An unscheduled meeting between the U.S. attorney general and former President Bill Clinton at an airport in Phoenix on Monday could present some unwanted political problems for both.
The former president, who was waiting to depart the state, boarded Loretta Lynch’s government aircraft shortly after she landed in Arizona for a community policing event. Lynch later told reporters there the conversation centered on “his grandchildren.”
“It was primarily social and about our travels,” including golf he played, Lynch said.
The attorney general insisted, “There was no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body.”
The Justice Department and FBI are investigating the security of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which she used to conduct official business as secretary of state. There’s no public sign Hillary Clinton has been interviewed by federal agents, but the matter is growing ever more sensitive, as she prepares to secure the Democratic presidential nomination at her party’s convention next month.
Answering a reporter’s question about the appearance of impropriety over the unscheduled meeting on the tarmac, Lynch said the State Department email matter is being handled by career agents and prosecutors “who always follow the facts and the law and do the same thorough independent examination in this matter that they’ve done in all” matters.
Still, word of the meeting could fuel new calls from Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and other congressional Republicans for a special prosecutor outside the Justice Department chain of command to lead the email investigation.
The controversy has trailed Hillary Clinton for more than a year. She has said the use of a private server was a mistake. But her closest aides have been subjected to questioning from federal investigators and conservative watchdogs like Judicial Watch.
Just this week, Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff and now a key campaign operative, told Judicial Watch lawyers she didn’t recall talks with State Department officials about Clinton’s server arrangement.
Abedin added in the deposition that “it wasn’t a secret that [Clinton] was using this email address to be communicating with U.S. government officials, because they were receiving emails from her.”