Last week, Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch about a question he received from a telephone town hall event prior to the scheduled February 24 hearing relating to President Obama’s 2017 budget request for the Department of Justice. It related to the FBI investigation about whether the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information.
Congressman Carter asked:
“The State Department has publicly stated that emails sent and received on Hillary Clinton’s personal server are classified. In fact, they refuse to disclose numerous emails as they contain top-secret information. As Secretary of State, and one who is seeking the highest office in the land, she should’ve known better. Now, if the FBI makes the case that Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information, and put America’s security at risk, will you prosecute the case? Do you know of any efforts underway to undermine the FBI’s investigation?
Carter then asked what her position is given that she’s the chief prosecutor for the country:
LORETTA LYNCH, Attorney General: With respect to the investigation into how information was handled by the State Department, how they handled classified information, as I’m sure you know that matter is being handled by career independent law enforcement agents, FBI agents, as well as the career independent attorneys in the Department of Justice. They follow the evidence, they look at the law, and they will make a recommendation to me when the time is appropriate. So beyond that I am not able to comment on the specific investigation at this time. But what I will say is again that this will be conducted as every other case, and we will review all the facts and all the evidence and come to an independent conclusion on how best to handle it.
The Clinton campaign has hilariously tried to spin this investigation as part of the right wing conspiracy to ensnare the power couple, but this is the Obama Justice Department. And I don’t think anyone who is serious thinks the State Department Inspector General is coordinating with Republicans. Last week, Guy mentioned that the wholly avoidable fiasco that Clinton found herself in with her private email server has taken a toll on her image, especially when it comes to trust and honesty. Almost one in five Americans view her as a liar. In the exits polls for Iowa and New Hampshire, Democratic voters overwhelmingly backed her rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) on that character question. Yet, there are racial disparities on the left, black voters in South Carolina, of whom make up the majority of the electorate, view Clinton as trustworthy, which allowed her to best Sanders on this front by a slim 51/49 margin.
Nevertheless, it’s a character flaw that keeps nipping at Hillary’s heels, with young people telling her outright they think she’s dishonest. Clinton has been struggling with this voter bloc thus far, but maybe she’s hoping that they have a come to Jesus moment when she positions herself as the undisputed candidate for the Democratic nomination post-Super Tuesday.
At any rate, we should expect the attorney general to do whatever the law requires her to do regarding the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation, though the real question is whether an indictment will be handed down at all.