Report: Clinton mulls keeping Lynch as attorney general

Reaction from former State Department press officer Morgan Ortagus and former Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 5, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHARLES PAYNE, GUEST HOST: Well, according to a new report, if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, she is considering keeping Loretta Lynch as attorney general.

Now, this raises a lot of questions, as Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton just last week and created a firestorm with that meeting.

To former State Department press conference Morgan Ortagus and former Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Morgan, should this be raising even more red -- more red flags?

MORGAN ORTAGUS, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS OFFICER: It certainly does have the appearance of impropriety.

You know, the FBI director came out today, as we all know, to say that Hillary Clinton wouldn't be charged. But having this meeting over the weekend, which I don't think there is a person on the planet, not even Bill Clinton, who believes that they talked about golf and their grandchildren the entire time, having this meeting over the weekend, before the FBI director came out with his ruling, I think, was just really incredibly poor judgment, and speaks to the larger issue that we have talked about many times, Charles, that the Clintons feel like they are above the law.

And I think -- go ahead.


PAYNE: Morgan, let me ask you, if they didn't talk about golf and grandchildren, was there an offer that Attorney General Loretta Lynch couldn't refuse?

ORTAGUS: Listen, clearly, I have no insight into what happened into that meeting. The only people who know are the two of them that were on that private plane.

But I do think, if you look at it, Hillary Clinton has said that if she were to win the presidency, that she would keep Loretta Lynch on. Well, in order for her to reappoint Loretta Lynch as attorney general, she would still have to be confirmed by the Senate.

I have seen people like Susan Rice not get confirmed for Senate positions over things that were not as much of a big deal. If you remember, whenever Susan Rice gave the Benghazi testimony, Republican senators were so frustrated that they flat out told the president not to put her nomination forward, despite her going to the Hill to lobby for that position.

PAYNE: Right.

ORTAGUS: So, again, this all depends on if the Republicans keep control of the Senate, which I hope they do.

But if they do, I find it very, very hard to believe that Republican senators would renominate Loretta Lynch to be attorney general after her mistake, very big mistake this weekend.

PAYNE: Dennis, when it comes to optics, they always seem to be bad against the Clintons, but they have had a multi-decade record of escaping them.

DENNIS KUCINICH, D, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, certainly, the meeting at the Phoenix Airport between the attorney general and President Clinton raised a lot of issues.

However, I haven't -- in all the people that I know who are close to Director Comey, they say he is a pretty stand-up guy, and he doesn't seem like the kind of person who, if he was told, look, this is what you have to do, that he would go along with it.

I think that what we are hearing, for better or for worse, this is his decision, and that, you know, whether it is a surprise to people or not.

PAYNE: Then let me ask you. You, yourself, though, you heard the press conference. You have probably looked at the text since then. There are certainly contradictions within the press conference itself, aren't there, some screaming contradictions?

KUCINICH: Well, the biggest contradiction was in the statement that essentially exculpates Secretary Clinton on any criminal -- from any criminality on one hand, but then, on the other hand, says that another person under similar circumstances could conceivably face prosecution.

PAYNE: Right, right.

KUCINICH: So that -- and I think that's -- that will cause some people difficulty in squaring the decision.

PAYNE: Well, you know, Morgan, I mean, it gets back to some people are above the law and some aren't.

ORTAGUS: You know, Charles, I think that this is going to backfire for the Clintons today.

First of all, if you are in the position, if your party -- if the biggest thing -- the biggest thing that you have to cheer is the fact that your Clinton -- that you're candidate wasn't indicted, that's not a good day.

I know that they are probably breathing a sigh of relief, but it's not a good day when you are cheering that your candidate isn't getting indicted. That's incredibly frustrating.

And it was interesting to me. The number of people that I heard from today that were Republicans on the fence, that weren't thrilled with Trump, weren't sure what they were going to do in November, but after this came out today, they said, you know what, I'm so sick of this, I'm so sick of people being above the law and not being treated equally that I'm voting for Trump in November.

PAYNE: Right.

ORTAGUS: I was shocked at how much I heard that today.

PAYNE: Dennis?

KUCINICH: I would say that Secretary Clinton has already paid a political price.

Over the arc of this issue, it has really undermined her trust factor. However, from this moment on, this election is moving in a direction that, hopefully, will be more issue-oriented.

PAYNE: Well, maybe. Maybe.

Listen, I know that she just had this raucous joint appearance with President Obama. He laid it on thick. The crowd went crazy. And I think the media may actually play that up more tonight on the evening news than the FBI's decision.

But we look at the underlying current in this country, guys, and I think we look and saw what happened over in England, and even on both sides, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, there is this sort of edginess and worry out there about those who just seem to be above it all and the rest of us.

Morgan and Dennis, thank you both very much. Really appreciate it.

ORTAGUS: Thanks.

KUCINICH: Good to see you. Thanks.

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