Attorney General Loretta Lynch Will Accept Recommendations Of Lawyers, Agents On Clinton Email Probe : The Two-Way Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she regrets that her impromptu meeting with Bill Clinton has "cast a shadow" on the investigation of Hillary Clinton's email use, but did not recuse herself.
NPR logo

Lynch Will Accept Recommendations Of Lawyers, Agents On Clinton Email Probe

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484295432/484381735" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Lynch Will Accept Recommendations Of Lawyers, Agents On Clinton Email Probe

Lynch Will Accept Recommendations Of Lawyers, Agents On Clinton Email Probe

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484295432/484381735" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Attorney General Loretta Lynch took the unusual step of speaking out about an ongoing law enforcement case today. She took that unusual step because she wants to assure people the investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server is operating free of political interference. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: The attorney general's unplanned meeting with former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Arizona this week has sent the Justice Department into a tailspin. At the Aspen Institute today, interviewer Jonathan Capehart asked Loretta Lynch the question on everyone's minds.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JONATHAN CAPEHART: What on Earth...

(LAUGHTER)

CAPEHART: ...Were you thinking. What happened?

LORETTA LYNCH: (Laughter) Well, I think that's the question of the day, isn't it.

CAPEHART: Yes.

JOHNSON: The attorney general insists a team of career lawyers and FBI agents is running the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LYNCH: And I fully expect to accept their recommendations.

JOHNSON: Lynch says she realizes the chat with Bill Clinton was a bad idea, and she wouldn't do it again.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LYNCH: The most important thing for me as the attorney general is the integrity of this Department of Justice. And the fact that the meeting that I had is now casting a shadow over how people are going to view that work is something that I take seriously and deeply and painfully.

JOHNSON: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton's political opponent, seized on the issue. On Twitter, Trump asserted without evidence that Hillary Clinton engineered the meeting, and Trump said the tarmac encounter was no coincidence. Here he is talking with ABC News.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: Well, when you meet for a half hour and you're talking about your grandchildren and a little bit about golf - I don't know, it sounds like a long meeting. It was a very sad situation.

JOHNSON: Allegations about political bias have surrounded the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton's emails for a year. But the impromptu chat between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch added fuel to the fire, and Lynch says that's what motivated her to clarify her role.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LYNCH: I understand how people view it. And I think that because of that and because of the fact that it has now cast a shadow over how this case may be perceived, and no matter how it's resolved, it's important to talk about how it will be resolved. It's important to make it clear that that meeting with President Clinton does not have a bearing.

JOHNSON: Lynch has offered no timetable for resolving the case. She says she's not being briefed on the nuts and bolts, but she says the team's working hard. The Democratic National Convention, where Hillary Clinton's preparing to accept her party's presidential nomination, is just weeks away. Her campaign has maintained silence since the tarmac meeting. But Clinton has said in the past there's no chance she'll face any criminal charges. Law enforcement sources tell NPR they don't foresee an indictment either. As for Lynch, she told the audience in Aspen there's one thing she wishes she had asked her predecessor before taking the job last year.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LYNCH: Where the lock on the plane door was.

LYNCH: Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.