Following a private meeting with Bill Clinton, Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she will follow the recommendations of career prosecutors and the FBI on the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, she said on CBSN in Colorado on July 1.
“This case will be resolved by the team that has been working on it from the beginning. … “Up to and including the FBI director,” Lynch said.
“I fully expect to accept their recommendations.”
The declaration comes after a controversial impromptu private meeting that Lynch had with former President Bill Clinton aboard her plane on the tarmac at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on Monday.
Lynch said she wouldn’t have such a meeting again, but said “that meeting with Bill Clinton will have no bearing” on the outcome of the investigation.
“I had already determined that that would be the process,” she said.
The encounter, which comes at a time when the Justice Department is investigating whether sensitive information was mishandled through Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, was lambasted by Republicans and Democrats.
But Lynch then told reporters that the meeting was not planned and that it happened when Bill Clinton was waiting to take off on another plane. She said Clinton walked over and boarded her plane after she landed there.
Lynch said Bill Clinton and her did not discuss the current investigation during their meeting, and that they talked about his grandchildren and he told her he had been playing golf in Arizona. They also discussed former Attorney General Janet Reno, whom they both know.
“There was no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body. There was no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of the State Department emails, by way of example,” Lynch said in Phoenix.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday that Lynch had properly answered questions on the meeting.
“I think the bottom line is simply that both the president and the attorney general understand how important it is for the Department of Justice to conduct investigations that are free of political interference,” said Earnest. “She certainly understands the investigations should be conducted free of political interference and consistent with the facts.”
Presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke out about the meeting saying it was probably organized by Hillary Clinton.
“Take a look at what happened w/ Bill Clinton. The system is totally rigged. Does anybody really believe that meeting was just a coincidence?” he said on Twitter.
As Bernie Sanders said, Hillary Clinton has bad judgement. Bill’s meeting was probably initiated and demanded by Hillary!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2016
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) also spoke out against Lynch and Clinton’s meeting.
“Lynch & Clinton: Conflict of interest? An attorney, cannot represent two parties in a dispute and must avoid even the appearance of conflict,” he said.
Lynch & Clinton: Conflict of interest? An attorney,cannot represent two parties in a dispute and must avoid even the appearance of conflict.
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) June 30, 2016
It is not clear how long the investigation will take, and Comey has repeatedly said there is no set timeline for concluding the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.