Lawmakers, including at least one Democratic senator, criticized Attorney General Loretta Lynch for meeting with former President Bill Clinton amid an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information.
“I do think that this meeting . . . sends the wrong signal and I don’t think it sends the right signal,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Thursday on CNN. “I think she should have steered clear, even of a brief, casual, social meeting with the former president. . . . 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.’ ”
Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton for about 30 minutes aboard a private plane while the two were in the Phoenix area on Monday, according to ABC15 TV station in Phoenix.
Bill Clinton was departing Phoenix when he was told Lynch would be arriving at the airport soon, and he waited for her arrival. The attorney general was in the area as part of a national tour to promote community policing.
“This incident does nothing to instill confidence in the American people that her department can fully and fairly conduct this investigation, and that’s why a special counsel is needed now more than ever,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement.
The FBI is investigating the potential mishandling of classified information on Hillary Clinton’s personal computer server, which she used while she was secretary of state.
Lynch, who was traveling with her husband, acknowledged the meeting while at a news conference at the Phoenix Police Department.
“I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as he was leaving and spoke to myself and my husband on the plane,” Lynch said. “Our conversation was a great deal about grandchildren. It was primarily social, about our travels, and he mentioned golf he played in Phoenix.”
David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, tweeted that he takes Lynch and Bill Clinton “at their word that their convo in Phoenix didn’t touch on probe. But foolish to create such optics.”