a matter

kazuhiko fudaba

Senior Member
Japanese
In the article of NY Times: Mr.Comey and All the President's lies, there are sentences as follows.

When Mr.Trump demanded that Mr.Comey pledge his personal "loyalty," he refused, offering only his "honesty." When Loretta Lynch,
President Barack Obama's attorny general, asked him lasst year to call the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server
"a matter," he reluctantly complied, but he was repelled by the "political" nature of the request,he said Thursday.

Question) What does "a matter" mean in this sentence?

Thank you
K.Fudaba
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    As it is in quotation marks, this indicates a specialised meaning - here it would mean "a matter for official investigation" i.e. something that would be investigated by the FBI or a similar body that could bring criminal charges.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The significance of it's use here is that Loretta Lynch wanted him to use the word "matter" instead of a more serious and specific word, like "investigation". She was trying to make what was going on seem less important and less serious. "Matter" is a vague word that doesn't call to mind legal issues. "Investigation" implies that there may be wrongdoing involved.

    Loretta Lynch worked for Barack Obama, who was an ally of Hillary Clinton. Lynch was trying to use her influence (and the influence of the president) to make things politically easier for Clinton during the election campaign.

    Comey says he was "repelled", meaning he felt like she was politically interfering with his job of doing an honest, unbiased investigation.
     
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