Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she regrets her controversial meeting over the summer with former President Bill Clinton, saying she should have recognized ahead of time how it would be perceived by the public.
Mrs. Lynch had met with Mr. Clinton privately after the two wound up on the same airport tarmac in Phoenix on June 27, just days before FBI Director James Comey would announce that he would not press charges against Hillary Clinton over her private email server. Mrs. Lynch now says she regrets that the meeting called the Justice Department’s credibility into question.
“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,” Mrs. Lynch told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday. “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.”
“I do regret sitting down and having a conversation with him, because it did give people concern,” she said. “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,” she added. “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.”
Mrs. Lynch said she and Mr. Clinton talked for about 45 minutes on topics like golf, grandchildren and the Brexit decision that took place just a few days earlier, CNN reported.
“Brexit was the news of the day. There had just been a vote there,” Mrs. Lynch said. “And as I indicated, we were told that President Clinton just wanted to say hello.”