FBI Director James Comey said that he would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton over her use of private email servers while secretary of state, removing a huge shadow hovering over her presidential campaign.
Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey announced after a lengthy recap of the investigation apparently designed to protect the integrity of his agency in a highly charged political atmosphere.
Comey’s decision not to recommend charges likely removes the threat of prosecution in the middle of Clinton’s campaign for the presidency, but the political fallout will continue. His explicit criticism of Clinton’s conduct offered her enemies a trove of fresh ammunition for their assault on her character, honesty and trustworthiness — one of her biggest vulnerabilities.
In a stunning moment of Washington theater, Comey stepped up to the microphone to deliver the FBI’s findings just over two hours before Clinton climbed aboard Air Force One to travel to her first campaign event with President Barack Obama. Adding to the tension, he made clear the White House and the Justice Department “do not know what I am about to say.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the White House doesn’t have an official response to the FBI’s announcement, saying the case is still active and in the hands of the Department of Justice.
Earnest added: “I am confident that the President and Secretary Clinton are not discussing the FBI investigation that is completed” on Air Force One. Neither Obama nor Clinton addressed Comey’s remarks during their campaign event in Charlotte, North Carolina, though Obama praised Clinton’s work at the State Department.
Comey delivered a stern lecture to Clinton and State Department colleagues at her side during her tenure as top U.S. diplomat between 2009 and 2013.