The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

Republican Senator Wants a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Clinton’s Private Email

Sen. John Cornyn wants the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Hillary Clinton's use of private email.

GettyImages-487640850
GettyImages-487640850

The No. 2 Republican in the Senate wants Attorney General Loretta Lynch to name a special prosecutor to investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private email.

In a Tuesday letter to Lynch, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said it could be a conflict of interest for Clinton’s former administration colleagues to lead the inquiry into her emails. The correspondence is the latest indication that Clinton’s use of private email while at the State Department -- something for which the Democratic front-runner for the 2016 nomination has repeatedly apologized -- is not an issue that will be easily dismissed.

“The Attorney General has a special duty to pursue justice even when political considerations run counter to doing so,” wrote Cornyn, a former Texas attorney general and state judge. “At critical times in our nation’s history, your predecessors have exercised that duty by appointing politically-independent individuals to investigate potential wrongdoing involving senior administration officials.… Americans deserve the assurance that justice -- and justice alone -- is being pursued.”

The No. 2 Republican in the Senate wants Attorney General Loretta Lynch to name a special prosecutor to investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private email.

In a Tuesday letter to Lynch, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said it could be a conflict of interest for Clinton’s former administration colleagues to lead the inquiry into her emails. The correspondence is the latest indication that Clinton’s use of private email while at the State Department — something for which the Democratic front-runner for the 2016 nomination has repeatedly apologized — is not an issue that will be easily dismissed.

“The Attorney General has a special duty to pursue justice even when political considerations run counter to doing so,” wrote Cornyn, a former Texas attorney general and state judge. “At critical times in our nation’s history, your predecessors have exercised that duty by appointing politically-independent individuals to investigate potential wrongdoing involving senior administration officials.… Americans deserve the assurance that justice — and justice alone — is being pursued.”

The FBI is looking into whether Clinton handled classified information over private email, which was maintained on a server at her home in upstate New York. This server is now in the hands of federal investigators.

Cornyn’s request for a special prosecutor does not mean Lynch has to appoint one. It’s within her discretion to elevate the inquiry to a targeted investigation.

But it’s a sign that the email controversy is far from over — more than three years after a Sept. 11, 2012, attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead and spawned a Republican inquiry.

Clinton has tried to dismiss her use of private email, but as the campaign season has heated up, it has not gone away. Last week, the former senator from New York said she made a mistake to use a private email account while serving as President Barack Obama’s chief diplomat.

Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.