Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday she “fully” expects to accept recommendations from career Justice Department agents in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email arrangement.
Ms. Lynch said she understands questions about her private meeting earlier this week with former President Clinton and she said that while she wouldn’t do it again, the meeting has no bearing on how the case is being handled.
Ms. Lynch said the case is being handled by career agents and investigators with the Justice Department and that recommendations will be reviewed by supervisors and, ultimately, FBI Director James Comey.
“And then, as is the common process, they present it to me and I fully expect to accept their recommendations,” Ms. Lynch said at the “Aspen Ideas Festival” in Colorado.
She stopped short of announcing she would fully recuse herself from the case, as some Republicans have called for, saying that would entail not being briefed on what the findings are and what the actions going forward would be.
“While I don’t have a role in those findings and coming up with those findings or making those recommendations as to how to go forward, I’ll be briefed on it and I will be accepting their recommendations,” she said.
“The final determination as to how to proceed will be contained within the recommendations in the report, in whatever format the team puts it together — that has not been resolved,” she said. “This case will be resolved by the team that’s been working on it from the beginning.
“I’ll be informed of those findings, as opposed to never reading them or never seeing them,” she said. “I will be accepting their recommendations and their plan for going forward.”
Ms. Lynch said it’s reasonable for people to ask about her private meeting earlier this week with Mr. Clinton, but said it really was a social meeting.
The two crossed paths during an impromptu meeting at a Phoenix airport, leading Republicans to re-issue their call for Ms. Lynch to appoint a special prosecutor in the case.
She said Friday she had already determined the process before the meeting with Mr. Clinton this week.
“I do think that no matter how I viewed it, I understand how people view it,” she said. “And I think that because of that and because of the fact that it has now cast a shadow over how this case may be perceived, no matter how it’s resolved, it’s important to talk about how it will be resolved.”
“It’s important to make it clear that that meeting with President Clinton does not have a bearing on how this matter’s going to be reviewed, resolved, and accepted by me,” she said.
“I certainly wouldn’t do it again,” she said.
Mrs. Clinton has said she made a bad choice in using a private email account and a server run out of her New York home while she served as secretary of state. Hundreds of her messages have since been labeled classified, and authorities are investigating the arrangement.
Responding to Ms. Lynch’s announcement, the White House sought to emphasize that President Obama and his advisers had no role in it.
“The White House and the president were not at all involved in that decision,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
The White House has also said Mr. Obama’s recent endorsement of Mrs. Clinton won’t affect the case, but the president has received some criticism for previous comments saying he didn’t think Mrs. Clinton jeopardized national security.
• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.