A conservative watchdog group is suing the US Justice Department over records related to the private meeting of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton as Hillary Clinton was under investigation during the 2016 campaign.
On Wednesday, Judicial Watch announced they had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) for records and transcripts connected to the meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton on June 29, 2016.
Judicial Watch filed their lawsuit after the DOJ failed to respond to their FOIA request
The lawsuit alleges that the agency received the request on July 5 and assigned FOIA request numbers in December. However, they say the agency failed to produce any records or notified them if they would accept or deny the request within the allotted time required.
The watchdog group’s original request asked the DOJ’s inspector general to investigate the meeting and requested any transcripts or records. They also requested any records of communication sent to or from the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General regarding the encounter and any references from day planners, calendars, and schedules from the Office of the Attorney General.
Judicial Watch says they made the inquiry because the secretive talk between Lynch and Clinton created “the appearance of a violation of law, ethical standards and good judgment.”
On June 28, Lynch met with Clinton aboard her private jet while it was parked at the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. The 30-minute meeting occurred during the then investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as the US’s top diplomat.
At the time, Lynch’s office was in charge of overseeing the investigation. The private meeting occurred only days before she was interview by the FBI, and hours before the public release of the Benghazi report.
Lynch claims that her meeting with Clinton did not involve these issues, but focused on their grandchildren and golf.
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“Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix,” Lynch told the Phoenix Police Department according to KNXV.
Lynch later said that she regretted the meeting, saying it “cast a cloud” over the investigation.
“I do regret sitting down and having a conversation with him, because it did give people concern. And as I said, my greatest concern has always been making sure that people understand that the Department of Justice works in a way that is independent and looks at everybody equally,” Lynch told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union.
The meeting caused many to call for Lynch to step aside, and while she said she would defer to the recommendations of her staff and the FBI, she never officially recused herself from the case.
In a recent announcement, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton called the meeting “a vivid example of why many Americans believe the Obama administration’s criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton was rigged,” according to a recent press release.
“Now it will be up to Attorney General Sessions at the Trump Justice Department to finally shed some light on this subversion of justice,” Fitton said.
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