House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the private meeting former President Bill Clinton had with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Phoenix doesn’t matter when comparing that rendezvous with the latest revelations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had two undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The Lynch/Clinton meeting last summer, which last around 30 minutes occurred just days prior to the FBI and the Department of Justice announcing that no charges would be brought against Hillary Clinton over allegations that she mishandled classified information. Clinton had established an unsecure and unauthorized private emails server while she was secretary of state and conducted official business through that network. The meeting provided the Clinton campaign with yet another instance of horrible optics and for some, placed a cloud of skepticism about the investigation.
Yet, remember when Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the meeting between Lynch and Bill didn’t matter because for lack of a better term–Lynch is a nice person. And that was in relation to something that was ethically questionable. For Sessions, such meetings with foreign diplomats were part of the job as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee:
“She’s an honorable person, we know that,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “She has said nothing was discussed related to the investigation. So you have two choices — to say this didn’t matter or she’s lying. I think it didn’t matter. I don’t think she’s lying.”
Lynch had contended that she and Bill Clinton merely discussed grandchildren, golf and social matters.
Guy just wrote an analysis of the Sessions development, where he says that resignation is probably not going to happen, but also noted that the optics are bad for the Trump White House. It couldn’t come at a worse time since they were scoring big points with the president’s joint address to Congress this week.
During the confirmation process, Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Pat Leahy (D-VT) asked what Sessions would do if campaign surrogates had contact with Russians during the 2016 election and if he had contact with the Russians before or after Election Day respectively. Sessions answered no to Leahy’s inquiry. Concerning Franken, Sessions said that he’s been called a surrogate, but he did not have contact with the Russians concerning discussions about the election. Again, he certainly had meetings with foreign diplomats while serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee. These interactions aren’t unusual. What is unusual is an AG–Lynch–meeting with the spouse of a presidential candidate, who is also under federal investigation, and then not fully recusing herself.