After witnessing Attorney General Lynch's lack of concern for her authority and unresponsiveness to the questions asked yesterday during the House Judiciary Committee hearing about her investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it is abundantly clear she must immediately step down from her position.
Attorney General Lynch has broken the sacred trust of the American people. Not only is she an attorney for the U.S. government, she is the highest-ranking legal official in the U.S., and, therefore, is held to the highest possible ethical standards we have in our country. Unfortunately, she has failed to practice by those standards.
Attorney General Lynch violated numerous federal regulations and Department of Justice (DOJ) Standards of Conduct when she secretly met with former President Bill Clinton on a taxpayer-funded airplane during the same time his wife, Hillary Clinton, was subject to an ongoing DOJ criminal investigation and he was a potential witness to the investigation. These violations include acting impartially toward and giving preferential treatment to private individuals (5 C.F.R. § 2635.101(b)(8) and creating the appearance of legal or ethical violations (5 C.F.R. § 2635.101(b)(14). Federal regulations also state a DOJ attorney must be disqualified from a criminal investigation because of a personal or political relationship with those subject to the investigation (28 C.F.R. § 45.2). This meeting between Attorney General Lynch and Bill Clinton calls for disqualification, was a clear conflict of interest, and seriously calls into question the integrity of the entire investigation.
Furthermore, after meeting with Bill Clinton, Attorney General Lynch irresponsibly decided to completely abdicate her official role to FBI Director James B. Comey when she stated she would follow the FBI's recommendation in regards to possibly charging Hillary Clinton for her gross negligence and dangerous mishandling of secret government information while serving as Secretary of State. For Attorney General Lynch to blindly follow such a serious recommendation and prevent her department from providing its own recommendation completely negates our entire legal system, not to mention gives the impression of preferential treatment on behalf of the DOJ. As an attorney and officer of the court who swore to uphold justice myself, I am utterly dumbfounded by her questionable actions and failure to perform her duties. This practice of protecting the political elite at the expense of trust and justice must be stopped.
This call for immediate resignation is not just my own. This is the call, and will, of the American people-the people I personally hear from every day in my very own district, throughout the State of Florida, and across the entire nation. As our nation's chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Lynch must remain above reproach, but she has proven she is incapable of doing so. Consequently, she must resign.
U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., is part of the congressional leadership as senior deputy majority whip.