NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top lawmakers from both major U.S. political parties said on Sunday they trusted the Justice Department to appropriately handle its probe of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server, after a heavily criticized meeting between Clinton’s husband and the U.S. attorney general.
Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain said on CBS show “Face the Nation” that they would respect Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s decision on whether to prosecute Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential nominee.
Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also said he respected the process, though he acknowledged Lynch’s private meeting last week at an airport with former President Bill Clinton was unfortunate.
“I think both of them wish their airplanes had never come anywhere near each other,” Schiff said on “Face the Nation,” adding that he still had confidence in the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to do a thorough investigation of Clinton’s email use.
“If they say they are going to conduct this investigation by the book, I believe that’s what’s going to happen,” said Schiff, who supports Clinton for the party’s nomination.
Lynch said on Friday that she would accept whatever recommendations the career prosecutors working on the case made about whether to prosecute Clinton.
The lawmakers’ endorsement for the process follows Clinton’s meeting Saturday with investigators at the FBI’s Washington headquarters, where she answered questions for three and a half hours as part of the probe into use of her private email server.
The FBI is investigating Clinton’s email use and whether laws were broken as a result of a personal email server kept in her Chappaqua, New York, home while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Lawmakers and political strategists speculated on Sunday that the FBI’s interview of Clinton signaled its investigation could be nearing its end. But the FBI offered no information about the status of the probe or who its targets may be. Clinton has long insisted she is not a target.
Clinton herself said in comments to MSNBC on Saturday that she “was pleased to have the opportunity to assist the department in bringing its review to a conclusion.”
Her rival, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, said it was “impossible” for the FBI not to recommend criminal charges against her. The two have already begun an acrimonious battle ahead of the presidential election on Nov. 8.
Democrats are hoping the issue will be resolved before their four-day convention in Philadelphia that begins July 25, which is expected to culminate with Clinton’s nomination for the presidential race.
It is unclear what Democrats would do if Clinton were to be indicted and if any contingency plan exists.
Not all lawmakers said they were confident the Justice Department could maintain impartiality. Tom Cotton, a Republican senator, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday he thought Lynch’s meeting with Bill Clinton “raises questions about political interference in this investigation.”
Reporting By Emily Flitter; Editing by Mary Milliken