Exiting Attorney General Loretta Lynch expressed regret about not foreseeing the implications of her impromptu June meeting with Bill Clinton in an interview with Jake Tapper on Sunday’s edition of CNN’s“State of the Union.” The meeting took place just days before the FBI, an agency under Lynch’s purview in the Department of Justice, released its findings in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as Secretary of State. The 45 minute meeting became a point of contention during the presidential election, with the Trump campaign pushing that it showed a lack of impartiality.
“I do regret sitting down and having a conversation with him, because it did give people concern,” she explained. “And as I said, my greatest concern has always been making sure that people understand that the Department of Justice works in a way that is independent and looks at everybody equally. And when you do something that gives people a reason to think differently, that’s a problem. It was a problem for me. It was painful for me, and so I felt it was important to clarify it as quickly and as clearly and as cleanly as possible.”
The meeting came by chance, with Clinton asking to see Lynch after he realized that their planes were on the same tarmac. At 45 minutes, it turned into a much longer conversation than just the expected exchange of pleasantries.
Lynch particularly regrets the lack of foresight she had about the potential political implications of the conversation. “I wish I had seen around that corner and not had that discussion with the former president, as innocuous as it was, because it did give people concern,” she said. “It did make people wonder is it going to affect the investigation that’s going on, and that’s not something that was an unreasonable question for anyone to ask.”