Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan went after a Department of Justice official over James Comey’s claim that Loretta Lynch asked him to refer to the Clinton investigation as a “matter.”
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Downing, who has served in the DOJ for 18 years, testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday.
“Mr. Comey testified that former AG Loretta Lynch told him to, when he discussed the Clinton investigation, to call it a matter not an investigation,” Jordan said. “Do you agree with that decision that was made?”
“I don’t have an opinion one way or another on that,” Downing said, leading Jordan to get more intense with his line of questioning.
“Do you think it’s wise for the Justice Department to mislead the American people?” he asked.
“Of course, the Justice Department should do its best not to mislead anyone,” Downing replied.
Jordan shot back that perhaps it was misleading to refer to the Clinton investigation as a “matter” while refusing to clarify that President Trump was not under investigation.
Downing again said he didn’t have an opinion, but admitted he had “no basis to believe” that an attorney general had ever before instructed a high-level official to mislead the public.
“I think what the American people would appreciate is their highest officials at the DOJ should be straight with the American people,” Jordan said. “And that did not happen.”