Attorney General Loretta Lynch intends to accept whatever recommendation career prosecutors and federal agents make in the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, a Justice Department official speaking on condition of anonymity said Friday, per the AP. The revelation comes amid a controversy surrounding an impromptu private discussion that Lynch had with Bill Clinton aboard her plane on the tarmac at a Phoenix airport on Monday. That get-together has been criticized as inappropriate by Republicans and some Democrats. Lynch told reporters that she and Bill Clinton didn't discuss the email investigation during the encounter. Both Lynch and FBI Director James Comey have stressed for months that the email investigation is being handled without regard for politics.
But the meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton caused an immediate political backlash, prompting renewed calls from Republicans for an independent prosecutor. Friday's announcement appeared intended to assuage concerns, particularly among GOPers, that Lynch—an Obama appointee—might overrule recommendations on criminal charges from agents and prosecutors who've worked on the case. Disputes on charging decisions between the FBI and the DOJ aren't uncommon, particularly in national security cases, though many legal experts see criminal prosecution in this matter as exceedingly unlikely. Decisions on whether to charge anyone in the case will be made by "career prosecutors and investigators who have been handling this matter since its inception" and reviewed by senior lawyers at the department and the FBI director, the official said. (Read more Loretta Lynch stories.)