Hillary Clinton is considering retaining Loretta Lynch as Attorney General if she wins the presidency, according to a report from The New York Times.
Picking Lynch as a holdover from the Obama administration would help Clinton’s stated goal of making her cabinet gender-equal.But the choice would likely prove controversial given that Lynch is the ultimate arbiter in the Justice Department’s investigation into the potential mishandling of classified information on Clinton’s private email server.
Concerns over conflicts of interest reached new heights last week after Lynch, the first black female AG, met in secret with Bill Clinton at Phoenix’s international airport. The conclave was held just days before investigators interrogated Hillary Clinton at FBI headquarters on Saturday. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Hillary Clinton To Be Interviewed By FBI On Saturday)
Lynch, who took office last April, has claimed that she and the former president did not discuss the email server investigation.
She did say on Friday that if she had to do it over again, she would not meet with Clinton. She also declined to recuse herself from the probe, saying that she will review recommendations from FBI investigators and Justice Department lawyers. (RELATED: Why Did Bill Clinton And Loretta Lynch Meet On Her Airplane In Phoenix This Week?)
She hopes to reassure progressives with her executive actions, which would also include new protections for undocumented immigrant parents, as well as her personnel appointments. Having women make up half of her cabinet would be historic (in recent years, a quarter to a third of cabinet positions have been held by women), and Democrats close to Mrs. Clinton say she may decide to retain Ms. Lynch, the nation’s first black woman to be attorney general, who took office in April 2015.
The Democratic sources spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity to discuss “confidential conversations with Mrs. Clinton and her advisers.”
It is unclear from The Times report when Clinton and her advisers discussed keeping Lynch on as the nation’s top law enforcement official. The meeting with the former president could have changed the campaign’s thinking on the matter.
The paper also reported that John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, is Clinton’s first choice for chief of staff. He served in that same role in the Bill Clinton White House.
But should Podesta decline the role, Clinton would likely look to appointing a woman.
“If he turns it down, Mrs. Clinton would look at appointing a woman to that job, which has been held only by men,” according to The Times.
The paper offers no insight into which woman Clinton might select. But her State Department chief of staff was female, and, like Lynch, also at the epicenter of the email scandal. An attorney by trade, Cheryl Mills has been interviewed by the FBI and was deposed by the watchdog group Judicial Watch.