FBI account of Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting released by watchdog group

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FILE 2016: Then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks in Phoenix, Arizona

FILE 2016: Then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks in Phoenix, Arizona (Reuters)

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch on Thursday released 29 pages from an FBI investigation into the 2016 tarmac meeting between former President Bill Clinton and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The account appears to show officials were more concerned about the leak than the meeting itself.

The report said FBI officials sent a flurry of emails over the story about the meeting that ran in New York's Observer. The officials reportedly wrote, “we need to find that guy” and reached out to the FBI offices in Phoenix in hopes to prevent “further damage.”

The report said all names on the emails were redacted and there is no documentation showing concern over the meeting itself.

The tarmac meeting fueled Republican complaints at the time that Lynch had improperly met with the husband of an investigation subject, just before the probe into Hillary Clinton's personal email use was completed with no charges filed.

Fired FBI Director James Comey, in Senate testimony, described the tarmac meeting as problematic. The tarmac meeting came days before Comey held a news conference informing the media that Hillary Clinton would not be charged.

Comey in July 2016 said Clinton was “extremely careless” in handling classified and other emails on the servers but recommend no criminal charges — a conclusion Lynch accepted.

Lynch later expressed regret that she sat down with Bill Clinton while his wife was under federal criminal investigation, a chance encounter she acknowledged “cast a shadow” on the public’s perception of a case bound to influence the presidential campaign.

“I certainly wouldn’t do it again,” Lynch said of the meeting.

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