AG Lynch defends decision on Clinton email inquiry

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday steadfastly defended her decision not to charge Hillary Clinton in her email investigation, but also refused to discuss details of the case despite Congressional Republicans' grilling.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is testifying before Congress amid a roiling national debate over police violence and as House Republicans seek a Justice Department perjury investigation of Hillary Clinton.

Lynch insisted the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while at the State Department wasn't discussed, but she acknowledged in an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival on July 1 that her encounter with Bill Clinton "cast a shadow" over the probe and said she "certainly wouldn't do [it] again".

Bob Goodlatte, Va., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement while the hearing was still in progress accusing Lynch of "dodging any responsibility to be forthright to Congress by referring members to the statements of her subordinate".

Republicans repeatedly grilled Lynch for meeting privately with former President Bill Clinton several days before she made the decision not to file charges.

Calling Comey's recommendation of no charges a "public indictment" in contrast with an actual one, Goodlatte said the FBI's decision to let Clinton off the hook was a the wrong one. She said that the team reviewed the facts and arrived at a unanimous recommendation that she was pleased to follow.

"You are in charge of the Department of Justice and the buck stops with you", he said.

"I accepted that recommendation".

Comey also said Clinton was "extremely careless" in her handling of classified emails on a private server, but said there was no evidence that she or her aides meant to violate laws governing classified actions, and therefore no reasonable prosecutor could bring a case.

"In the time when African-Americans are 30 percent more likely than whites to be pulled while driving - more than three times more likely to have their auto searched and more than twice as likely to be shot by police, it is imperative that we restore public faith in our criminal justice system", he said.

She said "the key to numerous problems" is "communication and truly listening to one another".

"The matter was handled like any other matter", Lynch said in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill.

Republicans grew frustrated with Lynch's avoidance of answering legal questions as the meeting stretched into its third hour. Lynch often referred questions back to that testimony, and declined to speak with any great specificity on her own role beyond repeating that she had announced she would accept the recommendation of Comey and the career investigators on the case, which she did.

She has denied having been influenced by contact with former President Bill Clinton, who Lynch crossed paths with late last month on the tarmac of an airport in Phoenix, Arizona.

Comey faced intense questioning from Republicans in a almost five-hour congressional hearing last week about his conclusion that Clinton hadn't violated the law.

House Republicans asked Lynch if she thought Clinton had broken the law when she set up a private home email system and passed classified information through it during her tenure as secretary of state. The attack began during protests over the police killings of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot near St. Paul, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling, who was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers.

Lynch also began her hearing highlighting the tension between African-Americans and law enforcement that shook the nation last week.

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