- The Washington Times - Friday, August 12, 2016

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, on Friday sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking questions about a report saying the Justice Department turned down requests to investigate the Clinton Foundation for possible wrongdoing while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

“As the press have reported widely and emails released over the past few days confirmed, representatives of the Foundation repeatedly sought special treatment for its donors and associates from senior officials at the State Department,” Mr. Cornyn, the U.S. Senate’s No.2-ranking Republican, wrote to Ms. Lynch.

“This kind of conduct is unacceptable, and reflects the worst concerns harbored by the public about the abuse of government office to benefit the powerful at the expense of the American people,” he wrote.

Emails released earlier this week by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group, showed former Clinton Foundation official Doug Band telling Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills in April 2009 that he needed to get Gilbert Chagoury, a Clinton Foundation donor, to speak to the “substance person” on Lebanon.

CNN also reported this week that FBI officials wanted to investigate whether there was a criminal conflict of interest with the State Department and the Clinton Foundation when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, but that Justice Department officials pushed back against doing so.

The report also said Ms. Mills, a top deputy to Mrs. Clinton at the State Department, interviewed two executives for a top position at the Clinton Foundation in 2012. The State Department said she was on personal time and the Clinton campaign said it had nothing to do with Ms. Mills’ official duties, calling the idea it poses a conflict of interest “absurd.”

Mr. Cornyn asked Ms. Lynch whether the CNN report was accurate, when the FBI recommended that the department open a case on the Clinton Foundation, which employees were involved, and why the department ultimately decided not to open a case. He asked for answers by Aug. 25.

He also asked Ms. Lynch if she and former President Bill Clinton discussed anything about the Clinton Foundation during their meeting on an airport tarmac in June.

That meeting came shortly before FBI Director James B. Comey announced that he was not recommending criminal charges in the investigation into whether Mrs. Clinton mishandled classified information through her private email setup as secretary of state.

Ms. Lynch described the impromptu meeting with the former president as social, though she said she wouldn’t do it again.

She said the meeting wasn’t going to influence how she handled the case and ultimately accepted Mr. Comey’s recommendation of no charges.

Mr. Cornyn had previously called for a special counsel to be appointed in the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s private email setup.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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