FBI recommends no charges against Clinton in email probe
FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday announced the agency is not recommending the Justice Department bring charges against Hillary Clinton, despite denouncing the former secretary of state and her colleagues for the way they handled classified information through private email servers.
"Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is information that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information," Comey told reporters in Washington, D.C., noting that the probe has found that the former secretary of state used several different email servers and numerous devices during her time in office.
Even so, Comey added later, “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to bring charges."
In prosecuting similar cases, Comey noted that past instances have "involved some combination of clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information or vast quantities of information exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct or indications of disloyalty to the United States or efforts to obstruct justice."
"We do not see those things here. To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions, but that's not what we're deciding now," Comey added. “As a result, although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case."
Anticipating the reaction to the recommendation, Comey said, "I know there will be intense public debate in the wake of this recommendation as there was throughout the investigation. What I can assure the American people is that this investigation was done honestly, competently and independently, no outside influence of any kind was brought to bear."
"I know there were many opinions expressed by people not part of the investigation including people in government, but none of that mattered to us," he concluded. "Opinions are irrelevant, and they were all uninformed by insight into our investigation because we did our investigation the right way. Only facts matter, and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way. I couldn't be prouder to be part of this organization."
Comey prefaced the announcement by saying that he has not coordinated his statement with the Justice Department or any other government agency.
“They do not know what I'm about to say,” Comey said, thanking the agents who worked on the case.
The bureau met with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on Saturday morning for three and a half hours at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., in what the campaign characterized as a "voluntary interview."
Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill told reporters in a statement Saturday that Clinton was "pleased" to help assist the Justice Department in wrapping up its investigation but said Clinton wouldn't offer any additional comments regarding the interview "out of respect for the investigative process."
Clinton told MSNBC's Chuck Todd in a phone interview Saturday that she was "eager" to meet with the FBI but had "no knowledge" of when the federal agency would conclude its investigation. The email saga has dogged Clinton's campaign since before it officially began, but the former secretary of state has long maintained that she didn't send or receive any emails that were classified at the time.
Comey's announcement comes hours before President Barack Obama and Clinton are scheduled to appear together on the campaign trail for the first time at an afternoon rally in Charlotte, North Carolina.
But the announcement also comes a week after Attorney General Loretta Lynch held an impromptu meeting with Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, who nominated Lynch to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in 1999.
The half-hour conclave that both said was about golf and grandchildren reignited concerns over a possible conflict of interest with a Democrat-led Justice Department investigating a Democratic White House contender. Bill Clinton and the Justice Department chief both acknowledged the poor optics of their so-called tarmac summit aboard a private plane at a Phoenix airport.
On Friday, Lynch said their meeting "cast a shadow" over the investigation and asserted that she "certainly wouldn't do it again." She also added that she "fully" expects to accept the recommendations she receives from career prosecutors.
( Source )