On Tuesday, June 29, 2015 ABC News-15 based in Arizona reported, “US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton meet privately in Phoenix before Benghazi report.”
According to the report the meeting was not a chance encounter but was apparently an arranged meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch on board her government airplane.
The appearance this meeting creates, in and of itself, calls into question the judgment of the Attorney General of the United States - America's "Top Cop" who sets the tone for law enforcement for the entire federal government and, as a consequence, for law enforcement agencies at all levels from coast to coast and border to border.
And make no mistake - appearances can be critical. This was a message that was repeatedly hammered home by my bosses when I served as a Special Agent for the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).
Let me describe two such instances in order to properly set the stage and provide a bit of context to the meeting between the former president of the United States and the Attorney General.
When I began my career as a special agent back in the 1970's one of my bosses, a gentleman by the name of Frank Johnson who was the section chief for the Frauds Unit where I was assigned, would hold what were known as "Payday Meetings" because every other Thursday we would stand on line and be issued out paychecks- this was long before direct deposit was implemented. These meeting provided management with an opportunity to inform the agents about any changes in priorities and to provide us with whatever information they deemed was essential to enable us to to our jobs effectively and safely. These meetings also provided agents to inform each other about any information that they might need as they pursued their assigned investigations.
At the conclusion of each of those meetings, Frank Johnson would accentuate each syllable by jabbing his ever-present cigarette in the air as he looked around the room and said, "As federal agents, it was not enough that we never engaged in wrong doing- but that we must never give the illusion of doing wrong!"
We knew that Frank was not just spouting a slogan- because he held himself to a higher standard than he held those of us who worked under him- this is what true leadership is all about.
As for the second incident - I had become an agent just months earlier and was eating lunch at a local restaurant located across the street from our offices in lower Manhattan, when an attorney I had met when I was assigned as an Adjudications Officer or Examiner as those who adjudicated various applications for immigration benefits were known. The attorney had represented several aliens I had interviewed in that earlier assignment and conducted those marriage interviews you likely have seen in various movies about aliens who marry citizens to acquire lawful immigrant status.
I had just order desert at the end of my meal when the attorney who, like myself, was sitting at the counter of the restaurant move next to me to engage in innocuous banter. Suddenly one of my supervisors noticed me as he was walking by the restaurant and quickly entered the restaurant. He walked up to me and whispered in my ear, "Mr. Cutler, when you are finished with your lunch you are to report directly to my office." He quickly left the restaurant and I quickly headed back to my office and went to his office- with quite a bit of consternation. Clearly he was not happy.
He sat me down in his office and told me that by sitting next to that lawyer in that restaurant, I created the illusion that I would be less than totally objective in investigating the cases that the attorney was involved with. This, he sternly told me, creates the impression of corruption and must never, ever happen again.
I explained that the lawyer had approached me and that I paid for my food and he had paid for his food and that the conversation was brief and had nothing to do about work.
His response was quick and to the point - he told me that simply creating an appearance of impropriety could create enough of a problem to call my ethics into question and in so doing, destroy my career!
He explained that I always needed to be mindful of appearances and that the next time an attorney tried to sit next to me I had the choice of telling him to not change his seat or simply paying my check and leaving the restaurant. There was no "wiggle room." He concluded our conversation by telling me that he believed I unwittingly got caught in an unfortunate situation and admonished me to be careful in the future.
Now we come back to the meeting between Mr. Clinton and Ms Lynch. According to the published accounts, Bill Clinton knew in advance that the Attorney General was going to be arriving on her government airplane and visited with her in that aircraft for 30 minutes.
While Lynch claims that nothing was discussed that involved Hillary Clinton- we only have her word for that. Furthermore, as the Attorney General she would certainly have to cognizant about the appearance of a major impropriety that her meeting with Bill Clinton created. The obvious question is why would she do this?
Was she so fascinated about Clinton's golf game or his grandchildren that she was willing to create the illusion of wrong-doing? Was the meeting conducted on her airplane to make certain that no one would be able to overhear what was said? If so, what was the true topic of the conversation?
We can not and, indeed, must not lose sight of the fact that Loretta Lynch has the authority to authorize criminal prosecutions. Hillary Clinton is currently under investigation for a series of serious allegations emanating from the disaster at Benghazi and as a result of her having a private e-mail account and private server which, as it has been shown, was used numerous times to transmit highly classified information in violation of laws, regulations and procedures.
She has also provided contradictory information about these issues which may be found to rise to the level of perjury - a felony. The person who will ultimately have to decide whether or not that line has been crossed is none other than Loretta Lynch.
This administration has, time and time again, acted with contempt for the Constitution and the Rule of Law. I have addressed the many ways in which the administration has undermined any shred of integrity to the immigration system.
Even as the president insists that our borders are secure heroin is available in such abundance that notwithstanding the historic levels of heroin addiction in the United States, the price of heroin has never been lower. Heroin is not produced in the United States and is totally illegal. The only way for heroin to be present in the United States is for it to be smuggled across those supposedly "secure borders."
A series of Congressional hearings have shown how tens of thousand of criminal aliens have been released back onto the streets of towns and cities and have gone on to kill and assault many innocent people.
The administration has taken to the unprecedented practice of issuing executive orders and misused "prosecutorial discretion" to provide hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens with lawful status without any legal justification.
In the face of unambiguous statements about the inability of our officials to vet Syrian refugees and the clear warning of John Brennan, the Director of the CIA, that ISIS is seeking to infiltrate terrorists into the United States by embedding them among those claiming to be refugees, the administration is admitting tens of thousands of aliens who claim to be Syrian Refugees- but there is no way to verify their identities, their true countries of citizens or their claims of being refugees.
These and other actions have undermined the trust of the American people where this administration is concerned.
Now we add to all of this the Attorney General's meeting with the husband of the apparent Democratic Party's candidate for the presidency who may face criminal charges- if the Attorney General decides that the evidence provided by a small army of FBI agents assigned to the investigation, meets the standards that require that the prosecution proceeds.
The stakes could not be higher - yet Loretta Lynch acted in a way that she should clearly understood created that illusion of wrong-doing.
I know some federal agents who worked with Loretta Lynch when she first became a federal prosecutor. They all had positive impressions about her abilities and commitment to her job.
It is impossible to understand her motivation or what she was thinking as she sat on her airplane meeting with Bill Clinton - but one thing is now perfectly clear, she must recuse herself from any involvement in the decision making process where the investigation/prosecution of Hillary Clinton is concerned.
There is a good reason that "Lady Justice" wears a blindfold!