Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, conceding that her airport meeting with former President Bill Clinton this week had cast a shadow over the federal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s personal email account, said Friday that she would accept whatever recommendations career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director made about whether to bring charges in the case.
Ms. Lynch said she had decided this spring to defer to the recommendations of her staff and the F.B.I. because her status as a political appointee sitting in judgment on a politically charged case would raise questions of a conflict of interest. But the meeting with Mr. Clinton, she acknowledged, had deepened those questions, and she said she now felt compelled to explain publicly her reasoning to try to put the concerns to rest.
“People have a whole host of reasons to have questions about how we in government do our business,” Ms. Lynch said at an Aspen Institute conference in Colorado. “My meeting on the plane with former President Clinton could give them another reason to have questions and concerns.”
Though she insisted the 30-minute conversation was a purely social encounter, Ms. Lynch said, “I certainly wouldn’t do it again.”