What is being billed as the “Tarmac Summit” has become the White House’s newest headache. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, praised Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, for her direct answers about the meeting that she had with former President Clinton.
The impromptu meeting occurred when Clinton and Lynch were both at the Phoenix airport on Tuesday.. Apparently, the former president walked into Lynch’s plane as it was sitting on the tarmac and met with Lynch and her husband for about 30 minutes. The meeting has been widely criticized because the Justice Department is currently investigating Hillary Clint’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
At the White House, Earnest was repeatedly asked by the press how President Obama felt about the meeting. He continuously deflected by telling reporters that the President believes that the investigation should be allowed to move forward without interference from the political process.
Reporters continued to press Earnest on whether the mere fact of the meeting occurring created the appearance of inappropriate political influence. Earnest responded, “I wasn’t there for the meeting. But the attorney general was, she was asked a direct question about it, and she answered it. Again, I think that was consistent with everybody’s expectations.”
According to Politico, “while earnest would not ‘second guess’ the investigation or pass judgment on Lynch’s meeting, he did acknowledge that it deserved scrutiny.” Earnest stated
“And I think the question that was asked of Attorney General Lynch was entirely legitimate. That’s why I think it was appropriate for her to give the direct answer that she did. And I think it was also important for her to continue to demonstrate her commitment to a principle that she’s stood up for in her three decades in public service, and that is the primacy of the rule of law.”
The President’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton while the email investigation is ongoing was already uncomfortable for some. The tarmac summit becomes the newest headache for the White House, as appearing overly critical or defensive of Mrs. Clinton could be seen as an attempt by the White House to influence Lynch.