Nine months after Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, congressional Republicans and conservative legal watchdogs are continuing to probe the scandals that dogged the Democratic campaign. And in conservative media, the churn of possible investigations has created a news cycle that operates independently of the one seen in most of the press.
The latest round of pressure for new investigations gained steam last week, when Judicial Watch and then the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) released the latest fruit of a federal lawsuit against the Justice Department — email traffic inside the agency about the June 2016 decision by Bill Clinton to walk across the tarmac at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport and have a conversation with then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. The meeting, first reported by a local news station that also reported being told not to photograph Lynch or Clinton, caused an instant scandal, despite a hasty attempt by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to describe the meeting as nonpolitical.
On Nov. 2, six days before the presidential election, ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow announced that he would be suing for documents after the Justice Department and FBI claimed that a Freedom of Information Request turned up nothing. On Friday, Sekulow, who is now a member of the president’s legal team and a frequent advocate for him on television, reported that the lawsuit had turned up hundreds of pages of emails.
“It is clear that there were multiple records within the FBI responsive to our request and that discussions regarding the surreptitious meeting between then AG Lynch and the husband of the subject of an ongoing FBI criminal investigation reached the highest levels of the FBI,” Sekulow wrote. “There is clear evidence that the main stream media was colluding with the DOJ to bury the story.”
In a pattern similar to the long-running investigation of the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, the emails have turned up not the redacted talking points but evidence that public affairs officers in the Justice Department, FBI and White House were communicating on how to spin the story. (The ACLJ has also “unmasked” an email pseudonym Lynch sometimes used, though that’s not uncommon for high-profile public officials, and the emails were obviously discoverable as part of lawsuits.) On Monday night, Sekulow appeared on Fox’s “Hannity,” which frequently editorializes on the need for more Clinton investigations, to share the findings.
“Does this potentially expose its own version of collusion that they’re trying to cover up the fact they were in the fix, if you will, for Hillary Clinton and they didn’t want it exposed?” asked Sean Hannity. “And add to that that it’s not an investigation, it’s a matter? That seems to be building a case.”
Sekulow said: “Yes, but add to that also, Sean, that the basis upon which James Comey said he went public was because of these meetings that we’ve got the documents on now. That’s the reason he said he made that public statement, because he said the integrity of the agency, the FBI, was put at risk, and the Department of Justice, by Loretta Lynch’s action. But remember that she never recused herself from the actual outcome of the proceeding.”
SOURCE: David Weigel
The Washington Post