Lynch to Remove Herself After Ethics Complaint Over Scandalous Clinton Meeting

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch takes questions from the media, after attending a Los Angeles Police Department technology briefing as part of her national community policing tour in Los Angeles Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Lynch was in Los Angeles for the last stop in a six-city community policing tour highlighting departments she sees as role models for law enforcement. Lynch says one of the issues law enforcement is struggling with is transparency, saying it's important departments are as open as possible without compromising investigations. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch takes questions from the media, after attending a Los Angeles Police Department technology briefing as part of her national community policing tour in Los Angeles Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Lynch was in Los Angeles for the last stop in a six-city community policing tour highlighting departments she sees as role models for law enforcement. Lynch says one of the issues law enforcement is struggling with is transparency, saying it's important departments are as open as possible without compromising investigations. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Shortly after we reported that Attorney General Lynch’s surreptitious meeting with former president Bill Clinton violated Department of Justice Ethics Regulations, an ethics complaint was filed requesting the DOJ’s Inspector General investigate the nefarious airport tarmac meeting. The government watchdog group Judicial Watch asked the Inspector General to investigate the propriety of a meeting between Lynch and impeached former president using similar facts and the same regulations highlighted in our report:

President Clinton is the spouse of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former Secretary of State, who is purportedly the subject of a national security crime investigation pertaining to the mishandling of national defense information processed by Mrs. Clinton’s personal server during her tenure as secretary.

Additionally, there are press reports that a federal public corruption investigation is on-going concerning conflicts of interest and abuse of official government office involving the financial “commitments” to the Clinton Foundation, speaking fees for President Clinton and former Secretary Clinton’s official acts. President Clinton may be a target of that investigation.

Attorney General Lynch’s meeting with President Clinton creates the appearance of a violation of law, ethical standards and good judgment. Attorney General Lynch’s decision to breach the well-defined ethical standards of the Department of Justice and the American legal profession is an outrageous abuse of the public’s trust. Her conduct and statements undermine confidence in her ability to objectively investigate and prosecute possible violations of law associated with President Clinton and Secretary Clinton. This incident undermines the public’s faith in the fair administration of justice. Simply stated, Attorney General Lynch’s June 29, 2016 meeting with former President Clinton creates the broad public impression that “the fix is in.”

Trying to contain the exploding scandal over the inappropriate meeting with Clinton, Lynch will announce on Friday that she will accept whatever recommendation career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director make about whether to bring charges related to Hillary’s ongoing email scandal. Lynch will also try to spin it all away during a news conference in Aspen, Colo., on Friday. The Justice Department declined to comment. The official who confirmed the discussion did so on the condition of anonymity because the internal decision-making process is normally kept confidential.

Removing herself from the decision on charging the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee is a small step in the right direction. Lynch needs to do more. She should follow the example of former Attorney General Ashcroft, who recused himself and appointed a special prosecutor to investigate who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA officer, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak in 2003. Unlike Lynch, Ashcroft stepped aside to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest before any appearance of impropriety occurred.

The F.B.I. is investigating whether Hillary, her aides or anyone else violated the law by setting up a private email server for her to use as secretary of state. Investigators have concluded that the server was used to send classified information. Lynch’s scandalous meeting with Clinton further diminishes the already low public confidence in her agency’s criminal investigation of Hillary and makes Lynch look like as much of a political hack as her predecessor, Eric Holder.