I'm impressed by what looks like quick move to expunge what was at least an appearance of impropriety, but maybe this is what would have happened anyway:
The Justice Department had been moving toward such an arrangement for months — officials said in April that it was being considered — but a private meeting between Ms. Lynch and former President Bill Clinton this week set off a political furor and made the decision all but inevitable....
The meeting [with Bill Clinton] created an awkward situation for Ms. Lynch, a veteran prosecutor who was nominated from outside Washington’s normal political circles. In her confirmation, her allies repeatedly sought to contrast her with her predecessor, Eric H. Holder Jr., an outspoken liberal voice in the administration who clashed frequently with Republicans who accused him of politicizing the office.Holder, the Times reminds us, reduced the charges against David Petraeus to a misdemeanor after the F.B.I. recommended felony charges. And: "That decision created a deep — and public — rift."
Ms. Lynch has said she wants to handle the Clinton investigation like any other case. Since the attorney general often follows the recommendations of career prosecutors, Ms. Lynch is keeping the regular process largely intact.Often... largely... It seems to me discretion is discretion. Even if you rarely use it, the ability to use it changes the the process. To give up the discretion before you see what you'll be asked to do is very different indeed. But Lynch could have given up her role much earlier in this process, and she chose to wait until now to give it up, now, after the secret meeting with Bill Clinton came to light. That doesn't look terrible lofty and disinterested, but at least she moved quickly to extract herself from the political storm.
How that storm hits Hillary, we shall see.