Politics

Halperin: Lynch Won’t Recuse Herself or Apologize for Meeting With Clinton

DOJ source: Lynch reserves right to overrule FBI recommendations

Bloomberg's Mark Halperin reported Friday that Loretta Lynch will not recuse herself from the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server and reserves the right to overrule the guidance of prosecutors and FBI investigators.

Lynch set off a political firestorm this week when it was revealed she met privately with former president Bill Clinton on her plane in Phoenix, Arizona. She insisted repeatedly their conversation was innocent, but both sides of the aisle decried the appearances of their discussion. The New York Times reported Friday that she would accept recommendations by the FBI and career prosecutors over whether to file charges against Clinton, but Halperin's revelation elaborates on that story:

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is reserving the right to overrule prosecutors and FBI investigators on whether to bring charges after their probe into Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mail server, but she is strongly inclined to follow their recommendation, a Justice Department official said.

The attorney general will discuss the inquiry during an appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado on Friday, according to the official, who asked not to be identified in advance of Lynch’s comments that are aimed at reaffirming that she will follow usual Justice Department practices. News of a private meeting between the attorney general and former President Bill Clinton sparked rebukes from Republicans and concern among some Democrats about perceptions of impropriety.

Because Lynch will stop short of recusing herself, debate may continue over whether she will exert influence over the case as an appointee of President Barack Obama, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. The New York Times reported earlier that Lynch would accept whatever recommendation career prosecutors and the FBI director made, and a Justice Department official confirmed the gist of that report to Bloomberg News but later clarified Lynch’s intentions.

In a clip flagged by Breitbart on Morning Joe, Halperin said the DOJ official was "playing down that this is anything new" and that Lynch wouldn't apologize for her meeting.

"Quote, she's not recusing herself, she's not stepping aside, and does not expect that the Attorney General today will say it was a mistake to meet with Bill Clinton for 20 or 30 minutes privately," Halperin said.

He said the logic was "confusing" for her to be in a half-way position of being in the chain while still saying she would likely accept recommendations.

"She's turned this over to [James] Comey now, and again, that's just not good news for the Clintons on any front," MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said.