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Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks as then-FBI Director James Comey listens during a news conference. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch released a statement on Sunday, saying that she and former FBI Director James Comey have known each other almost 30 years, and "he had ample opportunities to raise" any concerns he had over the Department of Justice's investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails, but "[h]e never did."

The backdrop: Per CNN, Comey says in his forthcoming book that he found evidence that "would undoubtedly have been used by political opponents to cast serious doubt on the attorney general's independence in connection with the Clinton investigation." He also takes issue with Lynch's decision to refer to the Clinton email investigation as a "matter." Lynch's statement comes just before Comey's interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos airs — and days before his book release.

Lynch's statement in full:

"Over almost two decades as a federal prosecutor I have aggressively prosecuted drug dealers, violent gangs, mobsters, and money launderers, upheld the civil rights of all Americans, and fought corruption all types — whether by elected officials from both sides of the aisle or within organizations like FIFA. Through it all I have never hesitated to make the hard decisions, guided by the Department of Justice’s core principles of integrity, independence and above all, always doing the right thing.
The Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email investigation under my leadership was no exception. It was led by a team of non-partisan career prosecutors whose integrity cannot be overstated and whom I trusted to assess the facts and make a recommendation — one that I ultimately accepted because I thought the evidence and law warranted it.
Everyone who works for the Department of Justice has an obligation to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the work of the Department. That is why, at the critical early stages of this case, I followed the Department’s long-standing policy of neither confirming nor denying the fact of an ongoing investigation. This policy both predates my tenure in the Department and will live on long after the current debate is over. It neither misleads nor misinforms, but instead both protects investigations and guarantees equal treatment of those under scrutiny, whether well-known or unknown. Any suggestion that I invoked this bedrock policy for any other reason is simply false.
Throughout the process I did what I always do: rise above politics and uphold the law. At no time did I ever discuss any aspect of the investigation with anyone from the Clinton campaign or the DNC.
I have known James Comey almost 30 years. Throughout his time as Director we spoke regularly about some of the most sensitive issues in law enforcement and national security. If he had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did."

Go deeper

California father and son accused of "reckless arson" in Calder Fire

Firefighters at the Caldor Fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe, California, in September. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California officials said they arrested a father and son Wednesday on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire, which threatened the Lake Tahoe area as it burned for over two months earlier this year. They deny any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: The wildfire was the 15th-biggest ever recorded in California, razing more than 1,000 structures, forcing thousands to evacuate and injuring five people as it burned across nearly 222,000 acres of land in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.

FDA approves AstraZeneca COVID drug for people with immune problems

Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody drug for people with compromised immune systems.

Why it matters: The drug, Evusheld, is the first antibody therapy authorized in the U.S. to prevent coronavirus symptoms before virus exposure.