Friday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Attorney General Loretta Lynch answered questions about the process going forward in the email investigation into presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email sever during her tenure as secretary of state. The issue has been a focus particularly after Lynch’s reported meeting earlier in the week with former President Bill Clinton.
Lynch said she would not recuse herself but she would fully accept the recommendations of the career investigators now handling the case.
Partial transcript as follows:
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Having the highest integrity, utmost solid judgment, so when people heard what went down in Phoenix, a lot of people are like, I mean, friends, supporters, backers, are saying what on earth was she thinking? Talking to Bill Clinton. So what on earth were you thinking? What happened?
LORETTA LYNCH: Well that’s the question of the day, isn’t it. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable question. I ts the question that is called by what happened in Phoenix because people have also wondered and raised questions about my role in the ultimate resolution of matters involving the investigation into the state department e-mails. and to the extent that people have questions about that, about my role in that, certainly my meeting with him raises questions and concerns. And so believe me, I completely get that question, and I think it is the question of the day. But I think the issue is again, what is my role in how that matter is going to be resolved. So let me be clear on how that is going to be resolved. I have gotten that question a lot also over time and we usually don’t go into those deliberations but I do think it’s important that people see what that process is like. As I have always indicated, the matter’s being handled by career agents and investigators with the Department of Justice. They have had it since the beginning. they are —
CAPEHART: Which predates your tenure as Attorney General.
LYNCH: Predates my tenure as attorney general. It is the same team. And they are acting independently. They follow the law, they follow the facts. That team will make findings, that is to say, they will come up with a chronology of what happened, the factual scenario. They will make recommendations as to how to resolve what those facts lead to. The recommendations will be reviewed by career supervisors in the Department of Justice and in the FBI, and by the FBI director, and then as is the common process, they present it to me and I fully expect to accept their recommendations.
CAPEHART: What’s interesting here is you say you fully expect to accept their recommendations. One thing people were saying this morning when the news broke was that you were quote, recusing yourself from having any kind of role in the final determination. Is that the case? Is that what you’re saying?
LYNCH: Recusal would mean I wouldn’t even be briefed on what the findings were or what the actions going forward would be. And while I don’t have a role in those coming up with those findings or making those recommendations as to how to go forward, I will be briefed on it and i will be accepting their recommendations.
CAPEHART: When you say again, this must be the journalist in me and the linguist in me, accepting to me means here, Madam Attorney General, here are our findings and you completely accept them whole-heatedly and issue them to the public or you accept them, look them over and then make your own determination as to what the final determination will be?
LYNCH: No. the final determination as to how to proceed will be contained within the recommendations in the report and whatever format the team puts it together, that has not been resolved, whatever report they provide to me. There will be a review of their investigation. There will be review of what they have found and determined to have happened and occurred and it will be their determinations as to how they feel the case should proceed.