Lynch will accept FBI recommendations on Clinton emails

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Loretta Lynch under fire after meeting with Bill Clinton

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday she will accept recommendations from an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's email use while at the State Department but will not recuse herself after holding a heavily criticized private meeting with former President Bill Clinton.

The FBI is investigating the private server Hillary Clinton used while Secretary of State and whether Clinton or her aides broke any laws in their handling of classified information.

Lynch and Bill Clinton met in Arizona Monday when they discovered they were both at the airport. The attorney general insisted their discussion was "social" in nature and that they did not talk about the emails or any other official matters.

Click through images of Clinton on the campaign trail:

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2016 Election: Scenes from New York primary (Clinton, Trump)
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2016 Election: Scenes from New York primary (Clinton, Trump)
MANHATTAN, NY - Winning the New York primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a packed room of supporters during the victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - On New York state primary night, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cheer watching the primary results during the Hillary Victory Party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - Winning the New York primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a packed room of supporters during the victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - Winning the New York primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a packed room of supporters during the victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - Winning the New York primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a packed room of supporters during the victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY - On New York state primary night, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton watch the primary results and enjoy the party during the Hillary Victory Party at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 19 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Dupporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton snap cell phone pictures of her as she enters a victory party after winning the New York state primary election, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton celebrate at her New York primary campaign headquarters, Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reacts as she arrives onstage at her New York presidential primary night rally in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., April 19, 2016. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)
Members of the media await the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to a New York primary night event Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks following victory in the New York state primary on April 19, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump scored a crucial victory in the Republican primary in his home state of New York on April 19, advancing his bid to clinch the party's presidential nomination, US networks projected. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures after speaking in New York on April 19, 2016. Donald Trump scored a crucial victory in the Republican primary in his home state of New York on April 19, advancing his bid to clinch the party's presidential nomination, US networks projected. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump speakS at a campaign press conference moments after winning the republican presidential primary at Trump Tower in New York, NY on Tuesday April 19, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up following victory in the New York state primary on April 19, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump scored a crucial victory in the Republican primary in his home state of New York on April 19, advancing his bid to clinch the party's presidential nomination, US networks projected. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's granddaughter Arabella (L), daughter Ivanka (C) and wife Melania (R) listen to him speak at his New York presidential primary night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 19, 2016. (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)
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"Our conversation was a great deal about his grandchildren. It was primary social and about our travels. He mentioned the golf he played in Phoenix, and he mentioned travels he'd had West Virginia. We talked about former Attorney General Janet Reno, for example, whom we both know," said Lynch. "But there was no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body," she added.

But the meeting between the attorney general and the husband of a potential target of investigation under her purview drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike in the midst of a presidential election that features Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

David Axelrod, a former chief strategist to President Obama, wrote on Twitter that he believes Lynch and Clinton didn't discuss the probe but that it was still "foolish to create such optics."

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware echoed that sentiment on CNN's "New Day," saying "I don't think it sends the right signal. I think she should have steered clear even of a brief, casual social meeting with the former president." He noted the attorney general typically uses "excellent judgment."

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas tweeted on Thursday, "An attorney cannot represent two parties in a dispute and must avoid even the appearance of conflict." And presumed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump skewered the meeting, telling radio host Mike Gallagher, "I think it's so terrible. I think it's so horrible" and that it was proof the system is "rigged."

Majority Whip Steve Scalise went as far as to argue Lynch should recuse herself from the Clinton investigation and hire a special prosecutor. The Louisiana lawmaker said in a statement so "the American people can know the truth about this secret meeting and finally rest assured the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton is being conducted fully and impartially, without even the appearance of corruption."

The White House downplayed the criticism. Spokesman Josh Earnest was grilled by reporters on Thursday about the meeting. "Both the president and the attorney general understand how important is it for the Justice Department to conduct investigations that are free of political interference," he said, adding that it has been a "bedrock principle since our country's founding."

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