Attorney General Will Defer To F.B.I. In Investigation Of Hillary Clinton’s Email

Attorney General Loretta Lynch will essentially recuse herself from making a decision about indictments in the investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server.

Loretta Lynch

In the wake of revelations yesterday that she spent a half hour talking alone with former President Bill Clinton on the tarmac of an Arizona airport, Attorney General Loretta Lynch is set to announce that she will essentially recuse herself from any decision regarding whether or not to issue indictments in connection with the still-ongoing F.B.I. investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and her relationship with the Clinton Foundation during her time in office:

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch plans to announce on Friday that she will accept whatever recommendation career prosecutors and the F.B.I.director make about whether to bring charges related to Hillary Clinton’s personal email server, a Justice Department official said. Her decision removes the possibility that a political appointee will overrule investigators in the case.

The Justice Department had been moving toward such an arrangement for months — officials said in April that it was being considered — but a private meeting between Ms. Lynch and former President Bill Clinton this week set off a political furor and made the decision all but inevitable.

Republicans said the meeting, which took place at the Phoenix airport, had compromised the independence of the investigation as the F.B.I. was winding it down. Some called for Ms. Lynch to recuse herself, but she did not take herself off the case — one that could influence a presidential election.

Ms. Lynch plans to discuss the matter at a conference in Aspen, Colo., on Friday. The Justice Department declined to comment. The official who confirmed the discussion did so on the condition of anonymity because the internal decision-making process is normally kept confidential.

The F.B.I. is investigating whether Mrs. Clinton, her aides or anyone else broke the law by setting up a private email server for her to use as secretary of state. Internal investigators have concluded that the server was used to send classified information, and Republicans have seized on the matter to question Mrs. Clinton’s judgment.

For the Justice Department, the central question is whether the conduct met the legal standard for the crime of mishandling classified information.

Ms. Lynch said that the meeting with Mr. Clinton was unplanned, largely social and did not touch on the email investigation. She suggested that he walked uninvited from his plane to her government plane, both of which were parked on a tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

“He did come over and say hello, and speak to my husband and myself, and talk about his grandchildren and his travels and things like that,” Ms. Lynch said at a news conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, where she was promoting community policing. “That was the extent of that. And no discussions were held into any cases or things like that.”

That did not mollify Republican lawmakers, who said the meeting raised questions about the integrity of the government’s investigation.

“In light of the apparent conflicts of interest, I have called repeatedly on Attorney General Lynch to appoint a special counsel to ensure the investigation is as far from politics as possible,” Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement on Thursday.

The meeting created an awkward situation for Ms. Lynch, a veteran prosecutor who was nominated from outside Washington’s normal political circles. In her confirmation, her allies repeatedly sought to contrast her with her predecessor, Eric H. Holder Jr., an outspoken liberal voice in the administration who clashed frequently with Republicans who accused him of politicizing the office.

Ms. Lynch has said she wants to handle the Clinton investigation like any other case. Since the attorney general often follows the recommendations of career prosecutors, Ms. Lynch is keeping the regular process largely intact.

Her reassurance that she will not overrule her investigators, however, is significant. When the F.B.I. sought to bring felony charges against David H. Petraeus, the former C.I.A. director, for mishandling classified information and lying about it, Mr. Holder stepped in and reduced the charge to a misdemeanor. That decision created a deep — and public — rift.

The F.B.I. is expected to make a recommendation to the Justice Department in the coming weeks, though agents have yet to interview Mrs. Clinton. While some legal experts said they believed that criminal indictments in the case were unlikely, the investigation continues to cast a shadow over Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Even before the revelations about Lynch’s meeting with Clinton, there were many calling on Lynch to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the final decision making regarding what to do in connection with this investigation or to hand the matter over to the career attorneys at the Justice Department due to the rather obvious conflicts of interest that already existed. Specifically, there’s the fact that Lynch is, in the end, a political appointee and the person who appointed her has already endorsed the person who is at the center of an ongoing investigation. Under those circumstances, it would seem to be advisable to remove the investigation from even the appearance of political influence or impropriety by handing it off to someone disconnected from the political process. In the past, that was accomplished by handing the matter off to a special prosecutor who was generally selected by a panel of Judges and given the full authority of the Justice Department to investigate some matter deemed to be “too political” for the Attorney General to handle without allegations that they were being influenced by politics. As we discovered as time went on, though, a prosecutor with an essentially unlimited agenda and an equally unlimited budget posed as many dangers as a Department of Justice that may or may not be influenced by politics in a specific case. As a result, it’s become more common to deal with the issue of political influence by handing responsibility for investigations in some cases over to the career attorneys at the Justice Department who cannot be removed from office on the whim of a President or Attorney General. It’s not a perfect solution, but it does avoid a good part of the appearance of impropriety that leaving cases like this in political hands inevitably creates.

Lynch had been resisting demands from Republicans that she recuse herself from making any final decisions about indictments, but that largely became impossible after yesterday’s revelations about her meeting with former President Clinton in Phoenix:

An airport encounter this week between Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and former President Bill Clinton has welled into a political storm, with Republicans asserting that it compromised the Justice Department’s politically sensitive investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices while she was secretary of state.

The Obama administration declined to say on Thursday whether the meeting between Ms. Lynch and Mr. Clinton, in Phoenix on Monday night, was appropriate. The press secretary, Josh Earnest, said that the investigation of Mrs. Clinton would be free of political influence and that he would leave it to the attorney general to explain the meeting.

Ms. Lynch said the meeting with Mr. Clinton was unplanned, largely social and did not touch on the email investigation. She suggested that he walked uninvited from his plane to her government plane, which were both parked on a tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

“He did come over and say hello, and speak to my husband and myself, and talk about his grandchildren and his travels and things like that,” Ms. Lynch said at a news conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, where she was promoting community policing. “That was the extent of that. And no discussions were held into any cases or things like that.”

(…)

Even some Democrats expressed uneasiness with the appearance the meeting created.

“I do agree with you that it doesn’t send the right signal,” Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, said in response to a question on CNN’s “New Day” program. Ms. Lynch “has generally shown excellent judgment and strong leadership of the department, and I’m convinced that she’s an independent attorney general. But I do think that this meeting 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.”

From an ethical point of view, it seems blindingly obvious that Lynch’s meeting with former President Clinton was not at all appropriate and that she should have declined to speak with him. Even if the meeting did only touch on personal and family matters, the prospect of the Attorney General of the United States having a one-on-one meeting with someone being investigated by the F.B.I. in a matter where the final decision regarding an indictment was, at the time, still in her lap was entirely inappropriate. Even taking the Attorney General at her word that there was no discussion about the ongoing F.B.I. investigation, there is at the very least an appearance of impropriety that both Lynch and Clinton should have known better than to help create by letting the meeting happen at all. Granted, Lynch may have felt that it would have been awkward to turn down a meeting with a former President who also happens to be the person who first appointed her to be U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, a position she held for the final two years of Clinton’s Administration. And one can largely put a lot of the blame for this mess on Clinton, who apparently bounded onto the blame even though his own handlers from Hillary’s campaign questioned whether it would be a good idea. Notwithstanding all of that, Lynch never should have taken the meeting and President Clinton never should have tried to initiate it. As long as this investigation is pending, and even with this effective recusal from final decision making, Lynch remains the person who is at the top of the pyramid and thus any contact between her and anyone connected to the subject of the investigation, especially a husband who could be a material witness himself, is entirely inappropriate.

Lynch’s decision to defer to the F.B.I. in the matter goes a long way toward dealing with these ethical issues, but it would have been preferable if it hadn’t been necessary to raise them at all.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Hillary Clinton, Law and the Courts, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rick DeMent says:

    Am I the only one who sees the irony in Republicans flipping a out over what they see as a partisan investigation into an issue that came to light in their partisan investigation?

    I mean why should the Democrats not make this investigation full throated and unapologetically partisan?

  2. Ben Franklin says:

    How anyone can support the hypocrisy that is Hillary Clinton is mind numbing. Great news for Justice. Between Comey and Judge Sullivan HRC will be toast.

  3. Guarneri says:

    At least we see they hold the sanctity of the privacy of the grandchildren and the finer points of golf course architecture in highest regard………snicker.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/07/01/reporter-fbi-ordered-no-photos-no-pictures-no-cell-phones-during-clintonlynch-meeting/

  4. Nikki says:

    If the FBI decides no crime was committed and no indictment will be forthcoming, will the right accept that judgement and admit this was yet another nothing burger?

  5. Barry says:

    Doug: “Even before the revelations about Lynch’s meeting with Clinton, there were many calling on Lynch to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the final decision making regarding what to do in connection with this investigation or to hand the matter over to the career attorneys at the Justice Department due to the rather obvious conflicts of interest that already existed. Specifically, there’s the fact that Lynch is, in the end, a political appointee and the person who appointed her has already endorsed the person who is at the center of an ongoing investigation. Under those circumstances, it would seem to be advisable to remove the investigation from even the appearance of political influence or impropriety by handing it off to someone disconnected from the political process.”

    Actually, no. the policy of the GOP was that only Republicans could investigate Republicans, and only Republicans could investigate Democrats.

    This is just drumming up more bullshit.

  6. Jen says:
  7. humanoid.panda says:

    That meeting was a political malfeasance of the first degree, but anyone claiming that a public meeting is evidence of conspiracy is a sub-hack..

  8. MarkedMan says:

    More BS. Clinton and Lynch, who’ve known each other for years, were both waiting in the same area of the airport. He went over and said hello. And to the Republican’s this is the ultimate in sleaze. This is just more of the Republican slime machine. This is what they do rather than, you know, govern. This is what they do instead of ensuring we have adequate infrastructure, or that internet safety is improved, or deal with the fact that criminal activities are increasing moving online, or any one of 10,000 things that they should be doing. Because “Benghazi!”

  9. Moosebreath says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “He went over and said hello.”

    Half an hour (from first line of the post) is a helluva long time to just say hello.

  10. DK says:

    “…the prospect of the Attorney General of the United States having a one-on-one meeting with someone being investigated by the F.B.I…”

    She didn’t meet with Hillary Clinton.

  11. stonetools says:

    There was nothing wrong with this meeting, and everyone knows this. The Republicans are making a stink over this because they can.

    Even if the meeting did only touch on personal and family matters, the prospect of the Attorney General of the United States having a one-on-one meeting with someone being investigated by the F.B.I. in a matter where the final decision regarding an indictment was, at the time, still in her lap was entirely inappropriate.

    I was unaware that Bill Clinton was the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. Maybe you can expand on the details of this.
    And if you say that’s nitpicking, lets point that the this entire ridiculous Benghazi affair has been about nitpicking .
    Frankly, it’s time that the FBI wrap up this BS quickly and release their report. Let’s hope they do it in the next couple of weeks.

  12. steve s says:

    Ben Franklin says:
    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 08:25
    How anyone can support the hypocrisy that is Hillary Clinton is mind numbing. Great news for Justice. Between Comey and Judge Sullivan HRC will be toast.

    This guy goes by Ben Franklin the same way the enormous guy at the frat house goes by ‘Tiny’.

  13. steve s says:

    Nikki says:
    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 09:26
    If the FBI decides no crime was committed and no indictment will be forthcoming, will the right accept that judgement and admit this was yet another nothing burger?

    you know some conservatives are now saying that Trey Gowdy is part of Hillary’s coverup, right?

  14. stonetools says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Bill Clinton is famous for being long winded and a schmoozer who will talk about anything to anybody who will listen . H3ll, this is a man who called GWB during the 2008 primary campaign and talked GWB’s ear off about how the press was being unfair to Hillary.Bush had to calm him down.
    This is all perfectly within character.
    Heck, what are the conspiracy theorists even saying happened? That Bill Clinton met with Lynch in an airport to cook up a conspiracy with the Attorney General to scuttle the best known FBI investigation in history? That’s so ludicrous that just to think about it is to dismiss it.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Nikki: Good one.

  16. Loviatar says:

    I guess now that the “Benghazi Scandal” has been debunked for the 8th time, the “e-Mail scandal” is back on the radar.

    tag: semi-respectable mouthpiece

  17. stonetools says:

    @Nikki:

    If the FBI decides no crime was committed and no indictment will be forthcoming, will the right accept that judgement and admit this was yet another nothing burger?

    Heh, everyone knows the answer to this. “That’s just evidence of how deep this conspiracy goes!!!”

  18. Gavrilo says:

    @Nikki:

    If the FBI decides no crime was committed and no indictment will be forthcoming, will the right accept that judgement and admit this was yet another nothing burger?

    If the FBI decides that a crime was committed will the left accept the judgment or immediately piss and moan because James Comey is a Republican?

    (Btw, I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that Hillary Clinton will be indicted, but it works both ways.)

  19. Moosebreath says:

    @stonetools:

    Remember what I was responding to (from MarkedMan):

    “Clinton and Lynch, who’ve known each other for years, were both waiting in the same area of the airport. He went over and said hello.”

    Saying hello takes 10 seconds. Asking about the family could make this a 5 minute conversation (maybe) and would be a conversation they could have in public. When you get to 30 minutes and keep the press away, it’s more than plausible this was not just a social conversation.

    Now I don’t think this was a conspiracy, especially if they had no way of knowing each other would be there (as I have heard). But the optics here are horrible. And both of them should have known that and acted accordingly.

  20. Jc says:

    I think we need a hearing and investigation into this meeting. Also, any phone records for both parties during the time frame of this meeting as they may have secretly exchanged texts while having small talk to cover up the true meaning of this meeting. Both planes should be searched with a fine toothed comb. All people present on said planes should be made to testify under oath. I can hear it now “You are quoted as saying he discussed his grandchildren, can you recall exactly what was said? …what were you really discussing on that plane! answer the question! I want the truth!” to which Lynch would reply, “You can’t handle the truth!, as evidenced by when the truth comes out, you still have another 6-7 investigations into the truth!”

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Ben Franklin: Because, even assuming everything about Clinton is correct, minor scale arrogance is so terrible that we should elect a dangerously inexperienced racist demagogue instead.

    Got it.

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Moosebreath: Do you have any idea of how much drama there is with Lynch’s family? They are redecorating their kitchen! And then when you get to the kids, it’s like a soap opera.

    Waiting around at an airport, a conversation will expand to fill the time. AG Lynch should have shooed Mr. Clinton away, and threatened to mace him, sure. I like to think that it didn’t occur to her because the “investigation” is such a nothingburger that it doesn’t even register.

  23. Gavrilo says:

    @stonetools:

    Heck, what are the conspiracy theorists even saying happened? That Bill Clinton met with Lynch in an airport to cook up a conspiracy with the Attorney General to scuttle the best known FBI investigation in history? That’s so ludicrous that just to think about it is to dismiss it.

    There’s no conspiracy. That Clinton and Lynch didn’t discuss the investigation is irrelevant. The fact that the Attorney General socialized with the husband of someone she is purportedly investigating is a clear-cut conflict of interest. Loretta Lynch’s judgment is mind-boggling.

  24. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Moosebreath:

    The fact that you are being down voted for acknowledging that

    . But the optics here are horrible. And both of them should have known that and acted accordingly.

    does not bode well for how us libs are going to handle it if Hillary is actually indicted.

    Guys, can we not acknowledge that, regardless of legal propriety, this was a boneheaded move by Bill Clinton? Do we have to be that reflexively tribal?

  25. Gustopher says:

    @Gavrilo: is there anything a Democrat does that isn’t “mind-boggling”, unprecedented, the most corrupt, or other superlatives?

    Can you name some minorly unethical thing Clinton has done — either Hillary or Bill — or do they somehow only involve themselves in massive, terrifying scandals?

    Or Lynch. But she isn’t in the media as much, so it might be harder, which is why I offer up the Clintons.

  26. Jc says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Yes, it was dumb. Not the first time Bill talking to another woman leads to giving Hillary headaches.

  27. Loviatar says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Do we have to be that reflexively tribal?

    Yes, unfortunately, yes we do. I for one, if a Republican tells me its bright and sunny outside, I bring an umbrella.

  28. Gavrilo says:

    @Gustopher:

    Ok. Winning the White House is a big freaking deal. Loretta Lynch just gave the power to destroy the Democratic nominee’s campaign to a Republican FBI Director. Again, I don’t think that will happen, but if that doesn’t qualify as mind-boggling, then what does?

  29. Gustopher says:

    Maybe AG Lynch is devious — she knows that if she is involved in the decision to not indict, she will never get confirmed for anything ever again if there is a Republican congress. If she refuses herself preemptively, she creates the appearance that there was something going on. She is going to need a job soon, and this stupid email thing is an albatross around her neck.

    Chat with Bill Clinton in an airport, in public. People call for her to recuse herself, so she does. Albatross gone.

  30. Gustopher says:

    Is an airport conversation a greater conflict of interest for the AG than a marriage to a lobbyist for a Supreme Court justice?

    Someone hasn’t been recusing himself.

  31. Jen says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Yeah, I agree. This was dumb.

    Were I in this position, I would have been yelling “HI BILL!” “OH HI LORETTA”–so that 100% everyone could hear everything.

    There’s just no need to create problems.

    Lynch did the only thing she could at this point, but had there not been a conversation that appeared to take longer than a quick hello/polite chat she wouldn’t have had to do anything.

    That said, if anything above a slap on the wrist comes down for Clinton, it’s political. The Politico piece I posted above carries a much, much more serious mishandling of top secret materials, and nothing at all really came of it.

  32. Jenos Idanian says:

    Jazz Shaw parsed Lynch’s statement, and it’s positively Clintonian in its evasiveness.

    But nothing says “fair and impartial investigation” to the FBI investigators than “BTW, your boss’s boss just had a secret meeting with the target’s husband where cops kept everyone else away, and she says that she’ll defer to your judgment — along with that of her top people she hand-picked. Also, her boss — your boss’s ultimate boss — has formally endorsed your target for president, and pay no mind to his well-established history of going after whistleblowers. Just do your job and you’ll be fine.”

  33. steve s says:

    We obviously need a tenth congressional Benghazi investigation to subpoena everyone who ever had anything to do with this meeting.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    Optics my left nut. If you are a Clinton, this is your typical day. You do a bunch of things. A swarm of republican operatives on retainer sit around asking themselves “is there anyway this could be interpreted negatively?” If the answer even approaches “yes” they start calling a bunch of reporters and hit them with “this is a scandal”. The reporters don’t know anything and don’t bother judging it in the context of “how does this compare to what everyone else is doing and has done for years.” Nope, it’s right to “OMG! This could make my career! I’ll break the one true Hillary scandal!”.

    Remember when the email thing first started? Remember all the endless drivel (including from bloggers here) about how using private email was a scandal beyond the pale, that no one but an arrogant and corrupt fool would do such a thing? And then it was found that 100% of previous (email era) SoS had also used a private email account? Do you remember all the apologies over it? Of course not. At best the goal posts were moved. But more normally, that information is not even acknowledged. To Republicans Hillary is still the only person working for the US government that used a private email account.

    People who talk about optics are viewing this as if it was one thing. But if you are a Clinton it is literally everything you do. I mean, my god, James just published a list of three things Hillary had done that showed how irredeemably sleazy and corrupt she was and they consisted of… convincing big international companies that they should donate money to water projects and anti-global warming efforts. As a Clinton there is literally nothing you could do that republicans wouldn’t put forward as sleaze.

  35. Jenos Idanian says:

    Oh, and the investigation is also looking into the Clinton Foundation, of which Bill is kind of a big cheese, so there’s that “appearance of impropriety” going on, too.

  36. Yolo Contendere says:

    @Moosebreath: “Saying hello takes 10 seconds. Asking about the family could make this a 5 minute conversation (maybe) and would be a conversation they could have in public. ”

    You’ve never asked after a new grandparent’s grandchild, have you?

  37. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Hey buddy? That “statement” that Jazz Shaw “parsed?” It’s not a statement. It’s a paragraph from a NYTimes author covering the announcement that Lynch would make a statement. That’s what he’s parsing.

    it’s positively Clintonian in its evasiveness.

    Again..it’s not a statement, it’s a paragraph from a reporter. Stating that she’ll make an announcement. I read it 5 times. At no point does it evade the idea that Lynch is going to make a statement. In fact, it states that straight away. It then gives context to the reason for the statement.

    I guess what I should be asking is, do you understand what a statement is? Or what the word “evasion” means? Or the difference between a statement and a report on a statement?

    Oh dear, have you been under the impression that every article written here about Donald Trump was actually a statement by Trump himself? No wonder you’ve seem so confused recently.

  38. Yolo Contendere says:

    @Gavrilo:

    The fact that the Attorney General socialized with the husband of someone she is purportedly investigating is a clear-cut conflict of interest.

    I thought the FBI was doing the investigating? And that she personally isn’t actually a target of an investigation yet, though I admit I haven’t paid a ton of attention to this lately.

  39. Moosebreath says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “People who talk about optics are viewing this as if it was one thing. But if you are a Clinton it is literally everything you do. I mean, my god, James just published a list of three things Hillary had done that showed how irredeemably sleazy and corrupt she was and they consisted of… convincing big international companies that they should donate money to water projects and anti-global warming efforts. As a Clinton there is literally nothing you could do that republicans wouldn’t put forward as sleaze.”

    And therefore he should refrain from doing something which clearly smells bad, to avoid actually giving them ammunition. As this does.

    Or as an even better politician than Bill Clinton put it, “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion”

  40. Tyrell says:

    Looks like Hillary’s done went and got herself in another dern mess.

  41. grumpy realist says:

    @Yolo Contendere: ESPECIALLY if they have pictures…..

  42. grumpy realist says:

    Y’know, I’m wondering if this isn’t just a troll by Bill Clinton, getting everyone on the right hot and bothered, and then he’ll pull out an independent third party who testifies that the so-called “30 minutes meeting” was in fact 10 minutes of talking about how lousy the airport food was and 10 minutes of Bill’s showing pictures of his new grandkid to Loretta and her oohing and aahing over them.

    Would serve the bastards right.

  43. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Is this the same Jazz Shaw that came out in favor of reduced 4th Amendment protections earlier this week? Click.

  44. Guarneri says:

    This story is just so preposterous. Everyone knows Bills been working on his own yoga poses and Loretta needed some advice……

    Get real people.

  45. Cugel says:

    Did it ever occur to any of the morons who are blathering on and on about the “appearance of impropriety” in this non-event that there are such things as telephones and that if the attorney general wanted to cut a deal with the Clintons about Hillary’s emails, that a public airport in front of the world’s press was the last place that would happen, that instead a private phone call would do?

    Not even Bond villains call the press to announce “I’m going to be plotting world domination now”.

    The very fact it occurred means that it’s a giant nothing-burger. As is the announcement that the Attorney General would not over-rule her staff recommendation. That was obvious from the beginning. Democrats always refuse to play hardball like the GOP routinely does. If this was the Bush administration they would have clamped down on an FBI investigation of Cheney and told anybody who thought it “raised questions of impropriety” to bugger off.

  46. Gavrilo says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Y’know, I’m wondering if this isn’t just a troll by Bill Clinton, getting everyone on the right hot and bothered, and then he’ll pull out an independent third party who testifies that the so-called “30 minutes meeting” was in fact 10 minutes of talking about how lousy the airport food was and 10 minutes of Bill’s showing pictures of his new grandkid to Loretta and her oohing and aahing over them.

    It’s still a conflict of interest. A prosecutor that’s buddies with the husband of someone under investigation will always have her judgment called into question. And, if they had actually discussed the investigation (which I don’t think they did), Loretta Lynch would probably be disbarred.

    This is not some nothingburger ginned up by the VRWC. What Loretta Lynch did was really dumb.

  47. Gavrilo says:

    @Cugel:

    If this was the Bush administration they would have clamped down on an FBI investigation of Cheney and told anybody who thought it “raised questions of impropriety” to bugger off.

    Like when John Ashcroft recused himself from the Valerie Plame leak investigation?

  48. grumpy realist says:

    @Gavrilo: No, it’s an appearance of conflict of interest in the minds of the febrile right who can use it to raise more $money$.

    But anything the Clintons do, period, your side is screaming about corruption! Conflict of Interest! Treason!

    Ever heard about the Story of the Boy who Cried Wolf? You guys have been making such a stink for 25 years that even if there were something, no one would believe you at present.

  49. Dazedandconfused says:

    @grumpy realist:

    If I had to bet it wouldn’t be a troll. It would be that the Clinton’s have already been privately assured that there will be no indictment before the election, and the comfortable typically get sloppy. Lynch may have been similarly unwisely comfortable due to an existing condition of there will be no indictment of Trump either, despite the revelations on his University and the Florida case being dropped, a bi-partisan policy on the major party’s nominees.

    Justice has potentially unlimited resources, which isn’t the same thing as actually having them. I cite the work “Going Clear” as an example of how easy it can be to overwhelm Justice. They will try very hard to avoid joining the circus as it would consume tremendous resources to participate and they have bigger fish to fry. There may even be a solid rationalization to this: Why did the founders set it up for Congress to decide “high crimes and misdemeanors” for some folks if the legal branch was specifically set up for the question?? Take the hint boys, take the hint…

  50. Moderate Mom says:

    “I fully expect to accept their recommendations.”

    Not “I will”, but “I fully expect”. I’d say that’s some pretty fine parsing of words.

    Seems like she’s trying to leave herself a little wiggle room there.

  51. Moderate Mom says:

    @DK: I thought the FBI has opened an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Is this not correct?

  52. Jeremy R says:

    revelations yesterday that she spent a half hour talking alone

    They weren’t actually talking alone. Lynch’s husband and her security detail were present throughout:

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/bill-clintons-bad-judgment

    A Democrat who was briefed on the meeting told me that it was more than a hundred degrees outside and Lynch, who was immediately uncomfortable with the visit, felt that she couldn’t shoo the sixty-nine-year-old former President, who has had heart problems in the past, back onto the tarmac. Lynch, according to this person, also insisted that her security detail remain at her side while Clinton was onboard her aircraft so that the ex-President and the Attorney General would not be alone together. (A spokesperson for the Attorney General declined to comment.)

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/29/politics/bill-clinton-loretta-lynch/

    According to a law enforcement official familiar with the matter, the former president saw Lynch’s plane on the tarmac and walked onto her aircraft. Lynch’s FBI security detail did not stop Clinton and he proceeded to initiate an extended conversation that included discussion of grandchildren. Lynch was surprised to see Clinton walking onto her plane, the official said, and no Justice Department business was discussed.

  53. bill says:

    @Nikki: i don’t think anyone expects that hillary will pay any sort of price for her current flouting of the law- she never has anyways and nobody really expects that the admin will actually allow her to suffer any consequences – what with their complete lack of transparency / common decency.
    and it’s not like her supporters even care what sort of zany shenanigans she does as she’s always expected to take the sleaziest route possible.
    that you accept her “laws don’t apply to me” approach is more concerning to me, but what do you care as long as she wins!?

  54. DrDaveT says:

    @Nikki:

    If the FBI decides no crime was committed and no indictment will be forthcoming, will the right accept that judgement and admit this was yet another nothing burger?

    Of course not. Everyone knows that law enforcement is only infallible when killing brown people.

  55. bill says:

    granted, she’s not fully rescuing herself from this as she will have the final say- if things don’t go the way they were planned already.
    that we’re focusing on the story after the story is bizarre when the msm should be screaming about “why did she meet with him while his wife is under investigation from her”? it’s like everyone with a 3 digit iq already knows the answer and are now just making it “ok” with themselves. yes, that’s how low this admin has dragged all you who may have been somewhat “open-minded” a few years ago.
    winning at all cost’s is highly overrated. but y’all knew that right?

  56. stonetools says:

    This whole thing has become ridiculous now. Bill Clinton is a US citizen . He can meet with any darned government official he wants. So long as the conversation didn’t got into his wife’s case ( and NO ONE is saying it did) he didn’t do anything wrong. THE END.
    I’m not even bothered that Republicans are busy stirring up as much sh!t as they can over this, because that’s what Republicans do. I’m more annoyed about liberals clutching their pearls about what is effectively nothing.There is even a Dan Balz column in the WaPo saying that Obama shouldn’t have endorsed Hillary while there is an ongoing FBI investigation, because, apparently, the presumption of innocence means nothing to him and something something Caesar’s wife( do people who say that even know what the life and career of Julius Caesar was like?).
    It’s time for liberals to get off the fainting couch and say bluntly that there is nothing there, regardless of whether they think Clinton’s little chat was a great idea. It doesn’t have to be a great idea so long as it’s legal and doesn’t violate any ethical rule. That’s how I see it.

  57. steve s says:

    “I fully expect to accept their recommendations.”

    Not “I will”, but “I fully expect”. I’d say that’s some pretty fine parsing of words.

    by you. She’s just talking.

  58. Jenos Idanian says:

    @stonetools: This whole thing has become ridiculous now. Bill Clinton is a US citizen . He can meet with any darned government official he wants. So long as the conversation didn’t got into his wife’s case ( and NO ONE is saying it did) he didn’t do anything wrong. THE END.

    Yeah, it’s every day that the husband of the subject of a major national security investigation holds a private, secret meeting with the Attorney General on a private plane.

    Oh, and Bill Clinton was in Phoenix to play golf. On a day when it was 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s REAL plausible.

    The most plausible explanation I’ve heard so far is Bill flew into Phoenix just to meet with Lynch, by surprise. If he successfully leans on her to get her to give Hillary a pass, great. If he doesn’t, then he’s compromised her.

  59. mannning says:

    Has it been established that the meeting was to be secret and protected by the FBI from prying eyes and photographers? If so, why?

  60. anjin-san says:

    @bill:

    her current flouting of the law

    What crime did she commit? Please be specific…

  61. Dazedandconfused says:

    Haven’t you seen the letter behind her name?

  62. Thomas Weaver says:

    Is there anyone that truly believes that Hildabeast is going to be indicted? This is not going anywhere. Seriously, this game has been played out a long time ago. Between the Clintons, Obama, and Lynch – zero, nada, zip and we the people have been played again and again.