In a dramatic news conference this morning, FBI Director James Comey laid out in painstaking detail the department’s recommendation to federal prosecutors.
Comey said “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Clinton based on the FBI’s investigation. (See video)
The case was brought to a conclusion after Clinton voluntarily agreed to meet with investigators. She spent more than three hours explaining her handling of classified information.
Former Clinton staffer Brian Pagliano set up the private server in Clinton’s home, which she routinely used to conduct business while Secretary of State under President Obama.
Former State secretaries Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, who served during the George W. Bush administration, used similar setups without repercussions, according to news reports.
That may have weighed in the FBI’s decision to recommend against criminal charges. Comey said he could find no precedent for proceeding with criminal charges in previous case law.
More than 2,000 pieces of classified information, including top secret information, were found on Clinton’s server. Most of the emails were classified after the fact. But Comey said that did not have a bearing in the investigation.
He said Clinton knew, or should have known, that information on her private server was sensitive and needed special protection.
The FBI’s recommendation will be forwarded to the U.S. Justice Department, which has ultimate authority to decide whether Clinton should be charged. The department, however, customarily follows the recommendations of investigators.
While Clinton will likely not face charges in the middle of her campaign for the presidency, Comey’s statement included enough damaging information to hurt Clinton politically.
Presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump is sure to seize on the negative aspects of the FBI’s recommendation to score political points.
For more on this story, please follow IM on Twitter. This story will be updated. Check out the video below of Comey’s full statement.