By Khorri Atkinson, The Texas Tribune, texastribune.org
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is seeking answers from U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch over potential links between the Clinton Foundation and the U.S. State Department when Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
Documents released on Tuesday by the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch, triggered questions about whether the charitable group and its donors had access and political influence at the State Department.
“As the press have reported widely and emails released over the past few days confirmed, representatives of the Foundation repeatedly sought special treatment for its donors and associates from senior officials at the State Department,” Cornyn, the Senate’s second-highest ranking Republican, wrote in a letter to Lynch on Friday.
“This kind of conduct is unacceptable, and reflects the worst concerns harbored by the public about the abuse of government office to benefit the powerful at the expense of the American people,” he added.
In one of the released emails, a former Clinton Foundation official told a Clinton aide that he wanted to connect a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire donor with the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interests there. CNN reported this week that a U.S official said the FBI requested the Justice Department open an investigation after seeing suspicious activity from a foreigner who had donated to the Clinton Foundation but that the department had pushed back against the idea.
In the letter, Cornyn asked Lynch whether the CNN report is accurate, which employees were involved in the decision not to open a case and why the department declined to probe the Clinton Foundation. The senator requested answers by Aug. 25.
He also asked the attorney general if she and former President Bill Clinton had discussed anything relating to the Clinton Foundation during their private meeting at an airport in June. That meeting came days before FBI Director James Comey recommended no charges against the Democratic presidential nominee, for being “extremely careless” in using a private email address and server and her handling of classified information.
Clinton and Lynch’s encounter had triggered concerns throughout Democratic and Republican circles about conflict of interest. Cornyn had previously called for a special counsel to be appointed in the investigation into Clinton’s private email setup.
Elsewhere on Friday, Cornyn demurred when asked to weigh in on a potential primary fight in 2018 between his Senate colleague Ted Cruz and Republican U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, the Dallas Morning News reported.
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