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US Attorney General to Accept Recommendations in Clinton Email Case

United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks to Reuters in an exclusive interview in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., June 28, 2016.
United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks to Reuters in an exclusive interview in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., June 28, 2016.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she plans to accept the recommendations of career employees and federal agents looking into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.

FBI officials are expected to conclude their investigation soon. Legal experts have said they do not expect any criminal charges to filed against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Speaking at a summit in Colorado on Friday, Lynch insisted that career agents and investigators with the Department of Justice are acting independently, and that their probe predates her tenure as attorney general.

"I fully expect to accept their recommendations," said Lynch, who has the option of modifying any possible charges against Clinton. She later said she "will be" accepting the findings. The apparent contradiction between the two statements was not explained.

Lynch also said it was "perfectly reasonable" for people to question her impromptu meeting earlier this week with former President Bill Clinton, the presidential candidate's husband.

Many Republican lawmakers say the meeting may have compromised the email investigation, which they had already complained was not being handled impartially.

Lynch on Friday again insisted the 30-minute conversation on the tarmac at a Phoenix airport was primarily social, and focused on Clinton's grandchildren and recent travels.

"The meeting does not have a bearing on how this matter is being reviewed, prepared and accepted by me," Lynch said.

Asked whether she regrets not telling Clinton to "get off the plane," Lynch said: "I certainly wouldn't do it again. Because I think it has cast a shadow over what it should not have, over what it will not touch."

Some Democrats have also said the meeting was improper.

Donald Trump, Clinton's likely opponent in the presidential election, said he was "flabbergasted" at what he called a "sneak" meeting. "I've never seen anything like it before," he said on Thursday.

White House officials on Thursday were cautious in discussing the matter. Spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama expects no "political interference" in the Justice Department's investigation, but he also praised Lynch for answering questions about the meeting.

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has not commented.

Clinton has consistently denied breaking any rules when she used a single email system, based inside her New York home, for private and official business while she was secretary of state. She has said she would do things differently now.

The FBI has been probing whether using a personal email account put national security in peril. The Justice Department has been looking into whether classified information was mishandled.

Officials are supposed to use government email accounts both because of national security concerns and federal record keeping requirements, though several high-level officials have chosen to use personal systems in recent years.

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