Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) slammed Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Wednesday for avoiding multiple questions at a congressional hearing about the Justice Department’s decision not to indict Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified material over her private email server.
Lynch sat in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday that lasted over five hours and continuously did not answer questions that lawmakers asked her about the Clinton investigation.
"Again, I would refer you to [FBI] Director [James] Comey for any further explanation as to the basis for his recommendation," Lynch said, referring to the FBI’s decision not to recommend the Justice Department prosecute Clinton.
Fox News host Bill Hemmer asked Gowdy what he learned at the hearing.
"Nothing," he said, adding that it was a "total waste of time" and a "total disservice to my fellow citizens."
Gowdy said it is not out of the ordinary to ask prosecutors to explain their decisions and Lynch legally could have done that, but simply chose not to.
"It’s not asking too much to ask prosecutors to explain their charging decisions or their decision not to charge," he said. "She could have answered every one of those questions. She just chose not to. There is no legal prohibition, there is no grand jury prohibiton, no rule that doesn’t allow her to answer the questions. She just chose not to."
"Why?" Hemmer asked.
Gowdy said that all the Judiciary Committee asked Lynch to do was take the facts of the case and apply them to the subsequent law.
"But the facts are embarrassing for her presidential candidate," he said. "So, discussing the facts necessarily leads to more questions, like if you have all those good facts, why didn’t you indict? She doesn’t do well in that conversation."
Hemmer asked if Gowdy was implying that Lynch was protecting Hillary Clinton.
"That is the only reasonable interpretation of what we witnessed yesterday," Gowdy said. "There is no other reason for a detactched, nuetral attorney general not to say, ‘This is the law. These are the facts. We applied them and this is the result we got.’"
He explained that even though he did not agree with Comey’s conclusion to the investigation, he at least deserved credit for giving an analysis of the facts of the case.
Hemmer then asked what Gowdy thought of the private meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton on her plance in Arizona days before the FBI announced it would not recommend charges.
Gowdy said that in cases like these, with powerful people clearly doing something wrong but still avoiding punishment, he understands why the public thinks that there is a ‘two-tiered’ system in place.
"Poor folk don’t get to sit on the tarmac on a plane, or the spouses of poor folk don’t get to sit on the plane with the attorney general for 30 minutes," Gowdy said. "But, if you are powerful and have a position of influence and you have the right last name, then you can do things the rest of the world can’t do, and that’s why people don’t have confidence in the justice system and it is not a political issue to me."
"I spent sixteen years talking to people who never once wanted to discuss politics," Gowdy continued. "It’s facts; it’s law; it’s justice. And she turned all of that upside down. It was a completely unforced error. I don’t know what they talked about. But, the appearance is dreadful."