The FBI Makes Announcement About Hillary's Emails

July 5th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

FBI director James Comey announced on Tuesday morning that he would not recommend the U.S. Justice Department pursue criminal charges against Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for receiving classified emails on a private, insecure email account.

FBI Director James Comey News Conference

However, Comey said that Clinton was "extremely careless" and that "none of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system."


This is a big win for Clinton because Loretta Lynch said last week that she would follow the FBI's recommendation in regards to charges against Clinton. Comey said that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring charges in this case because there was no evidence that any classified information was intentionally sent, or that there was any effort to hide emails from investigators.

FBI Director James Comey News Conference

Comey said that the recommendation not to file charges in this specific case has to do with the statute concerning classified information.

"Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities."

This means that, most likely, the former secretary of state will go into the Democratic National Convention without the prospect of criminal charges looming over her head. 

Despite his recommendation that Clinton should not face charges, Comey made some scathing statements about her team's email protocol. 

"Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information," he said.

Contrary to statements that Clinton made in the past, Comey said that she did in fact send and receive classified emails multiple times. 

"Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent, 36 chains contained Secret information at the time, and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification," he said. 

Comey also said that Clinton and her staff should have known better. 

"There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation," he said. 

Comey's statement lets Clinton off the hook in regards to criminal charges, but his words give plenty of political ammunition for the Republican Party to use against her. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted that that system is rigged because Clinton didn't face charges, despite her poor handling of emails. 

Trump has previously called out Clinton's "bad judgment" for the email scandal, saying that she's "unfit to be president." 

After the announcement on Tuesday, Trump compared Clinton's scandal to the 2014 charges that former CIA Director David Petraeus faced for sharing classified information with his mistress. Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, according to The Washington Post. 

Comey's announcement comes as President Barack Obama hits the campaign trail for Clinton, according to CNN 

[This story has been updated]

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