NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she didn’t discuss the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use as secretary of state during an impromptu meeting with former President Bill Clinton.
Lynch said she spoke with Bill Clinton on Monday at the Phoenix airport. She said the unplanned meeting was the former president’s idea and their discussion was small talk.
CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported Lynch denied any wrongdoing.
“Actually, while I was landing at the airport, I did see President Clinton at the Phoenix airport as I was leaving and he spoke to myself and my husband on the plane,” she said. “Our conversation was a great deal about his grandchildren. It was primarily social and about our travels. He mentioned the golf he played in Phoenix, and he mentioned travels he’d had in West Virginia.”
The meeting happened amid the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
It also happened a day before House Republicans released a report criticizing the Obama administration for it response into the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
During the meeting with Bill Clinton, Lynch said there was “no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body.”
“There was no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of the State Department emails, by way of example,” she added.
Aides said the meeting was an unplanned coincidence by the former president.
Bloomberg Politics Managing Editor John Heilemann told “CBS This Morning” it was an avoidable distraction for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“Former President Clinton, who usually has a good feel for politics and for perception, just going and having the conversation just does him and his wife no good, so what’s the point?” he said.
But some top Democrats are defending Lynch.
New York Sen. Charles Schumer said nothing “discussed was related to the investigation” while Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said her ethics “are the best.”
However, David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said it was “foolish to create such optics.”
Republicans have called for a special prosecutor to lead the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, including during Lynch’s confirmation hearing.
“I think she should recuse herself. I think she should take herself out of the investigation because no matter what determination is, no matter how they decide to go forward or not go forward, there’s gonna be a cloud over it,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said the meeting never should have happened.
“Even in terms of judgment, how bad of judgment is it for him, or for her, to do this? Who would do this?” Trump questioned.
Lynch said the probe is being handled by career investigators and will be fair.
Meanwhile, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin was deposed Wednesday in a Freedom of Information lawsuit concerning her boss’s private email.
She said she was not aware if Clinton personally deleted any emails during her time as secretary of state.
Abedin was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department and currently works for Clinton’s campaign.