Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch appeared on Capitol Hill on Wednesday for closed-door testimony to answer questions on the Justice Department's Russia and Hillary Clinton email probes, following former FBI director James Comey’s feisty back-to-back interviews with the same committees.
Comey was grilled on Monday, and in early December, by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees. He complained afterward of a “frustrating” experience, accusing Republicans of being motivated by politics.
Democrats on the committee – as they did with Comey – lamented Wednesday that the hearing was a waste of time. Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin told reporters he did not learn anything new from the questioning of Lynch. Raskin said he noticed some people sleeping in the room during the testimony.
Lynch came under fire in 2016 after her infamous tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton days before the FBI decided it would not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified information on her private email server. Lynch, reacting to the criticism for meeting Clinton while the FBI investigated his wife, has claimed she and Clinton only discussed “innocuous things.”
Lynch, who led the Justice Department under then-President Barack Obama, did not answer shouted questions from reporters outside the hearing room Wednesday.
The committees will not immediately release a transcript of the Lynch interview, though it and other transcripts are expected to be eventually released as part of their investigation report, Fox News is told.
Transcripts were released from the two Comey interviews, due to negotiations between lawmakers and the fired former FBI director.
Comey, speaking to reporters after his testimony, cast the questioning from lawmakers on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees as political and defended his own leadership, under which agents investigated Clinton and began probing relationships between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“We had to make very hard decisions in 2016,” Comey said. “I knew we were going to get hurt by it. The question was how do we reduce the damage.”
Asked if he bears any responsibility for the FBI's reputation taking a hit, he responded, "No."
Comey called it “frustrating to be here” and dismissed questions from lawmakers, including over the FBI’s Clinton email investigation and the anti-Trump dossier authored by Chris Steele, as old news.
“The questions about Hillary Clinton and Steele dossier strike me as more of the same,” Comey said. “I didn’t learn anything new in there. Maybe they did.”
Fox News’ Guerin Hays and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.