Updated 10 a.m. 7/6 FBI Director James B. Comey will appear before a House oversight committee Thursday to answer questions about the agency’s decision not to recommend prosecuting Democrat Hillary Clinton for the mishandling of classified information on a private email server while she was secretary of state.
Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced that Comey will appear at 10 a.m. before the panel. The House Judiciary Committee will host Attorney General Loretta Lynch on July 12 in a hearing that will also touch on “the disturbing politicization of the Justice Department.”
Comey, who did not answer questions after a 15-minute press conference Tuesday morning, said 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. Eight of those email chains had top secret information.
Still, Comey said the FBI concluded that there was “no clear evidence” that Clinton and her staff had intentionally mishandled information, an element experts say is needed for prosecution.
“The FBI’s recommendation is surprising and confusing,” Chaffetz said in a statement released Wednesday. “The fact pattern presented by Director Comey makes clear Secretary Clinton violated the law.”
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight committee, said he saw no need to hear from Comey.
“Since Republicans disagree with his recommendation, they are doing what they always do—using taxpayer funds to continue ‘investigating’ their baseless claims in an effort to bring down Secretary Clinton’s poll numbers,” Cummings said in a statement.
Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said he has asked Lynch to discuss several issues, including recent terror attacks, technological advances in law enforcement, the Justice Department’s involvement in political activities and the Clinton email situation.
“It is uniquely troubling in light of Attorney General Lynch’s secret meeting with former President Bill Clinton ,” Goodlatte said in a statement. “No one is above the law and the American people need to know that federal law enforcement is taking this misconduct seriously.”
In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday night, Speaker Paul D. Ryan called on the FBI to publicly release all of its findings while Clinton runs as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions here,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “What I don’t really understand is, after he lists this laundry list of violations, he comes to that conclusion.”
Ryan said the FBI’s findings should disqualify Clinton from the race and that she should be blocked from accessing classified information “given how recklessly she handled this during the presidential campaign.”
“[Comey] shredded the case that she had been making all year long,” Ryan said.
He stopped short of calling for that recommendation if Clinton becomes president.
“What really just mystifies me is the case [Comey] makes and then the conclusion he draws,” Ryan said. “What bothers me about this is the Clintons really are living above the law. They’re being held by a different set of standards.”