Lynch defends an FBI under fire from Clinton campaign

Lynch defends FBI's DNC hacking investigation
Lynch defends FBI's DNC hacking investigation

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    Lynch defends FBI's DNC hacking investigation

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Story highlights

  • The Clinton campaign late Thursday escalated its criticism of the FBI
  • "I can tell you that this investigation was taken seriously from the beginning," Lynch said
Watch Jake Tapper's full interview with Attorney General Loretta Lynch Sunday at 9 a.m. ET on CNN's "State of the Union."

Washington (CNN)Attorney General Loretta Lynch defended the FBI's handling of investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, swatting away criticism from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman as uninformed.

The Clinton campaign late Thursday escalated its criticism of the FBI as reports emerged that painted an unflattering portrait of how federal law enforcement handled the inquiry. Lynch told CNN's Jake Tapper on Friday that she retained high confidence in the agency that reports to her, and repeatedly said that the FBI took the hackings "very seriously."
Much of the trashing happened in The Washington Post, where Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta lambasted the agency as slow to respond.
"He's not involved in the ongoing investigation so he wouldn't be privy to everything that would have been done or said to that. But as I said, he's entitled to his opinion," Lynch said of Podesta. "I can tell you that this investigation was taken seriously from the beginning."
Lynch repeatedly declined to address Podesta's specific allegations, saying she could not comment on an ongoing investigation. But she suggested that the longtime Democratic power-broker was tainted by his political connections and was not an unbiased observer.
"I know also because of his involvement with the campaign, he's going to have a certain interest in this and a certain view of that," she said. "Everyone has a great deal of respect for him. So I allow him that opinion, but I disagree with that."
Lynch also declined to say whether the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server earned more attention from law enforcement than the Russian hackings, saying it would not "be helpful to try and draw equivalencies to any investigations." But she broadly defended the government's handling of cyberthreats as "extremely high quality."
Asked if she agreed with Podesta's characterization that the FBI investigation had been sub-standard, Lynch said it could not be judged yet.
"First of all, the investigation isn't even over. So I think it's impossible to characterize it in any one way or the other," she said. "Again, I don't know where Mr. Podesta is obtaining information."