The FBI is reopening its search for documents related to the secret tarmac meeting between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch in June last year.
Lynch met with Bill Clinton at the same time the department she headed was conducting a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton.
Some of the emails pertaining to the meeting became public on Aug. 4, when the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) released a batch it obtained from the Department of Justice (DOJ) through a lawsuit.
Those emails showed that Lynch used a secret email for communications. They also showed that the DOJ worked with media outlets to downplay the story, that the White House was involved, and that some of the same officials who were involved in the coverup are now charged with investigating the meeting.
The FBI has previously denied having any documents related to the matter in response to a Freedom of Information document request filed by ACLJ.
But the emails received from the DOJ on Aug. 4 exposed that FBI officials were directly involved in the tarmac meeting coverup, and that the FBI lied about not having any documents.
On Tuesday, just a week after ACLJ publicly accused the FBI of lying, ACLJ received a letter from the FBI, which stated that the bureau now believes that “records potentially responsive to your request may exist.”
“While we appreciate that the FBI has reopened the case file and is now searching for documents responsive to our duly submitted FOIA request from more than a year ago, it stretches the bounds of credulity to suggest that the FBI bureaucracy just discovered that ‘potentially responsive’ records ‘may exist’ on its own accord,” Jordan Sekulow, the president of ACLJ, wrote in a statement.
Among the most significant findings in the Aug. 4 documents is a three-page email of talking points that was completely redacted. ACLJ is working to receive the contents of that email through legal means.
One of the lawyers mentioned in the redacted email was counsel for Lynch at the time of the tarmac meeting. That same lawyer is now the deputy council to the minority ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the tarmac meeting, which presents a clear conflict of interest, Sekulow said on Fox News.
Compounding the issues revealed in the emails so far is former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony that Lynch attempted to influence the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton. Lynch told Comey to call the investigation “a matter.”
The tarmac meeting was the deciding factor for Comey to act of his own will and update the public about the Clinton investigation during the 2016 presidential race.
Former AG Lynch Used Alias for Emails About Controversial Clinton Meeting
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch used an alias for official emails as attorney general, including emails about her controversial meeting with former President Bill Clinton aboard her Justice Department jet as it was parked on the tarmac in Phoenix.
Watchdog groups Judicial Watch and American Center for Law and Justice obtained 413 pages of Justice Department documents through a request made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Among the documents were emails that revealed Lynch used the alias “Elizabeth Carlisle.”
Lynch is not the first senior federal official to use an email alias, a practice that was seen elsewhere in the Obama administration due to spam and security concerns, said officials defending the practice.
Vice News obtained documents from the Department of Justice in February 2016 that revealed Lynch’s predecessor, Eric Holder, used the alias “Lew Alcindor.” That is the former name of retired NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Vice obtained the documents through an FOIA suit. The revelation that Holder used an alias for official business raised concerns about email practices in the Obama administration, and whether it would be possible to obtain all such communications subject to the FOIA.
Among the topics Lynch used her alias email for were messages to help craft responses to media requests about her unusual meeting with Bill Clinton. The meeting took place as Lynch’s department wrestled with what to do about the ongoing investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email scandal.
Lynch later claimed that she and the former president did not discuss his wife’s potential prosecution or anything related to the FBI’s investigation. Lynch did seem to take a personal interest in the investigation, however, going out of her way to tell former head of the FBI, James Comey, to refer to the Clinton email scandal as a “matter” rather than an “investigation.” Comey revealed the conversation during his testimony before Congress on June 8.
He said the request left him feeling “queasy.”
Another Obama-era appointment to use an email alias was former IRS official Lois Lerner. Lerner was appointed Director of Exempt Organizations in 2006 and led 900 employees in an effort to target conservative groups in a fashion that made it impossible for them to take part in the 2012 election. The Department of Justice—under Holder at the time—investigated the practice but decided not to prosecute. Lerner resigned over the controversy.
In Lynch’s case, her attorney, Robert Raben, told The Daily Caller that Justice Department staffers who process FOIA requests are aware of the alias and that the agency had acknowledged its use as far back as February 2016.
Lynch has denied any serious wrongdoing in the 30-minute meeting with former President Clinton, and says they discussed grandchildren and other matters. Clinton boarded her plane uninvited, reportedly, and Lynch said she regrets having allowed the meeting.