The Department of Justice walked back a comment by Attorney General Loretta Lynch about her role in the ongoing FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton.
Lynch came under fire for meeting with former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday aboard Lynch’s plane at a Phoenix airport while the DOJ and FBI are investigating his wife. She attempted to quell the furor over her private meeting, promising to defer decisions to career prosecutors and accept any recommendation from FBI Director James Comey.
But the Justice Department quickly clarified Lynch’s remarks Friday. A spokeswoman for the Department told Yahoo News that the attorney general will be “the ultimate decider.”
Yahoo News reported:
But Lynch’s remarks, intended to calm a political storm over her impromptu meeting with former President Bill Clinton, did not fully outline the Justice Department’s process for handling one of its most politically sensitive investigations in years.
The Justice Department’s chief spokeswoman confirmed to Yahoo News that at least two political appointees — Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates — will review the recommendations of career prosecutors and agents before any final determination is made.
“They all expect to receive and accept the recommendations,” Melanie Newman, the Justice Department’s chief of public affairs, said when asked about the role of Carlin and Yates, both of whom are appointees of President Obama. “But it is true they will all be in the process.”
Asked if either Carlin or Yates could overrule the recommendations of FBI agents and career prosecutors, Newman replied: “It is unlikely there will be such a circumstance. But, obviously, that possibility exists.” And, she added, “The AG is the ultimate decider.”
Lynch maintains that the unethical meeting with former President Clinton was unplanned and purely social. And according to a security source present at the meeting, it was Clinton who maneuvered to meet with the attorney general, who was caught off guard by his appearance.
In an exclusive interview with a security source whose identity was kept secret, the Observer reported:
The attorney general was caught completely off guard by the meeting and the source dismisses suggestions that have been raised alleging that she waited there to see Bill Clinton or accommodated his request to see him. In fact, it seems from this source that it was Bill Clinton who was maneuvering for face time with the attorney general, because his plane had been scheduled to leave before hers arrived.
The source told the Observer:
“Nobody knew this was coming. We just knew to be aware there were other events going on. There was no planned meeting. It was just chance contact. The fact is, he just started walking over. I don’t think it was pre-arranged. He just started walking over and [even her security] can’t tell him, ‘you can’t do that.’ He walked in her plane for at least 20 to 25 minutes and the FBI is standing face to face with the Secret Service and just chatting on the hot tarmac like, ‘what the hell.’ ”
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