WASHINGTON – A prominent liberal group blasted Texas Republican Pete Olson Tuesday for a radio interview earlier this month where he speculated that ex-President Bill Clinton threatened then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch last year by threatening he would have her killed like Clinton-era figure Vince Foster.
Olson, in a June 9 interview with Houston-based radio host Sam Malone, ventured that Clinton’s controversial meeting with Lynch on an airport tarmac in Phoenix was likely to force her to back off the FBI‘s e-mail investigation of his wife, then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Clinton and Lynch described the meeting as a social encounter.
In Olson’s telling, Bill Clinton told Lynch to call off her “attack dog” and warned her that he and Hillary Clinton would “destroy” her like they “killed” Foster.
The reference to Foster echoed a conservative conspiracy theory about the death of Foster, a Clinton-era White House counsel whose death of a gunshot wound in 1993 was ruled a suicide.
(Story continues below … )
The Clinton meeting with Lynch has been raised by other Republicans in recent weeks to counter Democratic criticism of President Donald Trump‘s firing of FBI director James Comey in the wake of the agency’s Russia probe.
“To see a member of Congress pushing a conspiracy theory like this just isn’t normal,” Courtney said. “We’ve always had partisan conflict in Washington—that’s fine. But for Congressman Olson to claim without any evidence that President Clinton threatened to murder the Attorney General is disturbing at a really deep level. It’s completely untethered from reality and it shows the extent to which the GOP is willing to embrace utterly baseless conspiracy theories to rile up their base. This goes beyond irresponsibility: it’s sickness in our democracy that we should be very worried about.”
In a statement, Olson acknowledged that his remarks might have gone too far. “The personal wreckage suffered by many people during the Clinton years is well documented. Just ask Paula Jones, Jim and Susan McDougal, Kathleen Wiley and many others. However, in my discussion about Loretta Lynch and Vince Foster, I took the accusations a step too far. I regret my choice of words. The fact remains Hillary Clinton broke the law, violated national security, and was excused away by Jim Comey and the Obama Justice Department. Most Americans understand this and loathe the Clinton’s for continuing to live under a different set of rules than the rest of us.”
Olson, a five-term Republican from Sugar Land, told Malone that the meeting between Clinton and Lynch while the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails was “awfully strange,” adding this:
“I guarantee you, they had a conversation and he basically said, ‘Mrs. Lynch, call your attack dog off. We have killed people. We killed Vince Foster, we destroyed Webb Hubbell, we will destroy you.'”
The Hubbell reference is to Webster Hubbell, Clinton’s former associate attorney general and a figure in the Clinton Whitewater controversy.
Olson also called the recent Senate hearing involving Comey a “clown show,” adding that there has been a double standard in the media’s treatment of Trump and Hillary Clinton.
“The same sort of shenanigans happened in two fields, but one got all this national spotlight and all these little hearings and stuff, and one was just sort of swept under the rug like Vince Foster’s death,” Olson said.