NEW YORK – Despite a last-ditch effort by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., urging his colleagues to reject her nomination, Loretta Lynch was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, with 10 Republicans joining all 44 Democrats and two independents in favor of President Obama’s choice to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general.
In a dispatch Thursday, Vitter, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, cited Lynch’s support of executive amnesty, her refusal to probe Hillary Clinton’s “email cover-up” and “signals she won’t hold Wall Street accountable.”
Reacting to the 56-43 vote, Vitter said that by “confirming Loretta Lynch, the Senate has given President Obama a rubber stamp for his executive actions.”
“Whether it’s executive amnesty, Hillary Clinton’s email cover-up or corruption on Wall Street, Ms. Lynch has made it clear that she will turn a blind eye to public corruption,” the senator said.
In his statement Thursday prior to the vote, Vitter pointed to Lynch’s oversight as U.S. attorney of the decision not to prosecute the multinational bank HSBC for laundering the funds of terrorists and drug cartels.
Vitter referred to the evidence of two HSBC whistleblowers, including former New York City-area manager John Cruz, whose trove of original evidence of money laundering was reported first by WND in 2012.
As WND reported in February, Lynch’s confirmation vote initially was postponed after Vitter’s staff quizzed Cruz and then decided to open an investigation of Lynch’s role in the decision not to criminally prosecute HSBC.
National Review Online editors published an editorial Wednesday titled “Defeat Loretta Lynch.” The editors said that while there is “no question that Eric Holder has been a dismal attorney general,” there is “little indication that Ms. Lynch would be much better.”
Vitter said in his news release Thursday that “a second whistleblower has come forward connecting the HSBC settlement to British Prime Minister David Cameron, alleging that PM Cameron asked President Obama against criminally prosecuting HSBC.”
Cruz was an account relationship manager for HSBC’s southern New York region, which accounts for about 50 percent of HSBC’s North American revenue. He was terminated in 2010 for “poor job performance” after he began confronting his superiors with evidence of money laundering.
The Department of Justice investigation culminated on Dec. 11, 2012, in a “deferred prosecution agreement” Lynch signed in which HSBC admitted “willful criminal activity” and paid a $1.9 billion fine in return for not bringing criminal charges against any HSBC employee.
The day after Vitter’s Washington staff quizzed Cruz on Feb. 11, Vitter issued a statement raising the possibility of a massive cover-up.
“If Loretta Lynch and DOJ swept under the rug a serious money laundering scheme involving Mexican drug cartels and terrorist organizations, we need to know a heck of a lot more about it,” he said. “This is especially true since American citizens may be completely unaware that their identities – including names and Social Security numbers – were compromised in this fraud,” Vitter said.
“A simple monetary fine is the equivalent of a slap on the wrist and would cast serious doubt on Ms. Lynch’s capacity to serve as our top law enforcement official.”
On Feb. 13, Vitter’s office presented Lynch with a new set of questions regarding why she failed to bring criminal charges in her HSBC investigation, confirming she was aware of the evidence provided by Cruz.
Jeb Bush supports Lynch
WND reported last week former Florida governor and possible presidential candidate Jeb Bush went public urging Lynch’s confirmation, arguing President Obama has the right to appoint his own team without partisan opposition.
“If someone is supportive of the president’s policies, whether you agree with them or not, there should be some deference to the executive,” Bush said in response to a question at a New Hampshire town hall meeting. “It should not always be partisan.”
After revelations that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a personal email account and server to shield and destroy official records, Vitter mailed a letter to Lynch April 2, asking whether she would investigate if appointed attorney general.
“If we let Hillary Clinton get away with deleting all of her emails as Secretary of State, we’ll set a dangerous precedent for the Administration moving forward,” Vitter said in a written statement announcing the letter to Lynch. “This should never happen again, and we need to know that our next Attorney General will hold the Administration accountable.”
In a response received by Vitter on Thursday, Lynch refused to commit to an investigation or appoint a special counsel to the case.
“Hillary Clinton’s decision to destroy public records is a huge problem, and failure to investigate these practices sets a dangerous precedent for the Administration moving forward,” Vitter said on the receipt of Lynch’s response. “Loretta Lynch’s response gives me no confidence that she will hold the Administration accountable for these sorts of cover-ups.”
Lynch responded to Vitter.
“In my current role as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, my awareness of this issue has been limited to media reports and therefore, I do not have enough information at this time to determine whether action by the Department of Justice is warranted,” she wrote.