The yearlong investigation into Hilary Clinton’s email server came to a close yesterday, according to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.
In a brief written statement, Lynch said she accepted the FBI’s recommendation delivered Tuesday not to press charges against the presumptive democratic presidential nominee.
FBI Director James Comey stated that he would not recommend charges against Hilary Clinton for her use of private email servers and handling of classified information while serving as secretary of state.
In an unexpected 15-minute announcement delivered only three days after FBI investigators interviewed Clinton, Comey claimed that the FBI did not find evidence that Clinton’s actions demonstrated “intentional misconduct or indications of disloyalty to the United States or efforts to obstruct justice.”
Comey reprimanded Clinton’s actions as being “extremely careless” in handling classified information, questioned her previous statements about her email practices, and stated a professional in her position “should have known” that an unclassified system was inappropriate for conducting exclusive government business. Comey also questioned the ways in which the State Department handles classified information.
The announcement was delivered two hours before Clinton was set to board Air Force One and attend her first campaign event with President Barack Obama in Charlotte, North Carolina. Clinton’s aides claim she did not know about Comey’s plans, and White House officials say President Obama was also unaware of the outcome of the investigation before the statement was made.
Comey began the speech with a recap of the details of the investigation and then revealed findings from the investigation. Comey stated that 110 of the 30,000 emails that Clinton gave to the State Department contained classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of the emails contained the highest level of “top secret” information, and a number of the emails are believed to involved drone strikes.
Furthermore, Comey stated the FBI discovered “several thousand” emails that were not initially included in the 3,000 given to the State Department by Clinton, three of which contained classified information.
Comey stated the FBI did not find evidence of interference into Clinton’s server by foreign governments. However, he claimed it was possible that hostile foreign actors could have gained access to information in Secretary Clinton’s email account as she used the server on her mobile device while traveling to territories outside of the United States.
The findings also revealed that Clinton used multiple private servers and mobile devices during her four years as secretary of state, which created numerous obstacles for the FBI.
Despite the conclusions of the investigation, Comey stated his recommendation is derived from the fact that the FBI could not find a case in which a person has been charged for similar actions.
“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,” Comey said.
The director claimed that the investigation was done “honestly, competently, and independently,” without outside influence and in a professional way.
This decision comes at a poignant time in the campaign trail. While Comey previously stated the campaign calendar would not impact the pace of the investigation, the Democratic National Convention is set to begin on July 25 and FBI officials did not want to influence the election following the official nomination.
John Earnest, White House press secretary, did not offer an official response and President Obama claimed he remains “enthusiastic” about Clinton’s candidacy. Clinton’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said the campaign is “pleased that the career officials handling this case have determined that no further action by the department is appropriate.”
Republicans, such as Senator Charles E. Grassley, quickly asked the FBI to be transparent and to release the details of its findings. House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a Twitter post that the announcement “defies explanation” and that “no one should be above the law.”
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump also voiced his opinion on Twitter. He claimed that former CIA director David Petraeus received criminal charges for doing less than Mrs. Clinton, and that the lack of charges reveals the system is “rigged.”
While Comey declined to take any questions after his statements on Tuesday, he will explain his decision before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday morning after several lawmakers requested an explanation.