FBI Director James Comey’s new letter to Congress two days before Election standing by no charges against Hillary Clinton in the personal email server case has ignited a new firestorm of allegations about the probe.
While Democrats cited Comey’s letter to Congress as new evidence that she should be exonerated of any wrongdoing, Republicans were equally adamant that the FBI’s leadership, along with top Justice Department officials, cannot be trusted and that other evidence remains that will still ensnare Clinton in criminal activity.
From Washington Examiner
The Republican National Committee Sunday afternoon issued a statement arguing that the FBI’s findings that she and her staff had been “extremely careless” with classified material on her private email server is proof enough that she broke the law even though Comey is standing by his earlier decision not to recommend an indictment after reviewing new emails that could be relevant to the case.
The federal statute governing the handling of classified material has a standard of “gross negligence” to be met for criminal charges.
“The FBI’s findings from its criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s secret email server were a damning and unprecedented indictment of her judgment,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “The FBI found evidence that Clinton broke the law, that she placed classified national security information at risk and repeatedly lied to the American people about her reckless conduct.”
Priebus also highlighted an ongoing FBI investigation into pay-to-play allegations involving the Clintons’ charitable organizations and her work as secretary of state.
“None of this changes the fact that the FBI continues to investigate the Clinton Foundation for corruption involving her tenure as secretary of state,” he said. Hillary Clinton should never be president.
Democrats, meanwhile, cited the new Comey letter as more proof that she did nothing criminal in operating a private email server throughout her time as the nation’s top diplomat and that it is finally time to move on.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and one of Clinton’s top supporters on Capitol Hill, said the latest Comey letter reaffirms his earlier decision to recommend against further action by the Justice Department.
“This should end the email saga once and for all,” Feinstein said. “Now that this matter is concluded, I hope that the final days of the campaign allow the American people an opportunity to consider the important issues facing our country.”
An attorney who was part of a high-profile group of conservative former Justice Department officials and legal scholars who recently ripped into FBI Director James Comey in a private meeting now says Comey’s latest move is an erratic attempt to “overcorrect” his previous actions and defies new evidence in the case.
Sean Bigley, a lawyer who specializes in defending security clearance holders accused of mishandling classified material, compared Comey’s Sunday letter that said Clinton wouldn’t face charges in the email investigation to a driver skidding in one direction and then another on an icy, rainy road.
“My guess is that he started to see some of the blowback from conservative legal scholars and thought maybe I took it a little too far … I didn’t have to do it that way,” Bigley told the Washington Examiner in an interview Sunday. He was referring to Comey’s July conclusion that “no reasonable prosecutor” who indict Clinton based on the evidence the FBI had gathered thus far even though he found that she and her staff had been “extremely careless” with the handling of classified material on her private server.
“So it was almost like driving the car in the rain and you start to skid and then you overcorrect and then you start to skid the other way and you overcorrect the other way…it’s just very odd, very odd,” he said.
Comey, Bigley acknowledged, was in a “tight spot either way.”
“But frankly, he put himself in that position – I think the blowback he was getting from issuing this most recent letter [to Congress in late October] was probably more than what he was expecting – it seemed like maybe he felt he had to do something to put this to bed for his own political future if you will,” Bigley added.
Bigley also said a report over the weekend that Clinton directed her maid, who lacked a security clearance, in her house in Washington to print out materials that may have been classified at the time raises undeniable criminal liability for her.
“If one of my clients had done that, they would be looking at a guaranteed security clearance revocation along with a high likelihood of prosecution,” he told the Examiner. “The arrogance and disregard for security rules is breathtaking.”
The story about the maid’s access to State Department emails and other material is based on released State Department emails and FBI notes from an interview with Human Abedin, a top Clinton aide. According to the emails and the notes, the maid had access to a highly secure room called a SCIF (sensitive compartmented information facility) that diplomatic security agents set up at Clinton’s D.C. residence.
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