Attorney General Loretta Lynch declined Sunday to say whether the FBI will charge anybody in connection with the Florida nightclub massacre and expressed support for a proposal from a Republican senator to tighten gun control.
Lynch, the country’s top law enforcement official, told “Fox News Sunday” that federal investigators are “in the middle of a very aggressive investigation” that includes “talking to family members.”
However, she declined to comment why the wife of shooter Omar Mateen has not been arrested, amid purported evidence that she helped her husband plot the June 12 murders.
Lynch said the FBI on Monday willl release a partial transcript of Orlando police department hostage negotiators talking to Mateen inside the nightclub. However, much of his talk about allegience to radical Islamic groups has been removed, she said.
Mateen, a Muslim, killed 49 people and wounded dozens of others inside the Orlando, Fla., nightclub before dying in a shootout with police.
The 29-year-old Mateen pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State terror group, even during his shooting rampage inside the gay nightclub.
“We are trying to re-create the days, the weeks, the months of this killer’s life before this attack,” said Lynch, who spoke on all of the major Sunday talk shows. “And we are also asking those people who had contact with him to come forward and give us that information as well.”
Mateen was the focus of two FBI investigations into suspected terrorism. However, the probes were concluded without further action, and Mateen was allowed to legally buy firearms.
Lynch said the Justice Department is “going to go back and see what changes could have been made,” regarding how the investigations were handled.
She also expressed support from an amendment scheduled for a vote Monday in the Senate by Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn that would allow the federal government to delay a gun sale to a suspected terrorist for as long as 72 hours. Afterward, prosecutors would have to persuade a judge to block the sale permanently.
Lynch said such an amendment would give the federal government the ability to stop a sale to somebody on the terror watch list.
However, she argued the federal government needs flexibility and the authority to protect the classified information used in denying a sale, if potential buyers exercise the constitutional rights to file an appeal.
“The American people deserve for us to take the greatest amount of time,” Lynch said.
The amendment is one of four gun-control measures scheduled for a vote Monday, each with long odds of passing the GOP-controlled Senate.
Lynch also said neither she nor anybody in the department face a conflict of interest in investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, despite President Obama endorsing her for president.
“The investigation into the State Department email matter is going to be handled like any other matter,” said Lynch, essentially repeating earlier responses to such questions. “We've got career agents and lawyers looking at that. They will follow the facts and follow the evidence wherever it leads and come to a conclusion. This is not a conflict for me or for the department or for anyone.”