Attorney General Loretta Lynch will follow whatever recommendation the FBI and prosecutors make on whether to charge Hillary Clinton in connection to an email probe, she said today, tying her announcement to the recent controversial meeting with Bill Clinton that she called “perfectly reasonable” to question.
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"I will be accepting their recommendations and their plans for going forward," Lynch said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado.
Lynch has decided that she will green light whatever recommendation comes from the FBI and senior career lawyers in the Justice Department, after a months-long investigation tied to Clinton's use of a private email server.
This comes just days after the revelation that Lynch met privately with former president Bill Clinton during a chance encounter on the tarmac at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix earlier this week.
"Certainly, my meeting with him raises questions and concerns," Lynch acknowledged today. "It has now cast a shadow over how this case may be perceived, no matter how it's resolved. ... [But] it's important to make it clear that that meeting with President Clinton does not have a bearing on how this matter is going to be reviewed, resolved and accepted by me."
She added, however: "I certainly wouldn't do it again."
Both Lynch and Bill Clinton have insisted the meeting was completely "social," focusing on grandchildren, golf, travel, the Brexit vote, “and things like that," as Lynch put it.
The FBI is in the final stages of its email-related investigation, looking at how Hillary Clinton and her aides handled classified information when she was secretary of state.
Lynch said today that she was always planning to accept the recommendations of the career prosecutors and investigators, but in the wake of questions over her meeting with Bill Clinton, she wants to explain further how the process will be handled.
"It's being handled by career investigators and career agents, who always follow facts and the law and do the same thorough and independent examination in this matter that they’ve done in all [investigations]," she said. "The career people ... are independent, they live from administration to administration."
The determinations and findings by career investigators will be "reviewed" by senior career lawyers in the Justice Department and FBI Director James Comey, who will then brief the findings to Lynch, according to the Justice Department.
"This case will be resolved by the team that's been working on it from the beginning," Lynch insisted today.
As for the impromptu meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton Monday night, it lasted about 30 minutes.
In Aspen today, a reporter began his questions about the meeting by asking the attorney general, "What on earth were you thinking?"
"I think that's the question of the day isn't it,” she said, adding, “I think that's a perfectly reasonable question.”
Asked why she wasn't fully recusing herself from the case, Lynch said a formal recusal "would mean that I wouldn't even be briefed on what the findings were, or what the actions going forward would be. And while I don't have a role ... in coming up with those findings or making those recommendations on how to move forward, I will be briefed on it, and I will be accepting their recommendations."
Lynch had explained the Bill Clinton encounter at a news conference Wednesday. "As I was landing, he was headed out," she said "He did come over and say hello and speak to my husband and myself."
"There was no discussion on any matter pending before the department or any matter pending with any other body. There was no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of State Department emails," Lynch said at another news conference Tuesday.