United States Attorneys/Flickr
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch defended herself and blamed former FBI Director James Comey for not speaking up about concerns he may have had with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email investigation.
During Comey's highly anticipated “20/20” interview, he told host George Stephanopoulos that he approached Lynch and that she agreed they should confirm the investigation.
“She said, 'I agree. But call it a matter.' And I said, 'Why would I do that?' And she said, 'Just call it a matter,'” he added.
He told Stephanopoulos that since the investigation began, the Clinton campaign had been using words other than “investigation” to describe it.
The former FBI director was worried that Lynch was “tracking that effort” and said it gave him a “bad feeling.”
“But her answer, 'Just do it,' told me this is an order from the attorney general,” Comey added.
Comey reportedly didn't know why the distinction was necessary but used the word “matter” at his press event anyway.
Watch the video below:
In response, Lynch said in a statement, similarly to Comey, that the two of them have known each other for 30 years.
She explained that throughout his role as FBI director, the two spoke “regularly” about sensitive issues.
“If he had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings,” she explained.
Lynch added, “He never did.”
Statement from former AG Loretta Lynch on Comey pic.twitter.com/w9lRIT0dwS
— Laura Jarrett (@LauraAJarrett) April 15, 2018
The former attorney general never specifically mentioned using the word “matter,” but in her statement, she explained that she followed a “long-standing policy” to neither confirm nor deny the fact of an ongoing investigation.
She noted the policy neither “misleads nor misinforms” but protects the investigation and those being investigated.
“Any suggestion that I invoked this bedrock policy for any other reason is simply false,” Lynch stated.
Comey admitted during the “20/20” interview that in hindsight, he realized he “probably” should have pushed back at that moment.