Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee seek to hear testimony from Loretta Lynch, who served as Attorney General during the Obama administration. After former FBI Director James Comey raised concerns over her request to him to refer to an investigation into Hillary Clinton as a "matter," which thus resembled the Clinton campaign line.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who sits on both the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, said last week that it “would be very helpful” for Lynch to testify before the Judiciary Committee. “Frankly, a lot of what Hillary Clinton was exposed to by Director Comey’s misconduct and the way he handled that was apparently in response to his lack of confidence in the attorney general, and I think there is a lot we could learn from that,” Cornyn said. Fellow Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is also seeking Lynch’s testimony. The Judiciary Committee oversees the Department of Justice.
For his part, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wants the Judiciary Committee to “get more involved.” Seeking testimony from Lynch, he said, “The accusations now that ... the current and former attorney general were political — that has nothing to do with Russia as much as it has to do with how the Department of Justice is being run,” he said. “I want to find out all about that.”
Last week, President Trump pointed out Lynch’s apparent political intervention in the Clinton probe. He tweeted, “A.G. Lynch made law enforcement decisions for political purposes...gave Hillary Clinton a free pass and protection. Totally illegal!”
Comey told the Judiciary Committee in May that he had been worried the Justice Department could not “credibly” decline to prosecute Clinton without "grievous damage to the American people's confidence in the justice system.” He told members of the Intelligence Committee that he confronted Lynch on whether she had agreed to shut down the FBI's investigation. Comey was also concerned that her controversial meeting with Bill Clinton during the campaign had created a conflict of interest, according to conservative website Circa.
Iowa Senator Charles Grassley (R) has signaled if there was obstruction of justice during the Obama administration, it should be included in the committee’s work. Grassley’s spokesman, Taylor Foy, said last week that the committee is looking into Comey’s dismissal, as well as allegations of improper influence on the FBI’s handling of the Russia and Clinton email investigations. In a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley wrote, “There should be no improper interference with FBI investigations to favor any elected official or candidate of either party.” At least one GOP senator appeared surprised by Grassley’s decision to expand the committee’s scope. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said last week that an investigation into Comey’s firing was not necessary. “I’m sure it’s being pushed rather hard by Democrats because I don’t know one Republican pushing that,” Hatch said of an investigation into Comey’s firing. “It’s not that they don’t want to have an investigation, they don’t see a need for it.”