US Justice Department won't charge Clinton after email investigation

The US Justice Department will not charge Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while secretary of state, after the FBI said she acted carelessly but had not committed a crime, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.

Lynch met Wednesday with FBI Director James Comey, prosecutors and investigators to discuss the probe, a day after Comey had issued his findings.

"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," Lynch said in a statement.

Comey is to testify Thursday to a congressional committee about the investigation and his recommendations.

On Tuesday, he said there was no evidence that Clinton, who is now the left-leaning Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, or her aides intended to violate any laws over the handling of classified information, but "there is evidence they were extremely careless."

The FBI investigation ran for at least 11 months.

Comey said he believed the investigation did not turn up information that a reasonable prosecutor would use to pursue charges.

Clinton's presidential campaign had been under a cloud due to the investigation of her use of a private server for all her work-related email. Wednesday's announcement lifts the threat of prosecution, a day after Comey painted a picture of sloppiness that could continue to haunt her campaign.

Clinton's rival in the November general election, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, sent a stream of tweets Tuesday and Wednesday about the FBI report.

"Crooked Hillary has once again been proven to be a person who is dishonest, incompetent and of very bad judgement," he wrote Wednesday, hours before Lynch's announcement.

Clinton's campaign welcomed the FBI report on Tuesday. "As the secretary has long said, it was a mistake to use her personal email, and she would not do it again," spokesman Brian Fallon said.

The FBI findings included 113 emails that contained classified information at the time they were sent and should not have been transmitted over Clinton's personal server, Comey said.

"Any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position or those with whom she was corresponding should have known the system was no place for those conversations," Comey said.

The use of the private server exposed Clinton to hacking by foreign governments or hostile actors, and it was "possible" that they could have gained access to the email, he said. There was no clear, direct evidence that her system had been hacked, but given the sophistication of hackers it is possible they would not have left traces of their presence, Comey said.

Clinton turned over the bulk of the emails to the State Department in 2014, but investigators found thousands of additional emails that were not handed over. Comey said there was no evidence those mails had been held back in an effort to conceal information.

Clinton was interviewed by the FBI for three and a half hours on Saturday as part of the probe.

Lynch last week sought to reassure the public that the probe would not be tainted by partisan bias, after she met privately with former president Bill Clinton.

A State Department review released in May faulted Clinton for her exclusive use of the private email server as secretary of state from 2009-13, saying the practice posed a security risk and did not comply with government records laws.

Republicans have cited the issue to raise questions about Clinton's trustworthiness and judgement as she runs for president and to raise the spectre of the scandals that plagued her husband Bill Clinton's 1993-2001 presidency.

Last update: Thu, 07/07/2016 - 11:50
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