The FBI will not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton over the mishandling of classified documents on the personal email server she used as secretary of state, Director James B. Comey said Tuesday.
Comey spoke for about 15 minutes at a press conference , saying that Clinton and her staff were “extremely careless” in their handling of her emails — the FBI found 110 emails on 52 email chains that involved information that was classified at the time it was sent. He said eight of those email chains had top secret information, 36 had secret information and eight had classified.
At the same time, Comey said there was “no clear evidence” that Clinton and her staff had intentionally mishandled information, an element experts say is needed for prosecution.
“We cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts,” the director said in a statement. “All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials 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.”
Comey said that in some scenarios such a person could be subject to security or administrative sanctions. “But that is not what we are deciding now,” he said.
Republicans were quick to criticize the decision. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters that Clinton’s use of private email server is “still very troubling” despite the FBI’s conclusion.
Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee likely to face Clinton in November, responded on Twitter, calling the system rigged.
The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2016
Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who has been mentioned as a potential Clinton running mate, said the decision vindicated his view of the case.
“I never believed this was going to be something in the criminal realm, or close to it,” Kaine said at an event in Richmond.