Washington denizens rate Attorney General Loretta Lynch as not the brightest bulb in President Obama’s cabinet.
Her handling of the latest Hillary R. Clinton email scandal seemingly confirms these opinions. At the least, she failed to act directly, letting others speak for her, or expecting others to inform the Clinton camp. In all cases, it seems she stepped aside and allowed others to act.
After apparently having tamped down her email travails, Clinton’s troubles re-started when FBI agents found hundreds of thousands of previously unexamined emails on a close Clinton advisor’s laptop. This was one of four devices Huma Abedin shared with her estranged husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner. They surfaced as he was being investigated by the FBI for alleged improper communications with a minor.
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When FBI Director James B. Comey first told Lynch’s aides about his plans to share with Congress the outlines of the investigation concerning the latest iteration of this long simmering soap opera, her reaction was one of suggesting caution if not delay till after the election. In fact, she prodded him, through aides, not to release details of the new emails at all.
Mind you, she did not speak directly with him even though he nominally reports to the Attorney General. If true, this is her first instance of non-action. Nor did she tell him in person or through aides explicitly not to release information about the investigation to Congress. This was her second failure to act.
Admittedly, Lynch was caught in a difficult position. If she stopped him from releasing the information, the notoriously leaking Washington grapevine would go to work. The result would be her being accused of withholding vital information from the American people prior to a Presidential election. Acquiescing left her vulnerable to second-guessing from fellow Democrats. Something they are doing in spades.
What makes her actions surprising is her apparent failure to inform the Clinton camp about the impending bombshell. Clearly the Democratic candidate was blindsided by the revelations and scrambled to catch up with the story.
If press reports are true, Lynch knew on Thursday about the Friday noon release. Yet the Clinton party only learned about the incoming bombshell while in the air on Friday. This put her team into drastic overdrive to get ahead of the story. Something they did poorly, accusing Comey of not sending the letter to Democratic Congressional leaders even though he did.
Another factor, according to other press reports, internet and phone connections on Clinton’s chartered aircraft went down during the critical hour she was trapped on board with reporters. If they got the story while closeted on the flight, there was no time for a coherent response to be formed by the Clinton team. As it was, the candidate stayed on board the aircraft for a half-hour before brushing aside questions upon exiting the plane.
Already scalded by meeting with ex-President William Clinton on the tarmac in Arizona, before Comey closed the previous email investigation, Lynch has shown a marked inability not to act on this issue.
Her handling of the FBI investigation through her top aides, if FBI leaks are to be credited, have at best delayed actions and hampered investigators in this and the ongoing examination of the Clinton Foundation. The Wall Street Journal cited numerous sources in a weekend story indicating how far Lynch’s Department of Justice officials have gone to corral investigators.
Given her close association with President Obama, Lynch’s role seemingly not informing the President or Clinton in the newest tangle of Clinton emails is puzzling.
The questions in Washington this week are when did President Obama know and when did his people inform Clinton operatives?
Given the apparent surprise demonstrated by Clinton and her advisors on the campaign plane, many reporters believe she was not informed before Comey’s letter hit the news.
If that was the case, why not?
There was no legal restraint for Lynch not to inform the President’s advisor who in turn could have alerted Clinton. This is her final and most inexplicit failure to act.
Reaction to Comey’s disclosure has been devastating to the Clinton campaign. As it tries to bury the issue in complaints about Comey’s action, the Clinton campaign has taken a new turn.
In a poll taken over the weekend, almost one in three respondents told pollsters the new investigation gave them pause.
Already one of the most surprising in history, the outcome of 2016 Presidential campaign promises to go to the wire.