Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey says Loretta Lynch’s request that James Comey refer to the Clinton email investigation as “a matter” made the Department of Justice “an arm of the Clinton campaign. From the Daily Caller:
“What makes it egregious is the fact — and I think it’s obvious that it is a fact — that the attorney general of the United States was adjusting the way the department talked about its business so as to coincide with the way the Clinton campaign talked about that business,” Michael Mukasey said in an interview with Newsmax on Friday.
“In other words, it made the Department of Justice essentially an arm of the Clinton campaign,” added Mukasey, who served as the attorney general from 2007 until 2009. “That is a betrayal of the department and of its independence to illustrate that clearly that the attorney general was essentially in the tank for Secretary Clinton.”
During his congressional testimony Tuesday, former Director Comey described an interaction with Lynch in which she told him not to refer to the ongoing investigation as an investigation but only as “a matter” From the NY Times transcript of Comey’s testimony (video here):
The — the Clinton campaign, at the time, was using all kind of euphemisms — security review, matters, things like that, for what was going on. We were getting to a place where the attorney general and I were both going to have to testify and talk publicly about. And I wanted to know, was she going to authorize us to confirm we had an investigation?
And she said, yes, but don’t call it that, call it a matter. And I said, why would I do that? And she said, just call it a matter.
And, again, you look back in hindsight, you think should I have resisted harder? I just said, all right, it isn’t worth — this isn’t a hill worth dying on and so I just said, OK, the press is going to completely ignore it. And that’s what happened.
When I said, we have opened a matter, they all reported the FBI has an investigation open. And so that concerned me because that language tracked the way the campaign was talking about FBI’s work and that’s concerning.
This unusual direction from Lynch was one of several factors which pushed Comey to decide he would need to operate independently when announcing the results of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s private server. Another was the infamous tarmac meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton.
That tarmac meeting last year was vastly more consequential than people wanted to admit. So was effort to say an investigation wasn't one.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 8, 2017
Mukasey was asked if former AG Lynch could face any problems for her order to then-Director Comey. He said he didn’t think so but that it would do harm to her reputation.