A watchdog group is taking the Department of Justice to court for details about the clandestine June 2016 airport meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton.
Judicial Watch had filed a Freedom of Information Act request last June seeking documents related to the visit, which took place on June 28, 2016, aboard Lynch’s private plane at the Phoenix airport.
The meeting took place only days before the FBI interviewed Hillary Clinton as part of the investigation into her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
After news of the meeting leaked to the public, Lynch was forced to publicly announce that she was distancing herself from the Clinton investigation, although she never formally recused herself. Lynch and Bill Clinton each maintained they never discussed the Clinton investigation during their conversation.
The Justice Department did not respond to the FOIA request within the allotted period, Judicial Watch said, prompting the group to sue.
“The infamous tarmac meeting between President Clinton and AG Lynch is a vivid example of why many Americans believe the Obama administration’s criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton was rigged,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.
“Now it will be up to Attorney General Sessions at the Trump Justice Department to finally shed some light on this subversion of justice,” he added.
The FOIA request filed by Judicial Watch seeks all records and transcripts of the meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton; any communications to or from officials in the Office of the Attorney General and Office of Deputy Attorney General about the meeting; and any references to the meeting in any schedule-related documents maintained by the Office of the Attorney General.
Judicial Watch last year also requested that the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General investigate the meeting.
“Attorney General Lynch’s meeting with President Clinton creates the appearance of a violation of law, ethical standards and good judgment,” Judicial Watch said in its request.
“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,” the letter added.
“This incident undermines the public’s faith in the fair administration of justice. Simply stated, Attorney General Lynch’s … meeting with former President Clinton creates the broad public impression that ‘the fix is in,'” the watchdog group said.