In an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she does not recall "concerns being raised" by then-FBI Director James Comey when the investigation into the Hillary Clinton private e-mail scandal was categorized as a 'matter.' Comey later publicly testified before Congress that he felt "queasy" being told to use that terminology to describe how the Justice Department was handling the probe.
"And again, you look back in hindsight, should I have resisted more? I just said this wasn't a hill worth dying on, so I said, okay, the press is going to completely ignore it, and that is what happened," Comey testified. "It gave the impression that [Attorney General Lynch] was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way a political campaign was describing the same activity, which was inaccurate. We had a criminal investigation open... And so that gave me a queasy feeling."
Holt grilled Lynch on the directive Comey claimed that he received, how she reacted and what really happened. According to Lynch, it was a meeting like any other and "concerns were not raised" by Comey.
"Comey says you wanted to call it the 'Clinton matter,' he wants to call it the Clinton investigation. To the extent though that he noted it, that it bothered him, did he go to you and question your credibility with regard to the Clinton case?" Holt asked the former AG.
"I can tell you though that it was a meeting like any other that we had, where we talked about the issues," Lynch answered. We had a full and open discussion about it."
"He didn't raise any concerns about it?" Holt asked.
"Concerns were not raised," she said.
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: James Comey was testifying before Congress in June of last year and he had noted that you had asked him to call the Clinton probe a 'matter,' not an investigation. But he said it made him feel -- I'm paraphrasing -- it made him feel strange. He noted it. What did you mean when you said, 'Let's call it a matter and not an investigation?'
LORETTA LYNCH, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I had heard about that testimony. I didn't watch it at the time. But it was brought to my attention later and people were raising it to me and my first response was where -- what was the issue here? I remember specifically talking to him, as we talked about sensitive things on a number of occasions. We often would have to discuss sensitive matters, sensitive issues, terrorism and the like, you know, terrorism policy and the like.
This was a very sensitive investigation as everyone knew. And the issue when he and I sat down at that time, which I think was early in the fall of 2015, was whether or not we were ready as a Department to confirm an investigation going on, when we typically do not confirm or deny investigations into anything with rare exceptions.
HOLT: But Comey says you wanted to call it the 'Clinton matter,' he wants to call it the Clinton investigation. To the extent though that he noted it, that it bothered him, did he go to you and question your credibility with regard to the Clinton case?
LYNCH: I can tell you though that it was a meeting like any other that we had, where we talked about the issues. We had a full and open discussion about it.
HOLT: He didn't raise any concerns about it?
LYNCH: Concerns were not raised.