Senate GOP shifts focus to Lynch – Jordain Carney 06/18/17 06:00 AM EDT


Moriah Ratner

Senate Republicans are clamoring to hear from Loretta Lynch after former FBI Director James Comey raised concerns about her involvement in the Hillary Clintonemail investigation.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are seizing on Comey’s testimony earlier this month that he was concerned over the former attorney general telling the FBI to refer to the Clinton investigation as a “matter,” which resembled the Clinton campaign line.

The move could allow Republicans to attempt to pivot away from the investigation into Russia’s election meddling — which top GOP lawmakers have signaled belongs to the Intelligence Committee — and focus on Lynch, who has long been a target of Republicans.

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican who is a member of both the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, said it “would be very helpful” for Lynch to testify before the Judiciary panel, which oversees the Justice Department.

“Frankly a lot of what Hillary Clinton was exposed to by Director Comey’s misconduct and the way he handled that was apparently in response to his lack of confidence in the attorney general, and I think there is a lot we could learn from that,” Cornyn said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also wants to hear from Lynch and is pushing for the Judiciary Committee to “get more involved.”

“The accusations now that … the current and former attorney general were political – that has nothing to do with Russia as much as it has to do with how the Department of Justice is being run,” he said. “I want to find out all about that.”

A spokesman for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Judiciary Committee chairman, stressed that no decisions have been made and staffers needed to first “gather evidence.”

But the spokesman said it was “likely” after Comey’s remarks before the intelligence panel that Lynch’s testimony before the Judiciary committee “will become necessary at some point.”

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