June 08, 2017 11:11 AM EDT
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WATCH | Comey said Lynch told him to refer to Clinton’s email scandal as a “matter.”
For the first time, former FBI Director James Comey, who is testifying today before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that President Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked him to call the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email scandal a “matter” and not an “investigation.”
Under questioning by panel chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Comey said that he was uncomfortable with the unexpected meeting Lynch had with former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac last year.
Comey said that meeting convinced him that the independence of the investigation was tainted with regard to the Justice Department and led him to go public with the bureau’s findings on Clinton.
When Comey testified on May 3 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was asked about the Lynch meeting.
He told lawmakers “a number of things had gone on which I can’t talk about yet, that made me worry that the department leadership could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system.”
Bill Clinton met with Lynch in June 2016 at an airport in Phoenix, Arizona. Lynch said at the time that “our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren, it was primarily social about our travels and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix.”
On March 15, Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, sued the Justice Department for all relevant material related to the Lynch and Clinton Phoenix meeting.