It happened on June 27, 2016, on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport. Bill Clinton was there on his plane, and then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was there on hers.
They met, privately, without witnesses, except possibly Lynch’s husband.
What otherwise might have been a meaningless chat between two Washington power brokers, one out of office and another on her way out, was significant because Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton, a candidate for president, was under investigation by the FBI for allegedly mishandling classified information.
Then-FBI director James Comey took the unusual step only days after the meeting to publicly announce that while Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information while secretary of state, he had decided not to refer the case to the Loretta Lynch-led Justice Department for prosecution. Comey insisted no “reasonable” prosecutor in the nation would find the case worth prosecuting.
Lynch said that at the Phoenix meeting, the two chatted about family. But now the public may learn more.
The American Center for Law and Justice said the FBI has agreed to produce all of documents it asked for regarding the meeting in a Freedom of Information Act request by Nov. 30.
When ACLJ submitted its request earlier this year, the FBI, led by Comey at the time, first claimed there were no records at all.
“Soon thereafter, we learned – through documents produced by the DOJ which included communications with the FBI – that there were, in fact, FBI records responsive to our request,” ACLJ announced this week.
“Only after the ACLJ publicly excoriated the FBI for lying to us did the FBI ‘reopen’ our case and inform us that – surprise – ‘records potentially responsive to your request may exist.'”
When the government still failed to produce the paperwork, ACLJ went back to court.
“Now … we are finally getting answers,” the group said.
“Once we obtain the documents, we will determine whether the FBI has sufficiently complied with its obligations under FOIA by producing all responsive documents and fully supporting any redactions made.”
ACLJ said it’s “already back in federal court over warrantless redactions in a similar case against the DOJ bureaucracy on the same matter. (It appears to have become the regular practice of bureaucratic federal agencies to produce only heavily redacted documents responsive to FOIA requests in an attempt to continue to conceal facts and information the public is entitled to under FOIA).”
Lynch has admitted that the meeting with Bill Clinton at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix “cast a cloud” over the Justice Department’s investigation of Hillary Clinton.
Tom Fitton, president of Washington watchdog Judicial Watch, said 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.”
At the Federalist, John Daniel Davidson explained an earlier release of a few documents confirmed the meeting took place but the media was reluctant to cover it, because it “might damage the president or the Democrat Party.”
“In this case, the DOJ documents show that reporters for The Washington Post, the New York Times and ABC News didn’t want to cover the meeting … although it happened when Hillary Clinton was under a legal cloud.”
Davidson said a reporter for the Times emailed a DOJ official to say he was “pressed into service to write about the questions being raised.”
And a Post reporter said he wanted to “put it to rest.”
Comey later disclosed that Lynch had given him instructions not to refer to the Clinton investigation as an investigation but as a “matter.”