An investigation into the use of a personal email system for official communications by Hillary Clinton, while she was U.S. secretary of state, has been closed with no charges filed, U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said Wednesday.
The move comes after FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday said he did not recommend bringing charges against her although he described as “extremely careless” the use by her and her aides of unsecured email networks for distribution of very sensitive, highly classified information.
“Late this afternoon, I met with FBI Director James Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as Secretary of State,” Lynch wrote in a brief statement. “I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation.”
The decision comes ahead of Comey’s testimony before Congress on Thursday on the issue, when he is likely to come under criticism for his recommendation not to file charges against Clinton or her aides even though U.S. rules prohibit the sending of classified information other than on secure government systems.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, has announced that Comey will testify before the Oversight Committee.
“The FBI’s recommendation is surprising and confusing. The fact pattern presented by Director Comey makes clear Secretary Clinton violated the law,” Chaffetz said in a statement.
Clinton used several different servers during her four-year tenure, rather than one server as was originally thought. She also used her personal email extensively while outside the U.S., including sending and receiving work-related emails “in the territory of sophisticated adversaries,” Comey said. The FBI had not found direct evidence of hacks of the system, but “given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence,” he added.
Of a group of 30,000 emails returned to the State Department by Clinton in December 2014, 110 emails in 52 email chains were determined to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received, with eight of those chains containing information that was classified as top secret.