Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that neither she nor anyone else at the Justice Department has briefed President Obama about the Hillary Clinton email investigation and that the White House should “stay silent” about the probe.
The question of whether she had was brought up during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing by North Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who referred to comments that White House press secretary Josh Earnest made back in January downplaying the investigation into how classified information was handled on Clinton’s private email server.
“So when Josh Earnest speaks about the investigation and talks about basically, to reassure the American people that this is no big deal, do you know where he gets that information from?” Graham asked.
“Senator, I do not,” Lynch said.
“Would you tell him that he should just stay silent?” Graham pressed.
“Certainly it’s my hope when it comes to ongoing investigations that we would all stay silent,” Lynch responded.
Earnest caused a bit of controversy when in a Jan. 29 press briefing he said that “some officials over there have said that [Clinton] is not a target of the investigation.”
“Based on what we know from the Department of Justice, it does not seem to be headed in that direction,” he added.
The FBI is investigating whether Clinton or any of her State Department aides mishandled classified information, which was found in thousands of emails that wound up on her private email server.
More than 2,000 now-classified emails have been found among the records that Clinton turned over to the State Department in December 2014. At least one of those emails contained information that was classified as “Top Secret” when it was forwarded to Clinton. The Democratic presidential candidate said earlier this week that the Justice Department has not informed her that she is the target of its investigation.Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department network technician who managed Clinton’s server, was granted immunity by the FBI sometime last year in exchange for his cooperation in the investigation. Lynch declined during Wednesday’s hearing to confirm that Pagliano had received immunity.
But under Graham’s questioning, she did deny that she or anyone at the Justice Department has talked to the White House about the Clinton probe.
“I can assure you that neither I nor anyone from the department has briefed Mr. Earnest or anyone at the White House about this matter or any other matters,” she said.
“I’m simply not aware of the source of his information.”