Former attorney general Loretta Lynch defended her handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server on Sunday amid criticism from former FBI director James Comey.
In a statement on Sunday, Ms. Lynch said she “fought corruption of all types” during her tenure at the Justice Department, “whether by elected officials from both sides of the aisle or within organizations like FIFA.”
“The Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email investigation under my leadership was no exception,” she said in the statement, which was first obtained by CNN. “It was led by a team of non-partisan career prosecutors whose integrity cannot be overstated and whom I trusted to assess the facts and make a recommendation – one that I ultimately accepted because I thought the evidence and law warranted it.”
In his just-released book, “Higher Loyalty,” Mr. Comey defended the FBI’s handling of the probe into the email server Mrs. Clinton used as secretary of state. He accused President Obama and Justice Department appointees of “jeopardizing” the investigation’s credibility for political reasons.
“Contributing to this problem, regrettably, was President Obama,” Mr. Comey wrote in the book. “He had jeopardized the Department of Justice’s credibility in the investigation by saying in a 60 Minutes interview on Oct. 11, 2015, that Clinton’s email use was ‘a mistake’ that had not endangered national security. Then on Fox News on April 10, 2016, he said that Clinton may have been careless but did not do anything to intentionally harm national security, suggesting that the case involved overclassification of material in the government.”
According to the book, Ms. Lynch asked Mr. Comey to describe the email probe as a “matter,” rather than an “investigation.” It reminded him of the Clinton campaign’s attempt to employ “a variety of euphemisms to avoid using the word ‘investigation,’” Mr. Comey wrote.
“The attorney general seemed to be directing me to align with the Clinton campaign strategy,” he continued. “Her ‘just do it’ response to my question indicated that she had no legal or procedural justification for her request, at least not one grounded in our practices or traditions.”
Ms. Lynch came under scrutiny after meeting with former President Bill Clinton on the tarmac at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix while the federal investigation into Mrs. Clinton was ongoing.
She later announced her intention to accept the FBI’s recommendation in the investigation.