FBI Director James Comey faced heated questions from lawmakers Thursday over the bureau’s decision not file charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for using a personal email server to handle classified information.
Comey’s remarks before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are his first public statements since he made that announcement Tuesday.
He said there was no evidence that showed Clinton knew what she was doing was illegal or that she lied to federal investigators.
At Thursday’s hearing, Comey also said his decision was not a coordinated effort with the White House or anyone else.
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But Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., called the timing of the FBI director’s announcement on Tuesday suspicious.
It came one week after Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with former President Bill Clinton and a few days after Hillary Clinton testified before the FBI.
A few hours after Comey’s announcement on Tuesday, President Barack Obama also joined Clinton on the campaign trail.
“Our folks did it in an apolitical and a professional way,” Comey insisted of the FBI’s investigation.
A number of Republicans implied there was a double standard for filing criminal charges against everyday people as opposed to people in high-level positions like Clinton.
“If your name isn’t Clinton, or you’re not part of the powerful elite, then Lady Justice will act differently,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said. He added that the FBI had set a “dangerous precedent” in letting her off the hook.
Lawmakers wanted to know if Comey had been hearing that argument as well.
“I’ve heard it a lot,” he said. “It’s not true, but I’ve heard it a lot.”
“I totally get people’s questions,” he said, but the FBI was obliged to follow the law.
“We don’t want to put people in jail unless we prove that they knew they were doing something they shouldn’t do,” Comey said. “That is the characteristic of all the prosecutions involving mishandling of classified information.”
Report via CBN News
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