US : FBI to recommend no charges in Clinton email probe
WASHINGTON : The FBI will recommend to the Justice Department that no charges be filed over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, agency Director James Comey said on Tuesday, lifting a cloud of uncertainty looming over her White House campaign.
The agency found evidence of “extremely careless” handling of emails by Clinton, and that at least 110 emails contained classified information at the time they were sent, said Comey, announcing the result of a yearlong investigation.
But the FBI concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Clinton, he said.
“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,” Comey told reporters in Washington.
His recommendation will likely stand. The country’s top prosecutor, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, said on Friday she will accept the recommendations of career prosecutors and the FBI director on whether to charge Clinton for mishandling emails.
The FBI probe has dogged the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign for the past year and has contributed to her low poll ratings on honesty and trustworthiness. Republicans pointed to the controversy as evidence that Clinton considered herself above the law.
Donald Trump, Clinton’s Republican rival for the Nov. 8 election, has hammered her on the issue, saying the investigation should disqualify Clinton from being president. On Tuesday, he said the FBI decision was unfair.
“The system is rigged,” he said on Twitter. “As usual, bad judgment.”
The FBI has been investigating whether Clinton broke the law as result of a personal email server kept in her Chappaqua, New York, home while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. One of the questions is whether she mishandled classified information on the server.
Clinton has repeatedly said she never sent or received classified information on her private server. She had a voluntary 3-1/2-hour interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday in Washington.
Comey said, however, there was “evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.”
But he said the FBI did not find that Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate the law, and there was no “intentional misconduct” by her lawyers who sorted her emails.
He said her staff should have known the server was in an improper place for her emails.
Comey also said there was no evidence that anyone had hacked Clinton’s communications, although it was possible.
Republican lawmakers have called for an independent investigation, saying they do not trust the Justice Department to handle the inquiry with impartiality.
Republican criticism increased after Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, met privately with Lynch last week. Lynch later said she regretted the meeting and the two did not discuss the investigation.