According to a new report from The Washington Free Beacon, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is refusing to answer any questions about her role in the Obama administration's $1.7 billion cash payment to Iran that coincided with the release of several Americans in Iranian custody.
Effectively, she's "pleading the fifth" to avoid incriminating herself over these payments, according to lawmakers and communications made public in the Free Beacon report. At issue is a series of questions asked by U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) over how the payment to Iran was approved and delivered.
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."
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