James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told lawmakers in a letter Sunday that a review of new e-mails found connected to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uncovered nothing to change the bureau’s view that Clinton had broken no law when she used a private e-mail server.
The announcement comes two weeks after the FBI director informed the chairmen and ranking members of Congressional committees in a previous letter that the bureau had found new e-mails related to the Clinton investigation, and was reviewing them. Comey’s ill-timed revelation, just over a week before Election Day, came under intense criticism from Democrats, including from Clinton, the Democrats’ nominee for president, as well as some Republicans. Other Republicans, including Donald Trump, the GOP nominee, had seized on that news.
“Since my letter,” Comey told lawmakers Sunday about his original Oct. 28 note to them, “the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation.
“During that process we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State,” he wrote.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”
In July, Comey issued a harsh assessment of Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of state, calling her handling of classified data “extremely careless” and suggesting that it was possible her home-based mail server had been breached by hackers.
But Comey at the time closed the case and said he would recommend no criminal charges. He said there was a lack of evidence that Clinton had intended to expose or transmit classified data or that she mishandled information in a willful oversight of her responsibilities. He also said in July:
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. 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.
The new e-mails the bureau reviewed recently discovered, and reviewed, were found in an unrelated probe. The bureau was looking into Anthony Weiner, a politician and the husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, in an unrelated sexting scandal.
“We were always confident nothing would cause the July decision to be revisited. Now Director Comey has confirmed it,” Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said.
At a Minneapolis campaign stop, Trump said Clinton is “protected by a rigged system.” He said “She shouldn’t even be allowed to run for president.”