Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Friday that she would not overrule career prosecutors who are investigating Hillary Clinton’s email practices from her time as Secretary of State, as Lynch tried to tamp down a political furor about the optics of her airport meeting this week with former President Bill Clinton.
“It really was a social meeting,” Lynch said at the Aspen Institute in Colorado, though she acknowledged that it had “cast a shadow” over the FBI investigation.
“I’ll be informed of those findings as opposed to never reading them or never seeing them, but I will be accepting their recommendations and their plan for going forward,” Lynch said.
But if you want to parse words – something the Clintons have done through the years during investigations – Lynch seemed to leave the door open to doing more than just being someone on the sidelines of the FBI probe.
At one point, Lynch said:
“I fully expect to accept their recommendations.”
About a minute later, she said something slightly different.
“And I will be accepting their recommendations.”
Republicans made plain that they were not satisfied.
“The Clinton/Lynch meeting isn’t just an “optics problem.” It’s a corruption problem,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) on Twitter.
“Message to Lynch: Recuse or Resign,” wrote Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) on Twitter.
It was pressure from Republicans that built during the week which forced Lynch’s hand on Friday; but in her public statement, the Attorney General said this decision had been made months earlier.
Asked about when the FBI probe of Clinton will wrap up, Lynch said she was in the dark.
“In terms of timing, I actually don’t know that,” as the Attorney General said she had not been told what career prosecutors had concluded as yet.