- - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Once the bloodhounds are unleashed, there’s no telling where the trail will lead. Sometimes the scent of scandal circles back to where it started. Democrats may regret the day they pointed a finger at Donald Trump, insisting that he must have cheated to beat Hillary Clinton. Now two staunch Obama administration loyalists, Loretta Lynch, the former attorney general, and Susan Rice, who was Barack Obama’s national-security adviser, can hear the baying of the hounds. The baying is getting louder.

Ms. Lynch was surely surprised when James Comey, as the director of the FBI, turned the spotlight on her election-year behavior. He told the Senate Judiciary Committee that as his boss, she instructed him to characterize the FBI investigation into how Mrs. Clinton handled classified material as a “matter,” not an “investigation.” This would put it in accord with what the Clinton campaign was calling it.

Now the Judiciary Committee has opened an investigation into Ms. Lynch’s handling of the Clinton inquiry to determine whether she interfered to give political advantage to Hillary’s campaign. The committee chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, a Republican, and the ranking Democratic member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, and several other senators have asked the former attorney general to document her communications with the Clinton investigation. They want to know whether she promised, as several news organizations reported, that she wouldn’t allow the FBI inquiry to “go too far,” jeopardizing Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

That allegation, attributed to Russian intelligence, contends that Ms. Lynch gave such assurance to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The Senate committee wants the documentation by early next month. If accurate, the two charges would constitute a more credible example of “election collusion” than the accusation that the Trump campaign conspired with Russians to cook the November election results.

As if things couldn’t get stranger in town, the New York Post reports that the Senate Judiciary hounds are hot after the FBI of the Obama years for its role in authenticating the infamous — since discredited — Russian dossier that was basis of the Russian collusion accusation.

Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice is also fleeing the investigatory chase for her role in the election year “unmasking” of Trump campaign associates. This newspaper reported that the House Intelligence Committee, looking into allegations of Russian hacking, have been stymied in their request for records, including those of Ms. Rice. National Security Council officials have transferred the documents to the Obama presidential library, which does not yet exist, for safe keeping. The papers would be off-limits for five years under the Presidential Records Act.

It’s reasonable to grant an interval to allow passions to cool, but it shouldn’t be an interval to arrange a burial of evidence. The unmasking of Trump associates in the course of investigating Russian interference suggests dirty tricks, especially as the facts, pesky as always, continue to undermine the Trump-Russia collusion theory. The only indisputable crime is the leaking of Trump team identities to the press in a transparent attempt to fatally wound the new president. Ms. Rice’s credibility in denying she played a role in the subterfuge is suspect given her lie attributing the 2012 Benghazi attack to an obscure homemade video.

The loyal Obama ladies have been themselves been unmasked attempting to ensure a seamless presidential succession from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton. They should explain what they were doing. If they can.

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