The Senate Judiciary Committee has opened a probe into former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s efforts to shape the FBI’s investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential
nominee Hillary Clinton, the committee’s chairman announced Friday.
In a letter to Ms. Lynch, the committee asks her to detail the depths of her involvement in the FBI’s investigation, including whether she ever assured Clinton confidantes that the probe wouldn’t “push too deeply into the matter.”
Fired FBI Director James B. Comey has said publicly that Ms. Lynch tried to shape the way he talked about the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails, and he also hinted at other behavior “which I cannot talk about yet” that made him worried about Ms. Lynch’s ability to make impartial decisions.
Mr. Comey said that was one reason why he took it upon himself to buck Justice Department tradition and reveal his findings about Mrs. Clinton last year.
The probe into Ms. Lynch comes as the Judiciary Committee is already looking at President Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the committee, said the investigation is bipartisan. The letter to Ms. Lynch is signed by ranking Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and also by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse, the chairman and ranking member of the key investigative subcommittee.
Letters also went to Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria and Leonard Benardo and Gail Scovell at the Open Society Foundations. Mr. Benardo was reportedly on an email chain from the then-head of the Democratic National Committee suggesting Ms. Lynch had given assurances to Ms. Renteria, the campaign staffer, that the Clinton probe wouldn’t “go too far.”
At a Senate hearing earlier this month, Mr. Comey told lawmakers that Ms. Lynch had attempted to change the way the FBI described its probe of Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server. The change appeared to dovetail with how Mrs. Clinton’s supporters were characterizing the probe.
“At one point, [Ms. Lynch] directed me not to call it an ‘investigation’ but instead to call it a ‘matter,’ which confused me and concerned me,” Mr. Comey said during his June 8 testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the department if we are to close this case credibly.”
Acknowledging that he didn’t know whether it was intentional, Mr. Comey said Ms. Lynch’s request “gave the impression the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our investigation with the way a political campaign was describing the same activity.”
Mr. Comey said the language suggested by Ms. Lynch was troublesome because it closely mirrored what the Clinton campaign was using. Despite his discomfort, Mr. Comey said, he agreed to Ms. Lynch’s language.
Wittes wrote on Twitter that the upcoming story could be published later Friday or on Monday. The heads-up comes a day after Trump revealed that he was bluffing last month when he suggested that he had recorded his conversations with Comey.
The lawyer, who blogs at Lawfare, has posted similar messages in the past just before major stories in the ongoing Trump-Comey saga hit The New York Times.
Failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her powerful friends in government have worked overtime to keep media and Congress focused on investigations into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. But America is ready to move on.
That’s according to the latest data out from the monthly Harvard-Harris Poll, which illustrates that a clear majority of Americans are ready to move on from the “Russia interference” investigations.
Just 44 percent of respondents to the poll said they believe congressional focus on whether Russia interfered in the election is worthwhile. Fifty-six percent of respondents, meanwhile, said they believe it is time for Congress and the media to move on.
Sixty-four percent said they believe continued investigations into President Donald Trump and Russia are actually damaging the country.
More specifically, 73 percent of respondents to the Harvard-Harris poll said they feel continued congressional focus on the Trump/Russia issue is keeping Congress from taking care of important economic issues facing the nation.
Another big reason Americans are so down on the investigation is because it has yet to provide any evidence of actual wrongdoing. Sixty-two percent of respondents to the poll said they do not believe there’s evidence of “collusion”– the same number believe that impeachment is not likely.
Former Burlington College President Jane O’Meara Sanders. Photo courtesy of Burlington College
BURLINGTON — Jane Sanders has hired attorneys to represent her in a Justice Department probe of a land deal she orchestrated while president of the now-defunct Burlington College.
A former college employee who coordinated the school’s response to an FBI subpoena in February 2016 said she was contacted by two attorneys representing Jane Sanders shortly after VTDigger broke the news confirming the federal probe in late April.
Coralee Holm, the former dean of operations and advancement for Burlington College, said the attorneys wanted information about “what I had been asked by the FBI.”
“They were trying to get clarification on what the accusations are because they had not been contacted by anybody as to an investigation,” Holm said.
Two former Burlington College trustees said they were also contacted by attorneys representing Sanders, wife of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Holm said she got a call from the office of prominent Burlington attorney Rich Cassidy in late April or early May.
Jane Sanders did not immediately return a call requesting comment for this report and has refused VTDigger’s repeated requests for an interview about Burlington College since late 2015.
Cassidy also did not return a call Thursday requesting comment.
Holm said she was contacted in late May by Jennifer Windom, a partner in the Washington, D.C., firm Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber. Windom’s questions were similar to those from Cassidy’s office, asking Holm to outline her understanding of the allegations against Sanders.
Holm said that after asking for more information, she declined to answer questions from either attorney.
Windom could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. The bio on her firm’s website says she’s a trial attorney who specializes in “complex civil litigation and government investigations and enforcement actions.”
As president of Burlington College in 2010, Sanders secured a $6.7 million loan from People’s United Bank, which the college used to purchase a 33-acre lakefront campus for the school.
Federal investigators are probing aspects of that land deal, according to Holm and another former employee who said they had been contacted by the FBI. Federal officials have declined to comment on the investigation.
The loan agreement required the college to provide evidence of more than $2 million in pledged donations as collateral. However, three donors — including the largest, listed at $1 million — have told VTDigger their pledges were misrepresented in the loan documents.
Between 2010 and 2014 the college collected only $676,000 in donations, according to former college officials. The school was also never able to increase enrollment as Sanders had projected. It closed in May 2016, with officials citing debt from the land purchase as the primary reason.
Coralee Holm, dean of operations and advancement at Burlington College, emerges from the locked school to speak with alumni and reporters at the time it closed in 2016. File photo by Morgan True/VTDigger
Holm has said that when the FBI subpoenaed the school last year, an agent asked her for records relating to a list of donors in a spreadsheet the agent provided her, as well as communications from when Sanders was president. Holm said she gave the agent paper and digital records.
Emails obtained by VTDigger through a public records request show an FBI agent and the assistant U.S. attorney for Vermont who leads the criminal division were reviewing Burlington College records in the state’s possession as recently as February.
A woman listed as a $1 million pledged donor in the loan document that Sanders signed said she was interviewed by an investigator with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in April.
Yves Bradley, chair of the recently dissolved Burlington College board of trustees, said Thursday that he was contacted a month ago by Cassidy’s assistant, who made it clear Cassidy was representing Sanders.
Bradley said he didn’t find out specifically what Cassidy hoped to discuss, because he declined the meeting on the advice of an attorney representing the board.
Jonathan Leopold, who chaired the Burlington College board of trustees finance committee when the land deal was inked — and when Sanders was forced out 10 months later — said he too was contacted by a lawyer representing her.
“We talked about my recollection of Burlington College finances. That’s really all I want to comment about,” Leopold said. He refused to provide further detail about the discussion.
Leopold said the conversation took place about a month and a half ago, and he did not recall the attorney’s name. Leopold said he was not familiar with the attorney who called on Sanders’ behalf, but he said it was not Cassidy.
Leopold served in Bernie Sanders’ mayoral administration in Burlington in the 1980s and later the administration of former Mayor Bob Kiss.
(Disclosure: Rich Cassidy is defending VTDigger in Cegalis v. VTDigger, a defamation case in Washington County Superior Court.)
Graduation season is the best time for perpetually offended college students to
grind their axes and shut down any and all commencement speakers they may
find offensive. Usually, leftist grievance-mongers target right-wing speakers
(and by “right-wing” we mean anybody right of Joseph Stalin, not just self-
described conservatives). But the students at the University of California San
Diego (USCD) have taken social justice warriorship to new heights.
Students from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association were triggered
by their school’s decision to invite the Dalai Lama, the world-renowned Tibetan
spiritual leader and peace activist, to give a commencement address.
“When the planned commencement address was announced this winter, it drew
anger from many Chinese students, who comprise about 14 percent of the student body,” reportsReason Magazine. “Outraged Facebook comments criticized
the choice as too divisive, a characterization that flies in the face of the the Dalai
Lama's cuddly western image as an exiled martyr.”
In an op-ed for the school’s newspaper, a Chinese-American student slammed
the Dalai Lama’s “separatist” campaign to free the people of Tibet from Chinese
rule, providing a one-sided and biased account of the spiritual leader’s supposed
"His conflict with our government caused property loss, deaths of innocent people,
and panic among the general public — even though he claims that he advocates
for a nonviolent revolution,” said the offended student.
Ultimately, the public university’s administrators refused to acquiesce to the
snowflakes’ demands to rescind the Dalai Lama’s invitation; the spiritual leader’s
commencement address on Saturday went on as planned. Echoing his routine
calls for unity and understanding, the Dali Lama spoke in the abstract about
creating a “better” and “happier” world without “violence” and “division.”
The college Left’s demands are only becoming more extreme. Snowflake
students are unhinged and seem to believe that they’re entitled to “safe spaces”
where their feelings are protected behind the walls of forceful censorship. What
began as a violent campaign to shut down conservative speakers like Ben
Shapiro, Charles Murray, and Christina Hoff Summers, has metastasized into
something altogether uncontrollable, a disturbing collective hysteria that
separates people according to ethnic or religious tribe and incentivizes
unhinged behavior in the service of identity politics.