Time: 11:15 p.m. CEST
FBI Director James Comey “vigorously defended the government’s decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton over her private email setup, rejecting angry accusations that the Democratic presidential candidate was given special treatment,” the Associated Press reports. The AP says, “In nearly five hours of testimony, he sought to explain the Justice Department’s decision ending an investigation that has dogged Clinton’s presidential campaign and raised fresh questions among voters about her trustworthiness.”
Republicans on the panel, voices sometimes raised in apparent frustration and irritation, said they were mystified by the decision not to prosecute because they felt that Comey, in a remarkably detailed and critical public statement on Tuesday, had laid out a sufficient basis for charges.
“I totally get people’s questions,” he said, but the FBI was obliged to follow the law.
He said investigators found no evidence that Clinton or her aides intended to break the law, even though they mishandled classified information. A misdemeanor statute requires the mishandling to be willful, Comey said. And a law that permits felony prosecution due to gross negligence has been used only once in the 99 years since it was enacted — and that was in a case involving espionage.
“We don’t want to put people in jail unless we prove that they knew they were doing something they shouldn’t do,” Comey said. “That is the characteristic of all the prosecutions involving mishandling of classified information.” Comey’s appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee marked his first public statements since his announcement that removed the threat of criminal charges against Clinton but also revived public scrutiny of her email behavior as secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s first term.
Source: Associated Press