Sen Marco Rubio and Rep Mike Pompeo blasted Loretta Lynch as she is ‘pleading the fifth’ to dodge questions about $1.7 billion payments made by the United States to Iran, saying that the Attorney General had refused to answer ‘straightforward’ questions.
Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Mike Pompeo wrote a letter to Attorney General Lynch Friday, accusing her of refusing to answer ‘straightforward questions’ about the payments.
The Fifth Amendment keeps people from having to be witnesses against themselves in a criminal case. Commonly, ‘pleading the fifth’ means refusing to provide information that might incriminate oneself.
The Washington Free Beacon reports,
Attorney General Loretta Lynch is declining to comply with an investigation by leading members of Congress about the Obama administration’s secret efforts to send Iran $1.7 billion in cash earlier this year, prompting accusations that Lynch has “pleaded the Fifth” Amendment to avoid incriminating herself over these payments, according to lawmakers and communications exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
In an Oct. 24 response, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik responded on Lynch’s behalf, refusing to answer the questions and informing the lawmakers that they are barred from publicly disclosing any details about the cash payment, which was bound up in a ransom deal aimed at freeing several American hostages from Iran.
The response from the attorney general’s office is “unacceptable” and provides evidence that Lynch has chosen to “essentially plead the fifth and refuse to respond to inquiries regarding [her] role in providing cash to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” Rubio and Pompeo wrote on Friday in a follow-up letter to Lynch, according to a copy obtained by the Free Beacon.
The inquiry launched by the lawmakers is just one of several concurrent ongoing congressional probes aimed at unearthing a full accounting of the administration’s secret negotiations with Iran.
“It is frankly unacceptable that your department refuses to answer straightforward questions from the people’s elected representatives in Congress about an important national security issue,” the lawmakers wrote. “Your staff failed to address any of our questions, and instead provided a copy of public testimony and a lecture about the sensitivity of information associated with this issue.”
“As the United States’ chief law enforcement officer, it is outrageous that you would essentially plead the fifth and refuse to respond to inquiries,” they stated. “The actions of your department come at time when Iran continues to hold Americans hostage and unjustly sentence them to prison.”
The lawmakers included a copy of their previous 13 questions and are requesting that Lynch provide answers by Nov. 4.
When asked about Lynch’s efforts to avoid answering questions about the cash payment, Pompeo told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration has blocked Congress at every turn as lawmakers attempt to investigate the payments to Iran.
“Who knew that simple questions regarding Attorney General Lynch’s approval of billions of dollars in payments to Iran could be so controversial that she would refuse to answer them?” Pompeo said. “This has become the Obama administration’s coping mechanism for anything related to the Islamic Republic of Iran—hide information, obfuscate details, and deny answers to Congress and the American people.”
“They know this isn’t a sustainable strategy, however, and I trust they will start to take their professional, and moral, obligations seriously,” the lawmaker added.
Read the full story at The Washington Free Beacon.