It was a clandestine meeting between the nation’s top law enforcement officer, the sitting attorney general and the spouse of a presidential candidate under investigation for possibly threatening national security by using a homemade email system.
And the FBI apparently had no problem with it.
But how did the bureau respond when someone revealed to the public that the meeting was held?
A massive scramble to find the leaker.
That’s according to documents obtained from the federal government by Washington watchdog Judicial Watch about the infamous meeting on the Phoenix, Arizona, airport tarmac between former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
It happened on June 27, 2016, when Clinton rearranged his flight schedule so he could meet with Lynch on her airplane.
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 Hillary Clinton was under investigation by an agency run by Lynch.
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 Lynch-led Justice Department for prosecution. Comey insisted no “reasonable” prosecutor would find the case worth prosecuting.
Judicial Watch sued to get government documents about the meeting and discovered nothing about the meeting itself was being released but a whole lot of people were worried about how information about the meeting became public.
“These new FBI documents show the FBI was more concerned about a whistleblower who told the truth about the infamous Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting than the scandalous meeting itself,” explained Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton after his group released the 29 pages obtained from the government.
“The documents show the FBI worked to make sure no more details of the meeting would be revealed to the American people. No wonder the FBI didn’t turn these documents over until Judicial Watch caught the agency red-handed hiding them. These new documents confirm the urgent need to reopen the Clinton email scandal and criminally investigate the resulting Obama FBI/DOJ sham investigation.”
The new documents were obtained by Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, which was filed after the DOJ refused to comply with a July 7, 2016, FOIA request seeking government records about the meeting.
“The new FBI documents show FBI officials were concerned about a leak that Bill Clinton delayed his aircraft taking off in order to ‘maneuver’ a meeting with the attorney general,” Judicial Watch said.
“The resulting story in the Observer is seemingly confirmed and causes a flurry of emails about the source of the article. FBI official(s) write ‘we need to find that guy’ and that the Phoenix FBI office was contacted ‘in an attempt to stem any further damage.’ Another FBI official, working on AG Lynch’s security detail, suggests instituting non-disclosure agreements. The names of the emails authors are redacted. There are no documents showing concern about the meeting itself.”
The FBI first claimed it could not find any records about the meeting, but when a lawsuit was filed, records suddenly were found.
The records include Justice Department officials communicating with the FBI about the issue.
But she 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.
Fitton 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.”
Comey also disclosed that Lynch had given him instructions not to refer to the Clinton investigation as an investigation but as a “matter.”