Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Says Bill Clinton's Meeting With Loretta Lynch May Have Influenced Email Investigation

Paul Manafort says it may have influenced FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton.

ByMorgan Winsor
July 20, 2016, 9:16 AM

— -- Donald Trump’s campaign chairman said today his team believes former President Bill Clinton’s recent meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch may have influenced the FBI’s decision to recommend no charges against Hillary Clinton in her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

“We feel that that was not just a happened meeting to talk about golf and grandchildren,” Paul Manafort said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, during his address to the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, led the audience at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland to repeatedly shout “guilty” and “lock her up” in response to his allegations about Hillary Clinton.

Christie, a former federal prosecutor, said Clinton’s character and her record as secretary of state disqualify the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. He specifically accused her of “ruining Libya” and being a terrorist apologist for not naming Boko Haram in Nigeria a terrorist group for two years, among other things.

“Is that what the delegates here think, that Hillary Clinton should be in jail?” Stephanopoulos asked Manafort this morning on “GMA.”

“Yeah,” the longtime Republican strategist replied with a laugh.

He then added: “I think that what people in this hall feel is that she should be prosecuted for alleged crimes that this FBI director sort of listed very clearly and then chose not to prosecute.”

Earlier this month, FBI Director James Comey announced that his agency would not recommend that charges be brought against Hillary Clinton after a yearlong investigation into her handling of classified information while serving as secretary of state.

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said in a July 5 news conference.

“In looking back at our investigations into the mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.”

A day later, the U.S. Department of Justice, which had the ultimate say when it comes to prosecuting the presidential hopeful, declared that its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email setup had been formally closed without any criminal charges.

The announcement came just days after Lynch had an unplanned meeting with Bill Clinton aboard her plane on the tarmac at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Lynch said the investigation was not discussed but admitted that the meeting had “cast a shadow” on the process and raised questions.

"Certainly, my meeting with him raises questions and concerns," Lynch said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado on July 1. "It has now cast a shadow over how this case may be perceived, no matter how it's resolved. ... [But] it's important to make it clear that that meeting with President Clinton does not have a bearing on how this matter is going to be reviewed, resolved and accepted by me."

She added, however: "I certainly wouldn't do it again."

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