Pressure mounting on Lynch for special counsel on Hillary e-mails?

posted at 10:01 am on February 8, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Will she or won’t she? That’s the question Loretta Lynch faces on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized homebrew e-mail server, on two levels. If the FBI brings her a recommendation for indictments, will she pursue the case? Or, will Lynch opt for a special counsel if that decision comes with too much political freight?

The Hill recaps the status quo, but also offers some interesting background for both scenarios. On one hand, Lynch and Hillary don’t have any personal ties, even though she owes her appointment as US Attorney to Hillary’s husband:

Lynch and Clinton never had much of a personal relationship, former colleagues told The Hill this week.

“I’m not aware of any relationship with Hillary Clinton,” said Steven Edwards, who worked alongside Lynch for nearly a decade at the law firm Hogan Lovells (the firm was previously called Hogan & Hartson when Lynch joined it in 2001).

Lynch was appointed to be the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in 1999 by President Bill Clinton, Hillary’s husband.

However, she was personally recommended for the position by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and one government official said Clinton himself had a relatively minor role in the selection process.

Minor? Then-President Bill Clinton actually made the appointment. Perhaps Bill just acted as a rubber stamp for Schumer, but if so, that brings up another issue. Schumer and Hillary have a close personal and political relationship. In fact, Schumer was one of the first Democrats on the national stage to endorse Hillary’s presidential bid, stepping forward in November 2013 when Hillary needed to keep the field clear. That’s not to say that Lynch takes orders from Schumer, but if there is political pressure that could have an impact, then the circumstances of her appointment still could have something to do with it.

The other political pressure point might be Lynch’s current position. Julian Hattem points out that Lynch will only get about 18 months or so as Attorney General, thanks to a fight between Barack Obama and Senate Republicans after Eric Holder’s announced departure. A Hillary Clinton presidency offers an opportunity to extend her time at the top of the Department of Justice — an opportunity that would almost certainly not exist in a Republican administration:

Lynch was confirmed by the Senate last year, after a five-month delay largely unrelated to her own qualifications. That left the nation’s top lawyer with just a year and a half in office, during Obama’s lame duck period in which policy efforts are likely to stall.

If Clinton becomes the next president, however, Lynch may be asked to stay on, at least for a short time. As such, she may have a little bit of skin in the game.

“That Hillary Clinton could be the Democrat nominee and potential next president represents an extraordinary circumstance that commends the appointment of a special counsel,” said Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), the head of the House Oversight subcommittee on National Security, in a statement to The Hill. “For a Democrat-appointed attorney general such as Lynch, this is obviously something that distinguishes the Clinton investigation from other cases.”

The biggest political wildcard gets no mention, however, in Hattem’s review. FBI Director James Comey has perhaps the biggest card to play in this game. He has a sterling reputation for non-partisanship, having bucked the Bush and Obama administrations publicly in the past, and most observers have high confidence in the FBI’s ability to investigate this scandal. If the FBI finds reason to indict Hillary and her aides and the Department of Justice refuses to act on it, any public statement by Comey — especially a resignation in protest — will put both Lynch and Obama squarely in the crosshairs of the scandal. At that point, both might very well begin to see the virtues of appointing a special counsel to take the case entirely off their hands.


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Comments

Will she or won’t she?

Really, Ed? You think it’s Loretta Lynch’s call?

The decision will be made by Obama (or Valarie), and Lynch will carry out the instructions.

Lolo on February 8, 2016 at 10:05 AM

Really, Ed? You think it’s Loretta Lynch’s call?

The decision will be made by Obama (or Valarie), and Lynch will carry out the instructions.

Lolo on February 8, 2016 at 10:05 AM

Of course…you are correct.

And if done, will be a “last resort”, so don’t look for it soon.

Or at least until they convince Biden to get in…

right2bright on February 8, 2016 at 10:10 AM

Will she or won’t she?

The decision will be made by Obama (or Valarie), and Lynch will carry out the instructions.

Lolo on February 8, 2016 at 10:05 AM

Yep, and no what Val Jar the Iranian decides, the outcome will be the same.

antipc on February 8, 2016 at 10:12 AM

Minor? Then-President Bill Clinton actually made the appointment. Perhaps Bill just acted as a rubber stamp for Schumer, but if so, that brings up another issue.

There are 93 US Attorneys. I doubt a president is going to go through applications for each position (remember, Bill fired all of the old ones) so a recommendation by a sitting senator, from your own party, does get rubberstamped.

Now are there embarrassing emails between Hillary and Dear Liar? Possibly, which might get out. But suppose a Republican gets in and has a year to prosecute her. The emails would get out anyway. And a failure to prosecute would be worse.

Dear Liar risks a bad publicity prosecution or an even worse quashing a prosecution.

rbj on February 8, 2016 at 10:13 AM

Yep, and no matter what Val Jar the Iranian decides, the outcome will be the same.

antipc on February 8, 2016 at 10:12 AM

$#*%&@ @#$%&*

antipc on February 8, 2016 at 10:14 AM

A special prosecutor means no more leaks. It will allow Hillary some breathing room, free of new daily pain. And, the special prosecutor will be very carefully selected.

butch on February 8, 2016 at 10:14 AM

About dang time

But I fear politics will rule the day

I can’t believe comey won’t find any reason not to indict

Ed has reported on 1 law on the books since the beginning, we all can see it, can’t he?

cmsinaz on February 8, 2016 at 10:14 AM

Oh good, another special counsel they can demonize. Maybe they can cart out Ken Starr and make it all about him again.

rhombus on February 8, 2016 at 10:15 AM

A Hillary Clinton presidency offers an opportunity to extend her time at the top of the Department of Justice

That’s a big throbbing conflict of interest. Before this country became a banana republic, there’d be no question that she’d have to step aside for independent prosecutor or in some other way recuse herself from the whole affair.

forest on February 8, 2016 at 10:17 AM

Why is it even a question at this point? Anyone else would have been thru the court system by now. What could Lynches reason possibly be to no move forward aggressively?

Mimzey on February 8, 2016 at 10:20 AM

…drip…drip…drip…

JugEarsButtHurt on February 8, 2016 at 10:22 AM

Sad day for this nation that we’re talking about whether Lynch’s and Killary’s personal relationship or lack thereof will be a decider on whether or not Lynch will investigate admitted crimes.

Petraeus was hammered for less, Snowden is on the run, Killary is running for the highest office this country has.

Bishop on February 8, 2016 at 10:24 AM

To ask “Will she or won’t she?” assumes you think there is a smidgen of integrity in the justice dept or any federal dept as far as that goes.

Jackson on February 8, 2016 at 10:25 AM

Clinton will not get prosecuted. Everyone knows it in their hearts.

Mord on February 8, 2016 at 10:28 AM

We need to dispel this fiction that HotAir doesn’t know what they’re doing. They know exactly what they’re doing.

Paperclips on February 8, 2016 at 10:28 AM

Pressure mounting on Lynch for special counsel on Hillary e-mails?

Republicans use the pressure cooker approach to these things. No matter how high the pressure gets, there is a release valve.

HonestLib on February 8, 2016 at 10:28 AM

Lynch is out of the office and unavailable for comment until January 20, 2017. At that time she will accept reappointment as AG under President Clinton.

GarandFan on February 8, 2016 at 10:29 AM

It’s adorable that some people still think we live in a lawful republic.

Mr. Arrogant on February 8, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Lynch is out of the office and unavailable for comment until January 20, 2017. At that time she will accept reappointment as AG under President Clinton.

Cherokee on February 8, 2016 at 10:34 AM

It will slip into the memory hole, just like the IRS targeting of conservatives, Fast and Furious (remember the AK17 found in El Chappos compound that was a F&F gun?…yeah..that went in the memory hole quickly) Bengazi, hate crimes from the New Black Panthers and BLM movement, etc, etc.

Mimzey on February 8, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Didn’t the Special Counsel statute expire, unrenewed? If so, there is no way in law to appoint a Special Counsel, short of going to Congress and getting the law recreated, and that will never happen.

This post is sort of a mystery, or even just a little bit of fictional trolling…who is pushing for a Special Counsel? How can it be done? Educate me.

MTF on February 8, 2016 at 10:36 AM

Sorry, I messed up my strikes. Clinton will not be President and Lynch will not be around long as AG.

Cherokee on February 8, 2016 at 10:36 AM

Will she or won’t she?

Quit deluding yourself and selling BS to your readers Ed. Hillary Clinton is never going to be prosecuted.

oscarwilde on February 8, 2016 at 10:37 AM

The fix has been in since the beginning. IF a special counsel is appointed, it will be to investigate Comey./

vnvet on February 8, 2016 at 10:45 AM

The real question seems to be are we really now a 3rd world country where the law is totally irreverent, and it is the relationships that count? If it is then, there is something for a Presidential candidate to run on. Condemn the entire Democractic party that has brought us to this. Why is it always mentioned who appointed who? What should that have to do with anything? It all sucks.

odannyboy on February 8, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Special Council Eric Holder

meci on February 8, 2016 at 10:46 AM

Tialic, time to punch the clock./

CWforFreedom on February 8, 2016 at 10:48 AM

I’ve said from the beginning that, though it is morally and legally wrong, the homebrew server and e-mail issue is more of a political problem for Blue than it is a criminal problem.

Blue will not be indicted despite the fact it has been proven that she knowingly and willfully disclosed SAP information on an unclassified system. That she knowingly and willfully sought to avoid FOIA requests. That she knowingly and willfully destroyed thousands of emails to avoid scrutiny.

Happy Nomad on February 8, 2016 at 10:49 AM

Ly nch

Lie Inch

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2016 at 10:51 AM

Democrats Are Crime Thus They Can Not Commit Crime.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2016 at 10:53 AM

Lynch could become a rather big political player if she did take Shrillary down. A successful prosecution would give Lynch a solid anti-corruption reputation. She could run for Congress and be poised to run for President by 2024.

Flange on February 8, 2016 at 11:04 AM

Lynch will do (or not do) whatever President ValJar tells her to do.

ghostwalker1 on February 8, 2016 at 11:06 AM

Didn’t the Special Counsel statute expire, unrenewed?

MTF on February 8, 2016 at 10:36 AM

No, the Ethics in Government Act’s provision known as the Independent Counsel statute expired in 1999 or 2000.

Under the 28 CFR 600, the AG is empowered to appoint a special prosecutor under some circumstances; circumstances that would clearly apply here. While ultimately, that special prosecutor – like Patrick Fitzgerald a decade ago – would still report to Lynch, she would no longer have day-to-day oversight of the investigation and prosecution.

The only way to stop the special persecutor would be for Lynch to fire him/her, which of course would then be reminiscent of the Saturday Night Massacre and would be untenable, politically.

Atlantian on February 8, 2016 at 11:06 AM

If this goes to a special prosecutor, the investigation will drag on, and won’t likely be finished until well into the first term of the next President.

A special prosecutor would also be able to put a media blackout of sorts on any progress of the investigation. The SP might even be able to force the FBI to keep their traps shut while his investigation runs.

DaveK on February 8, 2016 at 11:06 AM

Hillary drapes picking out

Tlaloc

SpongePuppy on February 8, 2016 at 11:19 AM

You do of course, understand how a special counsel is selected and the fact it could just be a better fig leaf- right?

Marcus Traianus on February 8, 2016 at 11:33 AM

Where are the reps and senators who should be marching to microphones to call for the long overdue SP????

The Rs and Ds are both part of the ruling class. They have zero intention of prosecuting one of their own for anything, ever.

Headline claimed there is mounting pressure. But the story fails to mention who is bringing any pressure or from where it is coming. I am forced to conclude that there is no mounting pressure.

kpguru on February 8, 2016 at 11:40 AM

The real question seems to be are we really now a 3rd world country where the law is totally irreverent, and it is the relationships that count? If it is then, there is something for a Presidential candidate to run on. Condemn the entire Democractic party that has brought us to this. Why is it always mentioned who appointed who? What should that have to do with anything? It all sucks.

Sadly we are now a 3rd world-style banana republic– a nation of men, not laws. Our rights and freedoms under the Constitution have been steadily eroded and degraded over last century, and the destruction has reached fever pitch under Obama and the feckless GOPe. I don’t see how anything short of a total government collapse will bring change at this point. I hope I’m wrong, but if not we’ll all get our chance to water a certain tree.

cornbred on February 8, 2016 at 11:41 AM

There is another gun to Lynch’s head that no one talks about. Impeachment. Should she decline to follow a recommendation to indict, for what would be clearly political reasons the Congress could and should move to impeach her. Impeachment is a political move as well. But in the current environment there is no downside to the GOP. This isn’t like impeaching the President. It certainly is not the Clinton sex fiasco. It would be over the AG shielding a high official regarding clear High Crimes. And it doesn’t matter if they succeed in removing Lynch. She would be irreparably damaged, and everything would be out in the open. And while the Administration can slow walk investigation and prosecution Impeachment is fast. If they submitted articles today hearings would start by Friday. And it all comes out on the public record. Further if so impeached Lynch could then be tried as an accessory to Hillary’s Espionage. Remember the whole “coverup is part of the crime”.

patches on February 8, 2016 at 11:47 AM

There are few certainties’ in life but I’ll propose two:
First is King Putt’s college transcripts will NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY.
Second, the transcripts of Hilliar’s speeches to Wall Street moguls will also NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY.

I’ll pose a third, … Obowmao has a very profitable list of potential presidential pardons and if they are ever called upon, that Presidential Library in Cheegago will be nothing short of the Taj Mahal.
And the entire collection of King Putt’s written contributions will fit in a size 4 shoe box.

Missilengr on February 8, 2016 at 11:51 AM

Pressure mounting on Lynch for special counsel on Hillary e-mails?

Yes. From non-existent to merely undetectable.

Nomennovum on February 8, 2016 at 12:00 PM

DaveK on February 8, 2016 at 11:06 AM

Nailed it!

sauropod on February 8, 2016 at 12:03 PM

OT: The BET channel is OK, but if I started the “Redneck Channel” using the Confederate Battle Flag as my logo, I’d be blasted into space. RACIST!!!!!11!!!

Who is John Galt on February 8, 2016 at 12:09 PM

The question isn’t whether serious felonies were committed, we already know she did that. The question is the scope of the felonies and how many people were involved. This could be a RICO type case with a large number of people at the State Dept and CGI as conspirators or it could be just Hillary and her immediate aides.

The other factor is who knew about Hillary’s illegal activities at the White House? State Dept? DOJ? Did they do their duty in alerting the the responsible people of her misconduct?

One final consideration that keeps being overlooked. Its beyond doubt that Chinese, Russian, North Koreans, and any other country with competent hackers employed by their intelligence agencies got read access to her home server. How deep throughout the federal .gov domain did they penetrate to use her home serve to plant evesdropping computer code to compromise servers, tablets, smart phones, desktops and laptops using the .gov domain from the CIA to NSA to DOD, White House and State? The real fear is that the govt has lost security of its own computers because of Hillary’s criminal if not treasonous conduct.

All of these considerations will play into what to do next.

richardb on February 8, 2016 at 12:16 PM

Atlantian on February 8, 2016 at 11:06 AM

Thanks for the post.

MTF on February 8, 2016 at 12:16 PM

If Bernie’s success keeps up then maybe there will be a prosecution. There is no way they could let him win so if it starts to look possible then maybe they’ll need to get someone in there who can usher SanderClaus off the stage.

MJBrutus on February 8, 2016 at 12:18 PM

Obama, Hillary, and Loretta are all going to go down swinging for the cause. There will be no Special Prosecutor, no indictment, and no justice. That is how these people roll.

supersport667 on February 8, 2016 at 12:26 PM

If Hillary doesn’t get the nomination, the special prosecutor will be appointed the day after the convention ends.

DarthBrooks on February 8, 2016 at 12:28 PM

Pressure mounting on Lynch for special counsel on Hillary e-mails?

No. Not really, unless/until the President himself tells AG Lynch to do so, which we know Obama will never do because the end result irreparably tarnishes him as well as Hillary, (not that Obama needs any help in the Irreparable Tarnishing Department).

Sacramento on February 8, 2016 at 12:36 PM

There is another gun to Lynch’s head that no one talks about. Impeachment.

It’s not impossible. Still, I think the only way it happens is if Comey would act out in a very public way in response to Lynch refusing to pursue the case. Perhaps that’s in his resignation, or maybe it’s just testimony he offers in front of the Senate Judiciary committee. Either way, he has to make a strong case that Lynch is acting politically rather than ethically.

It’s doubtful that you’d get the requisite number to convict considering the current balance of power in the Senate. But, I think you might be right that it ultimately wouldn’t matter. The damage would be enough to permanently undermine both her and Clinton.

Atlantian on February 8, 2016 at 12:56 PM

A Special Prosecutor means nothing to most average people other than there is an investigation, and the person may be innocent after the investigation. An Indictment on the other hand means to most people that the evidence and investigation are basically complete and the person is all but judged Guilty. Hillary doesn’t need another reason or opportunity to pardon herself on January 21, 2017.

leader4hru on February 8, 2016 at 1:09 PM

FBI Director Comey needs to convey to Lynch an indictment. If Lynch does not indict then Comey, and others in the department, need to resign enmass, with the word of the Leaders of Congress guaranteeing their reinstatement, and back pay, on January 21, 2017.

leader4hru on February 8, 2016 at 1:19 PM

It’s adorable that some people still think we live in a lawful republic.

Mr. Arrogant on February 8, 2016 at 10:30 AM

bingo….as I have oft repeated (Rubio style) King Putt will not allow The Pantsuit to be indicted. Not gonna happen.

HatfieldMcCoy on February 8, 2016 at 1:42 PM

The most important point that hasn’t been made is that the “will she or won’t she” argument should not even be an issue. The DOJ should be non political. It would be an interesting experiment to change the rules so that the losing presidential candidate gets to choose the attorney general.
Of course that would have it’s own set of problems.

hopeful on February 8, 2016 at 2:17 PM

One final consideration that keeps being overlooked. Its beyond doubt that Chinese, Russian, North Koreans, and any other country with competent hackers employed by their intelligence agencies got read access to her home server. How deep throughout the federal .gov domain did they penetrate to use her home serve to plant evesdropping computer code to compromise servers, tablets, smart phones, desktops and laptops using the .gov domain from the CIA to NSA to DOD, White House and State? The real fear is that the govt has lost security of its own computers because of Hillary’s criminal if not treasonous conduct.

All of these considerations will play into what to do next.

richardb on February 8, 2016 at 12:16 PM

While our adversaries certainly have been reading HRC’s emails, real-time, it is highly unlikely that “evesdropping computer code” could “leap” from HRC’s illegal, unsecure, private email service to the State Department email system. There have already been hacks of the State Department email system, but it is not believed to be because of HRC, but individuals deliberately or mistakenly allowing hackers to access their network.

As for CIA, NSA, and DoD classified systems, they operate on networks completely separate from the Internet (either SIPRNET, JWICS, or other networks). There is no physical connection between these networks and the .gov networks or the Internet. So they are probably safe. Also, they all have constant monitoring for hacks. There is an estimated 80,000 cyber attacks on DoD networks each and every day. Every DoD entity has technicians working 24/7 to prevent any of these attacks to penetrate the networks.

Having said that, the fact that our adversaries have been reading our playbook: what we were thinking, regardless of what we were doing; what are next moves were going to be; the hidden agenda of our negotiations, etc., undermined our entire foreign policy. It will take decades to recover from this security breach.

GAlpha10 on February 8, 2016 at 2:26 PM

As long as Obama owns the FBI and the Justice Department, Hillary’s home free.

rplat on February 8, 2016 at 3:56 PM

Assuming a criminal referral by Comey to Lynch, what’s to prevent her from doing a “McCulloch”–presenting all the evidence to a grand jury without a true bill recommendation? Plenty of room with that gambit to blur the case to the point that a “no bill” is handed up. New resulting story: exoneration.

Barnestormer on February 8, 2016 at 4:49 PM

If they appoint a special counsel, unlike Republicans, they’ll find a Hillary donor and go on from there. There will be no Fitzgerald appointment from a Democrat, so the results will be the same. However, I do believe, if there is a special counsel appointed, Hillary’s chances of being the nominee are diminished.

bflat879 on February 8, 2016 at 6:46 PM

One of the big questions here is how in the world did SAP communications get transferred into Hillary’s server ? The SAP system has nothing to do with normal everyday e-mail systems used by the public. If the military found one of their own personnel installing SAP information into an unsecured civilian computer they would immediately court-martial him and send him to the Leavenworth military prison. I have no idea how long his prison sentence would be ? Twenty years ? Another question is how did Hillary get access to SAP programs ? Which person who is part of an SAP program managed to “leak” this information to her and her aides ?

Bugdust172 on February 10, 2016 at 7:20 AM