Hillary Clinton Email Investigation: FBI Recommends No Charges but Says Staff Was ‘Careless’

FBI Director James Comey announced that the agency recommends no charges be brought against Hillary Clinton after a yearlong investigation into a private email server that the presidential hopeful used while she was secretary of state.

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“Although there is evidence of potential violations regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said during a press conference on Tuesday, July 5.

Now that the FBI probe is complete, the Department of Justice will make the final decision about any charges against Clinton. However, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said on Friday, July 1, that she will follow the recommendation from career prosecutors and FBI agents. 

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Comey explained during the press conference that investigators read through all 30,000 emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department in 2014 and determined that 110 emails in 52 email chains contained classified information. Some chains even contained top-secret information, the highest level of classified information.

By searching for fragments or combing through the archives of other high-ranking government officials with whom any secretary of state would normally correspond, the FBI also discovered several thousands of work-related emails that were not among the 30,000 emails handed over by Clinton.

“There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Clinton’s position should have known that the system was no place for that type of correspondence,” Comey continued. He called her handling of classified information “extremely careless,” but said there was no clear evidence that Clinton or her team intended to violate the law.

While the agency did not find any direct evidence that her email was hacked, he said it was possible that her system was breached by hostile actors. Clinton extensively used her email outside the United States in the territories of adversaries, potentially allowing them access to the confidential information. 

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Comey said that the FBI came to the conclusion to recommend no charges by looking at the strength of the evidence, context, intent and similar past situations, and by interviewing dozens of people, including Clinton herself. He also assured that the investigation was done “honestly, competently and independently” with no political agenda.  

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