Lynch says she met with Bill Clinton out of courtesy


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she agreed out of courtesy to meet with former President Bill Clinton after he saw her plane at the Phoenix airport last month and asked to board it to say hi.

Lynch reiterated in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that her encounter with the former president was purely social, and there was no discussion of Hillary Clinton’s email practices or any other official business or matter before the Justice Department.

Instead, she says Bill Clinton talked “at length” about his grandchildren.

And, in keeping with Clinton’s reputation for volubility, Lynch says that the conversation lasted longer than she had anticipated.

She reiterates that her concerns about a perception problem led her to announce after the meeting that she would be accepting her investigative team’s recommendation about charges against Hillary Clinton.

But Republicans criticized Lynch over that move Tuesday, telling her the buck stops with her — not the FBI.

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1:12 p.m.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is saying under questioning that she uses only her government email account to conduct official business and that she does not send or receive classified information using that system.

Lynch was asked about her email practices by Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.

Gowdy and other Republicans have raised concerns that the decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton reflects a double standard in the criminal justice system. They say other government officials would have been prosecuted if they handled classified information like Clinton did, but federal officials say that’s not true.

Gowdy also asked why the Justice Department could not prosecute Clinton for “gross negligence,” part of the law’s standard.

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12:20 p.m.

The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is chastising Attorney General Loretta Lynch for repeatedly deflecting questions on the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia halted a hearing and told Lynch that her refusal to discuss the investigation represented an “abdication of your responsibility.”

Lynch last week announced that no charges would be brought, saying she was accepting a recommendation by FBI Director James Comey.

After Goodlatte spoke, Lynch faced aggressive questioning from Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio, who said Lynch “made a bad situation worse” by saying that she would accept the FBI’s recommendations without even knowing that they would be.

He said “you showed this case was different,” creating a double standard.

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10:45 a.m.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is repeatedly deflecting questions about the conclusion of the Justice Department’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Despite repeated prodding from Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee, Lynch said that as attorney general it would be inappropriate for her to comment on specifics of the investigation.

She also referred questions to FBI Director James Comey, who last week recommended against prosecution for Clinton and her aides in laying out the findings of federal investigators.

Lynch accepted the recommendation from the FBI and from her prosecutors, and closed out the investigation without charges. She said that the team reviewed the facts and arrived at a unanimous recommendation that she was pleased to follow.

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10:30 a.m.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve has never been more difficult or important.

Lynch is testifying Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee following a week of violence that brought that issue to the forefront.

She says a series of deadly shootings, including a deadly sniper attack on five officers in Dallas, “rocked” the country.

Lynch says the Justice Department will continue to work with state and local law enforcement agencies to provide funding and technical support for programs like body-worn cameras and de-escalation training.

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10:06 a.m.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is questioning the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, says in his opening statement for Tuesday’s hearing that the decision “defies logic and the law.”

He says he believes less-powerful government workers would not have received the same treatment.

Lynch is making her first appearance before Congress since the Justice Department closed its investigation without bringing criminal charges.

Goodlatte also says the timing of the Justice Department’s announcement is “troubling” given that it came just days after Lynch had an impromptu meeting aboard her plane on a tarmac in Phoenix with former president Bill Clinton.

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