matters like grandchildren and never brought up the email investigation.