Politics

Lynch Shoots Down Podesta Attack on FBI

'The investigation isn't even over,' says attorney general

Loretta Lynch on Sunday morning dismissed the harsh attack by former Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta on the Justice Department and the FBI’s handling of the investigation into the Democratic National Committee hack. The dismissal came during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Host Jake Tapper brought Lynch’s attention to an op-ed that Podesta published in The Washington Post on Thursday, entitled, “Something Is Deeply Broken at the FBI.” In the article, Podesta outlined his anger and frustration against the hacks, saying, “The more we learn about the Russian plot to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elect Donald Trump, and the failure of the FBI to adequately respond, the more shocking it gets.”

“I can’t comment on Mr. Podesta’s sources or where he gets his information or why he has that view, but what I can say is that he’s not involved in the ongoing investigation.”

But Lynch was having none of that.

“What I can tell you is that this investigation was taken seriously from the beginning,” Lynch told Tapper. “This is an incredibly serious issue. I can’t comment on Mr. Podesta’s sources or where he gets his information or why he has that view, but what I can say is that he’s not involved in the ongoing investigation. So he wouldn’t be privy to everything that would have been done or said to that.”

In the article, Podesta said that “as the former chair of the Clinton campaign and a direct target of Russian hacking,” he was infuriated that “no one at the FBI could be bothered to drive 10 minutes to raise the alarm at DNC headquarters” when the agency discovered the DNC hack in September 2015.” Podesta’s ire was kindled, he wrote, because the Justice Department was busy pouring its efforts into its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state — a scandal that plagued her entire presidential campaign.

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“Comparing the FBI’s massive response to the overblown email scandal with the seemingly lackadaisical response to the very real Russian plot to subvert a national election shows that something is deeply broken at the FBI,” he concluded.

Lynch, however, noted that Podesta was not “privy to” all the facts and details of the FBI’s investigations, though he was certainly “entitled to his opinion.”

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“But what he’s not entitled to is facts, and that’s what I’m wondering about, is if his facts are accurate,” Tapper said. “[Podesta] is suggesting without question that Hillary Clinton’s email server got more attention from the Justice Department and the FBI than this hack investigation by Russia, which, I think it’s fair to say, seems fairly serious.”

Lynch responded by saying, “Well, that’s an ongoing investigation, so I would say it’s been taken very seriously.”

“First of all, the investigation isn’t even over. So I think it’s impossible to characterize it in any one way or the other,” she added. “Again, I don’t know where Mr. Podesta is obtaining information.”

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