Attorney General Loretta Lynch previewed the final actions she and the Department of Justice would be taking before the end of President Obama’s term, while stressing the importance of career professionals in the department once President-elect Donald Trump’s administration takes over.
Here are five points she made at the breakfast interview with Politico:
The Obama administration will not be able to tell the public everything it does to address campaign-related hacks.
Asked about the reports of Russia’s involvement in various cyberattacks during the 2016 campaign, Lynch brought up the investigation President Obama ordered into the matter.
“This is an area in which we are trying to be as public and transparent as possible, but there are things that are going to happen that people will not know about because of the nature of the tools, the techniques, the classification, things like that,” she said, later adding, “Whatever we can make public, we will make public.”
She said administration’s decision was made to go public with Russia’s role in the hacks because “the election affects everyone.”
“It isn’t even a matter of the results. It’s people’s faith in the system, and the faith in the integrity of the system,” she said.
She ruled out the Obama administration using a blanket pardon to protect DREAMers under Trump.
Lynch said that the Obama administration could not issue a blanket pardon, as some immigrant advocates have floated, to protect undocumented immigrants when Trump takes over. She defended the executive actions Obama took to give them some protections, which Trump may well reverse, and said “people have got to continue to make that case.”
“They have got to continue to raise those voices at all levels of government,” she said, and “make sure that the people who are coming into these positions understand the importance of policy that led to them.”
She said the press and career officials will have an important role to play when the new AG takes over.
Noting that she met Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Trump’s pick for attorney general, during her own confirmation process, Lynch said she wouldn’t “speculate about which way he is going to take the department.”
She stressed the role of the press to hold attorneys general accountable, and brought up that many career officials who will continue to work in the Department of Justice under the Trump administration.
“They stay on and they guide the ship and so I have great faith in them,” she said.
Asked about Trump’s loose relationship with facts and figures, she offered a piece of advice:
“Every administration is going to have to find their footing on these issues. I have always found facts to be a great help in doing that,” she said.
She said “we have to look and see, what have we learned” from Comey’s late-in-the-campaign email announcement, but stopped short of criticizing it.
Lynch said she would leave it to “the analysts and pundits” to decide whether FBI Director James Comey’s announcement of the possibility of new Hillary Clinton emails had an impact of the election, and was hesitant to say whether it was the right decision to announce it.
“I don’t go back at this point. I think we have to look and see, what have we learned from that, in terms of handling matters going forward,” she later added. She was mum on what that specifically entailed.
“I wouldn’t go into what we’re doing in terms of reports or writings or discussions,” she said. “I don’t do that in general, so I won’t comment on that for this matter as well.”
She will travel Baltimore as part of the DOJ’s policing reform efforts there.
As the agency continues to iron out a consent decree with the Baltimore City Police Department after its investigation into police misconduct, Lynch said that she would be traveling to the city next month.
She said the trip would provide “an update on then efforts there,” and would “hopefully” include “an announcement on those efforts.”
“At this point, the ball is in the city’s court, but we are looking forward to getting a positive response from them on finalizing this consent decree and making sure that everyone in Baltimore has the constitutional policing that all citizens deserve,” she said.