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Attorney general wishes she hadn’t met with Bill Clinton

  • FILE - In this May 13, 2016, file photo, former President Bill Clinton speaks while campaigning for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, N.J. His popularity among Democrats is off the charts, he's a fundraising powerhouse and his administration is hailed by many as a high-water mark of economic prosperity. Without question, one of the key assets in Hillary Clinton's second campaign for the White House is her husband, Bill. And yet, there are still times when the former president can step in it. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks in Washington. Former President Bill Clinton spoke with Lynch during an impromptu meeting in Phoenix, but Lynch says the discussion did not involve the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use as secretary of state.

WASHINGTON » Attorney General Loretta Lynch is expressing regret that she sat down with Bill Clinton while his wife is under federal criminal investigation, a chance encounter she acknowledges “cast a shadow” on the public’s perception of a case bound to influence the presidential campaign.

“I certainly wouldn’t do it again,” Lynch said of the meeting. For Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, the episode raised the risk that voters will see her anew as half of a power couple that makes its own rules.

Lynch hastened to add that she would follow the recommendations of career prosecutors on whether to file criminal charges at the close of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, removing herself from that decision.

The attorney general’s remarks at a conference in Colorado were aimed at tamping down concerns that the investigation could be politically tainted or that Lynch, an Obama administration appointee, might overrule the findings of agents and prosecutors. They have spent months looking into the possible mishandling of classified information on the private email server Clinton used as secretary of state.

Lynch said she understood that her private meeting with Clinton aboard her plane in Phoenix might be seen as compromising the neutrality of the investigation, even though she said the chat was largely social and her department’s probe of Hillary Clinton was not discussed.

Asked what she was thinking in permitting the meeting to occur, Lynch said: “I completely get that question, and I think it is the question of the day.”

The outcome of the investigation is likely to shape the presidential campaign, whether to Clinton’s benefit if she emerges unscathed or to Republican rival Donald Trump’s advantage in the event that she or anyone close to her winds up prosecuted.

Bill Clinton’s approach of the attorney general also could aggravate questions of trust that already hang over Hillary Clinton in the minds of some voters — even if she’s never charged. She has struggled through the campaign to overcome unease about her honesty even while she asserts that she is more trustworthy than Trump on issues that matter most to voters.

Trump tweeted that “Bill’s meeting was probably initiated and demanded by Hillary,” without offering evidence of that. “Does anybody really believe that meeting was just a coincidence?” he asked. The Clinton campaign declined to comment on Lynch’s remarks.

Lynch said she had decided even before the tarmac meeting to heed the recommendations of a team of federal agents and career prosecutors who have been working on the case. But she acknowledged that the talk with Bill Clinton had become a “painful” episode that reinforced the need for her to cede ultimate decision-making authority to others.

The encounter was especially sensitive given the repeated efforts by Lynch and FBI Director James Comey to stress that the investigation is being done independently and without regard to politics by federal agents and career prosecutors.

“This case will be resolved by the team that’s been working on it from the beginning,” she said.

Bill Clinton, like his wife’s campaign, declined through spokespeople to comment on Lynch’s remarks.

It’s certainly not the first time the ex-president’s missteps, often on behalf of his wife, have attracted attention. In February, for instance, he compared supporters of Clinton opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders to GOP tea party activists and recently described the controversy over his wife’s private email server as a “game.”

Congressional Republicans seized on the meeting between the former president and the attorney general.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the third-ranking House Republican, said Lynch should recuse herself entirely from the case and appoint a special prosecutor. Lynch had said she would still be briefed on the investigation and review the results, but let the career officials make the call on whether a prosecution should go ahead.

“The notion that the prosecutor, the person who runs the Justice Department, would spend 30 minutes in a private conversation with the spouse of someone her department is investigating raises all sorts of red flags and even Democrats have admitted it,” GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told Miami 610 WIOD Radio.

Lynch says the meeting was unplanned and happened while the former president was waiting to depart on another plane. She said he walked over and boarded her plane after she landed.

She said Clinton talked about his grandchildren and told her he had been playing golf in Arizona. She said they discussed former Attorney General Janet Reno, whom they both know.

“We basically said hello, and I congratulated him on his grandchildren as people tend to do,” she said today. “It really was a social meeting,” she added. “He spoke to me, he spoke to my husband.”

Orlando, Florida, attorney John Morgan, a longtime Clinton fundraiser, said that’s the Bill Clinton he knows. “If, in the plane next to his was me, he would come over and come up, because that is what he does,” Morgan said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Loretta Lynch or Loretta Lynn. He’s coming over if he knows you.”

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Donna Cassata, Stephen Braun, Kathleen Hennessy and Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.

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  • of course this decision had nothing to do with her private meeting with Billy Clinton. Not even a smidgen of impropriety there…..right?

  • It sure looks like the AG got caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She should have told slick Willy we can’t talk or even be seen together. If it wasn’t for the TV Station report no one would have known. Come on now, meeting in an airplane on the apron under cover of darkness? Clinton went golfing in Phoenix in a 108 degree heat wave? I just hope for the Country’s sake Hilliary’s supporters are not that stupid.
    Trump should save his shekels and let Hilliary’s campaign self implode.

  • I can’t see any advice she may have given surreptitiously being able to somehow change the outcome and now that she recused herself even more so. Obviously, even without this meeting, the Republicans would have cried foul if she overrode the decision by the FBI and/or prosecutors.

      • she should though. but she has to make sure the outcome is in the Clintons favor whether it should be or not. If she recuses herself the 2nd in command may actually have some ethics and do what is right.

  • Finally the corruption in the Obama Administration i,s revealed by Bill Clinton meeting with Lorreta Lynn, the Obama clone. A corruption that the liberal media cannot ignore.
    If Donald Trump is elected President of the United States, I wouldn’t be surprise of his new U.S. Attorney General will send our Muslim President Barack Hussien Obama and Hillary Clinton to the Federal court for some Federal Prison time. At the sametime disbar Lorreta Lynch from her law practices.

  • Impropriety? For a top law enforcement officer of the government to allow such a chance clandestine meeting for 30 minutes certainly defies information exchanged between the parties especially in view that the spouse is a subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI??? When requested by the former President for a chance meeting is allowed under such unusually circumstance how else can the general public can perceive transpired? Further the incident of such explosive nature was kept secret by the AG can only conjure conspiracy?? Yes!

  • obama has acknowledged the f.b.i. investigation as criminal. lynch has stated she will accept the prosecutors’ recommendations if they seek to indict hiliar when the f.b.i. completes its criminal investigation. perhaps lynch’s meeting with slick was to prepare him for the possibility of a hiliar indictment and the inevitable hildebeast reaction.

    the f.b.i. would be doing the democrats a favor by securing a hiliar indictment before the end of the democrat convention as the democrats would still have time to submit their “b” team options. an early indictment would also free up deep pockets of donors who would otherwise be tapped out by their financial support of hiliar.

    f.b.i. indictments after the convention would force the democrat party to scramble trying to get all the delegates together again to fill their ticket in time for certifications of state ballots. it would be even more challenging if the beast’s co-conspirators were also indicted as the party’s leadership would be in a vacuum.

  • Love republicans. Full of imaginary fears and the belief that something bad must have happened in that brief meeting. I understand. If a republican president had did the same thing, you know he would be trying to cover up something.

    • I’m a democrat and Lynch should have known better than to allow this meeting with Bill Clinton to happen. Hillary is a liar and corrupt but our left wingers have blinders on.

    • Even Democrats are admitting that this meeting was inappropriate. Put your obviously grossly partisan views aside. It doesn’t matter what was discussed. She’s in charge of the highest DOJ position in the country. Surely a person appointed to that position by any political party should have the experience to know that this is just not done in the legal field at any level private or governmental.

      • But wasn’t she(Lynch) the one that started the talking points about how the Bengazie attack started by a reaction to a video on youtube about their god? Her judgement is questionable. She probably got her law degree because of racial quota at the college she attended and not her intelligence.

        • You’ve just described affirmative action.
          This is what you get when you hire people based upon the color of their skin rather than the content of their character.

        • That’s why they got Josh as the spokesman. Racial diversification. He must have to wash his mouth out with soap after every press conference.

    • yes, whenever Hillary is attacked its a right wing conspiracy. When ever Obama is attacked its racism. It happens so often maybe its just people dont like them. Im a registered republican and I cannot see how Trump is our nominee, he makes my stomach churn. But Hillary is no better. I do not know how the citizens of the USA can vote for either of these two.

  • Inappropriate meeting because it now raises the “PERCEPTION” of collusion between the Clintons and the AG involving the FBI investigation into Hillary’s Email controversy. How could a supposedly intelligent, fair minded Loretta Lynch let this occur? Rigged system?

    • He must be sporting a couple of shiners today. Their mansion must be a mess. Broken vases, lamps and anything not bolted down. He was careless and a mistake. Spousal abuse?

      • Both of them need some judgment classes. Why in heck did she give a talk to Goldman Sachs for a measly $225,000 and then turn around and say she’s against Wall Street????

  • This is only a story for the aluminum foil hat crowd that sees a conspiracy in every closet. If there was going to be some secret discussion, what person with a fully intact brain would think that it would be at an airport, with others within earshot? The whole premise is ridiculous.

    But this is the way Republicans think. They’re going to nominate a bigoted, racist buffoon who won’t release his tax returns, and cannot utter a single coherent thought without a Teleprompter. It figures that they would think a meeting at an airport was some kind of 007 event.

    • Again you bloviate and prove how _______ you are. From Obamacare being O’s Signature Legacy…to Mike Brown (Ferguson, Missouri) and how you said your friends (10+) there would challenge the St. Louis Grand Jury’s decision on Officer Wilson being cleared of any wrongdoing, oh and by the way, the DOJ clearing him of any Civil Rights violations as well, to the “SKY IS FALLING” on Brexit…now your delusional spin on this story. I know you’re going to call me a liar but you have lost all credibility. Go sip your wine and go get drunk but please don’t drive ok!

        • Not only is O the worst potus in American history but also the most corrupt administration ever!

        • I…..i think it was The State Department.Who said, they will release Hillary’s Emails in “22” months? OMG! Correct me if i am wrong. More Damage Control? you tell me.

        • Reporter Christopher Sign of ABC 15 in Phoenix AZ: “FBI ordered ‘no photos, no pictures, no cell phones’ during Clinton/Lynch meeting.”
          The FIX is in..even with the FBI??!!

    • Klastri, what are we going to do with you? You are always quick to call be people liars and chastise them for not doing research before commenting. You need to take a dose of your own medicine. The meeting between Clinton and Lynch did not simply occur at an airport with others within earshot. You make it appear like it occurred in a passenger terminal. It was a private meeting that occurred on Lynch’s private plane. There was no one within earshot because FBI agents on the tarmac kept everyone away and instructed no photos, no pictures, no cell phones.

    • Klastri: I agree with your assessment of Trump and also agree that Trump will lose to Hillary but NO WAY the meeting between Bill and Lynch was by chance alone. Don’t take a mind reader to figure out Hillary through Bill offered Lynch a chance to continue on as Attorney General if Hillary becomes Pres of the US. And Hillary will have a hard time doing that if she gets indicted. Saw an online Foxnews interview of Janine Shapiro and she was very insightful in pointing out the key point that Hillary is claiming “everyone” knew about her home brew email server, and that was code that Obama as Pres of the US knew about it. Shapiro theorized to indict Hillary on her email would be an indictment on Obama as Pres of the US because he was aware of her server and did nothing about. Lynch will protect Obama at all costs and the same time she might as well continue on as Attorney General under a Hillary Administration. Trump is slime but so is Hillary and Bill. The third party candidate is not an option and is like Nader, unfit to be Pres of the US. I am starting to rationalize that Hillary and her “shadow” advisor/Vice-President husband Bill who was a pretty capable Pres of the US; FAR more capable to lead the US over Trump and any of his “experienced” VP candidates like Chris Christie or Gingrinch. Never mind Trump is a racist and liar probably related to his actual wealth, the guy honestly does not have the temperament to be leader of the free world. Also I figure like June Jones, age has caught up with Bill and his plumbing “down there” is getting old and backed up and no longer has the constant itch that needs to be scratched by interns like Monica. More and more I am beginning to reluctantly agree with you that Hillary is the lessor of the all the evils to become the next Pres of the US and that Bill Clinton will be an asset in assisting the country in addressing Islamic terrorism and improving the economy. Obama was not so good but Bush-2’s BS bogus war on Iraq for the second time eclipses Obama as the worst Pres of the US. One thing I agree with Trump is that Bush-2, Cheney, Rumsefeld are all liars that got the US into a bogus war with Iraq.

  • Did “Billy BoB’, just handed Loretta Lynch her resignation?? Does this guy have any brain cells left? Are kidding me? I mean look at “the Optics”? A picture speaks a thousand words. They claim they were merely/casually talking about their Grand children? I don’t buy it! You know when it comes down to Bill Clinton it’s usually nothing good! He’s collecting on a debt.

    In my mind if Loretta Lynch has any integrity left,she should recuse herself from this case. And let congress appoint an independent entity to investigate Hillary Clinton.
    “High information People” know that this is just another attempt at “Damage Control” in trying to save Hillary’s sinking numbers in the polls.

    Get a load of this! Quinnipiac poll is dead EVEN and another poll ,a non bias poll, Rasmussen . Who has Trump ahead by 4 points. that’s right you read correct, Ahead!
    Non of the MSM polls are credible. They don’t count! Because we all know they’re all in bed with the Clintons.
    So get ready y’all, Donald is just getting started with Hillary. Let’s make America Great Again.

  • “…though many legal experts see any criminal prosecution in this matter as exceedingly unlikely.” What? Where does this come from. Certainly not from the many articles and op-eds across the nation over time on the matter. If anything, this is an example of an unsubstantiated, erroneous assertion proffered by the liberal, mainstream, media that only seeks to distort the truth from the public. In other words, this lie gets published, people read it, thinking it’s the truth, then next thing you know it becomes reality b/c of the change in public opinion. The media needs to improve its reporting and stop putting out baseless assertions as if they were fact. Provide sources for such baldfaced statements if you think it’s in fact true.

  • Lynch claims that she and Bill Clinton discussed mostly social stuff during the 30 minute meetings. Mostly social stuff means some was not so social. Strange, isn’t it that the day after the meeting, DOJ lawyers were in court trying to get a 27-month delay in the release of several thousand emails between State department officials and the Clinton Foundation and Teneo Holdings, a closely allied public relations firm that Bill Clinton helped launch, which transpired while Hillary was Secretary of State. Coincidental? I don’t think so.

    • Yes not coincidental. Lynch stated we talked about social things, etc. If so would not of asked how is your wife doing? Is her campaign going good? Come on talking social and about grandchildren and no where in the conversation anything asked about grandma?

      This may be a ploy by Billy, employing tactics that will tip the scales helping to make sure his wife is elected. Sly fellow and a plan that he knows may just be what the doctor ordered.

      America needs to wake up about having family controlling the White House for 4 terms.

  • A little too late for regret for this lapse in judgement ……giving the appearance of impropriety….she being the top law enforcer in the nation definitely should have known better….big lost of credibility……

    • As a taxpayer you must question this misappropriation of our tax dollars. If she diverted to PHX for a social visit she should be charged for it.

  • Maybe one of the problems with the Obama Administration is they don’t communicate. No emails, never discussed, haven’t talked about it – only meetings in a corner of the airport. No witnesses, no record of the meeting, vanished into thin air. They don’t know the whereabouts of the Commander in Chief on 9/11/2012? Releases 5 radicals for 1 deserter? Doesn’t know who’s bombing the living day lights out of us. Her supporters need to get some help especially one of them. His name starts with k.

  • 23 days until the democrat convention. wonder if the fed grand jury will issue the true bill the friday before the democrat convention or during the week of july 25 when the democrat convention is in progress.

    the beast will not go quietly. slick fought his impeachment all the way. chelsea ignored her father’s and future father’s-in-law indictments, arrests, convictions and prison time for fraud. hiliar is going to be a snarling spitter that won’t voluntarily leave the ticket. democrats are going to be severely challenged to put a winning ticket together, even with biden already practicing his acceptance speech.

  • lets get real. Its not so much she met with him as it was that 1) he waited for her plane 2) they didnt meet and just say hi, shake hands and leave 3) they went inside without any press or aides, for 30 minutes 4) the press and others were instructed no cameras, no cell phones, no photos period. That means they were trying to hide something. If its just “how are the grandchildren”, then that would have been a nice photo/press opportunity. The Clintons are like John Gotti, who was called the Telfon Don. Things just slide right off them.

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