Lynch Refuses to Recuse Herself From Clinton Case–Will Do This Instead

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 9.57.09 AMDon’t exactly think this makes up for what she did with Bill. In fact, it does nothing at all. She needs to get off the case.

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.

By not recusing herself, Ms. Lynch retains all the legal authority as the nation’s top law enforcement official. That means her remarks are not binding and she is not obligated to accept what the F.B.I. recommends. But by making her plans public, Ms. Lynch risks causing a political firestorm if she were to later overrule those recommendations.

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.

She 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.

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