Thursday on CNN’s “New Day,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) weighed in on a reported meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton earlier this week at an airport in Arizona.
Coons told host Alisyn Camerota that the meeting sent “the wrong signal,” particularly as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is being investigated by the FBI for her use of a private server while secretary of state.
Partial transcript as follows:
CAMEROTA: Senator, I want to ask you about this meeting that has come to light between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former president, Bill Clinton this week. They met on, it sounds like, a tarmac on a plane — a private plane. They met together, I think, by themselves in a parked private plane and Loretta Lynch has said that this was just a — this was in — give me a minute — Monday evening in Phoenix.
And she said this was just a social meeting. She asked about his granddaughter. Many people have said was this appropriate for the attorney general of the U.S. to be meeting with the husband of the candidate who is still in the middle of this ongoing email investigation that the attorney general is overseeing? What do you think about the impropriety or the appearance of that?
COONS: Well, Alisyn, I’ve just heard about this, this morning. My impression of the meeting was that the attorney general was coming into Phoenix to give a speech about community policing and that the former president asked to talk to her briefly about community policing. I do agree with you that it doesn’t send the right signal.
I am impressed with Attorney General Loretta Lynch — the work that she’s done in combating violent crime and in leading the Department of Justice, and she has generally shown excellent judgment and strong leadership of the department. And I’m convinced that she is an independent attorney general. But I do think that this meeting —
CAMEROTA: Should she have said —
COONS: — sends the wrong signal and I don’t think it sends the right signal. I think she should have steered clear, even of a brief, casual, social meeting with the former president.
CAMEROTA: She should have said no, thank you, I’mnot available to meet right now?
COONS: I think she should have said look, I recognize you have a long record of leadership on fighting crime but this is not the time for us to have that conversation. After the election is over I’d welcome your advice and input.
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