AG's ethics questioned after meet-up with Bill Clinton
A brief meeting U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch held with Bill Clinton, whose spouse, probable Democrat candidate for president Hillary Clinton, is being investigated for possible criminal charges, is prompting a groundswell of demands that she now recuse herself from any decision in the case.
WND reported on Wednesday that Lynch confessed to meeting with Bill Clinton briefly at the Phoenix airport, which raised questions in itself because of the time and location.
At the time, Lynch claimed they talked about grandchildren, travels and the like – but not the looming case that could result in federal criminal charges against Hillary Clinton over her decision to run secret government information through an unsecured and hackable private email system.
Now, Michael Cutler at Front Page Mag is offering a simple solution to all the questions of propriety that are being raised.
“The stakes could not be higher – yet Loretta Lynch acted in a way that she should have clearly understood created that illusion of wrong-doing. … It is impossible to understand her motivation or what she was thinking as she sat on her airplane meeting with Bill Clinton – but one thing is now perfectly clear, she must recuse herself from any involvement in the decision making process where the investigation/prosecution of Hillary Clinton is concerned,” he wrote.
Presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump called Lynch’s move “horrible.”
And Cutler continued, “The appearance this meeting creates, in and of itself, calls into question the judgment of the attorney general of the United States – America’s ‘Top Cop’ who sets the tone for law enforcement for the entire federal government and, as a consequence, for law enforcement agencies at all levels from coast to coast and border to border.
“And make no mistake – appearances can be critical. This was a message that was repeatedly hammered home by my bosses when I served as a special ggent for the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service),” he wrote.
He stressed the importance of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety.
“While Lynch claims that nothing was discussed that involved Hillary Clinton – we only have her word for that. Furthermore, as the attorney general she would certainly have to cognizant about the appearance of a major impropriety that her meeting with Bill Clinton created. The obvious question is why would she do this? Was she so fascinated about Clinton’s golf game or his grandchildren that she was willing to create the illusion of wrong-doing? Was the meeting conducted on her airplane to make certain that no one would be able to overhear what was said? If so, what was the true topic of the conversation?”
At the Examiner, the report explained what the situation looked like, and quoted analyst Steve Doocy on “Fox and Friends” saying “It looks like the fix is in.”
“Camps for both Clinton and Lynch are calling this an ‘unplanned encounter,’ but that is not the way a sizable portion of the public see this. Clinton saw Lynch’s plane on the tarmac and wanted to say hello, so he took the opportunity to board her plane… or so the story goes. But unfortunately that story isn’t sitting well with a lot of folks today. ‘Fox and Friends’ reports there are calls for Lynch to recuse herself from this case.”
The questions seem to be growing despite Lynch’s claim, after the meeting, when she said, “We talked about former Attorney General Janet Reno, for example, whom we both know, but there was no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body. There was no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of the State Department emails, by way of example.”
Added the report, “This explanation has many wondering if Lynch really believes Americans are that gullible? Even if you give Lynch the benefit of the doubt and say, OK … golf and babies was the topic of this conversation, the question is still there…. why do this?”
Former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams, at PH Media, also sounded off.
“Whenever Bill Clinton gets on a plane to meet a woman, he’s usually up to no good,” he wrote. “Attorney General Loretta Lynch said her impromptu tarmac summit at Phoenix Sky Harbor was a purely social affair. Golf and grandchildren were on the agenda, she said – and not how a home-brew server crammed with classified information ended up in Bill’s basement.
“However, the attorney general normally doesn’t meet with family members of a target in an active FBI criminal investigation. Hillary is just that – a target in an FBI criminal investigation.”
He continued, “Many won’t believe Lynch and Clinton only discussed grandkids and golf in her cozy jet. But I do. That’s all they needed to discuss for Bill to interfere with a criminal prosecution. Sophisticated insiders don’t need to use clumsy and explicit language. Merely having the tarmac summit interferes with the investigation, even if golf and grandkids were the only topics discussed. The tarmac summit sent a signal. It is a signal to all of the hardworking FBI agents who have the goods on Hillary.
“The attorney general has made it clear what team she is on. The attorney general isn’t on the side of justice. She’s on the Democratic Party team. This is the unspoken message from Lynch to all of the FBI agents on the case and to all the front-line lawyers at the Justice Department: When you send your recommendation to refer Hillary’s case to the grand jury, you had better realize your burden to convince me I should sign off on a grand jury request is higher than you thought. These are my friends.”
David Axelrod, longtime adviser to Obama, even suggested it was “foolish to create such optics.”
And Eric Levtiz at New York Mag noted the meeting was held “for some stupid reason.”
“Republicans immediately demanded Lynch recuse herself from the investigation, arguing that the meeting constituted an ‘appearance of a conflict of interest,'” he wrote.
And John Steele Gordon at Commentary Magazine expressed astonishment.
“What on earth could Attorney General Loretta Lynch have been thinking when she met privately with former President Bill Clinton on Monday in Phoenix? The two met at the Phoenix airport when she and her husband landed in a government plane on a tour of the nation’s law enforcement agencies.
“This meeting spectacularly fails the test that originated with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said, ‘It is not enough for a judge to be above impropriety. He must be above the appearance of impropriety.’ You don’t have to be rabidly anti-Clinton or hopelessly paranoid to think that they might have talked about more than golf and grandkids.”
He even suggested Lynch was “looking for a means of recusing herself from having to make a decision that, for her, will be a no-win one…”
David Harsanyi, at the Federalist, blasted Dems’ suggestions it was an “optics” problem.
“The nation’s top law enforcement official and the former president and husband of the presumptive nominee, who is under federal investigation, had a talk. And rather than conceding that such a private encounter is at the very least a conflict of interest, Democrats preemptively complained about the ‘optics.’ Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., for instance, told CNN that Lynch ‘should have steered clear’ and that the meeting ‘sends the wrong signal.’
“Acknowledging that the meeting was bad ‘optics’ is a way for Democrats to intimate that while some rubes might get the wrong idea, there’s really nothing unethical about it. But they can’t know that’s true, can they? One of the parties involved is Bill Clinton, who’s already been impeached for lying under oath and obstructing justice. The other is Loretta Lynch, who’s politicized virtually every major case under her watch.”
He added, “Lynch might be Mother Teresa for all we know, but we still have ethical codes for a reason. Any truly impartial attorney general would have told the former president, ‘Why don’t we table this meeting until after the high-profile, politically charged criminal investigation of your wife is over.’ Would that really have been so difficult?”
WND had reported that KNXV-TV in Phoenix cited sources at the city’s Sky Harbor International Airport in reporting Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton.
Lynch later confirmed the meeting to the television station.
That’s as the FBI, which she ovresees, is investigating Hillary Clinton’s private email setup, which bypassed the State Department’s security system. The emails remain the subject of multiple investigations and lawsuits, with Hillary Clinton’s aides already giving depositions in one legal challenge.
That case, by Judicial Watch, could require Hillary Clinton to testify under oath.
In the latest in the investigation, top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin expressed frustration at her former boss’ use of the home-based private email server to run the State Department.
Judicial Watch has released the transcript of Abedin’s deposition.
Abedin now is vice chairwoman of Clinton’s presidential campaign. She was deposed by attorneys for Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information lawsuit that seeks records covering her employment status.
Abedin acknowledged using ClintonEmail.com for official business but said she generally used her official State.gov account. State Department personnel would communicate with her at ClintonEmail.com when there were problems with the State.gov system. When asked if Clinton ever objected to her using ClintonEmail.com to conduct State Department business, Abedin answered, “No, not that I remember. No.”
Creating the image of a bias, however, is not novel in Washington. In the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case creating same-sex “marriage,” justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Ginsburg both expressed public advocacy for the status while the case was pending by performing those ceremonies.
They were asked to recuse from the case because of their public endorsement of one side, and they both refused to even acknowledge the request, made by a legal foundation.
On the Lynch-Bill Clinton meeting, a White House spokesman claimed both Lynch and Obama are committed to having a fair investigation.
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