The FBI will not be recommending criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her personal email use while serving as Secretary of State.
The FBI announced the news ahead of Clinton’s first campaign appearance with President Barack Obama in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday.
James B. Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), gave a press conference announcing the Bureau’s recommendation. “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the hailing of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless,” states Comey in a press briefing.
Comey confirmed that the FBI reviewed 30,000 emails that Clinton turned over in 2014 and that 110 emails, in 52 email chains, contained classified content.
Dividing the email chains into three buckets of varying risk and degree of secrecy, the FBI confirmed that eight email chains included top-secret information when they were sent or received by Hillary Clinton, 36 contained secret information, while eight email chains contained confidential information.
Clinton’s case will now be referred to the Department of Justice for a final verdict on whether or not criminal charges will be filed. It is largely expected, however, that the Department of Justice will follow the FBI’s lead and not indict Clinton after Attorney General of the United States, Loretta Lynch, asserted she would follow the FBI’s recommendations last week.
Clinton’s Republican adversary in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, took to Twitter to air his frustration with the verdict. “The system is rigged,” wrote Trump on the social media site. “General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.”
David Petraeus’ and Hillary Clinton’s FBI probes differ in many ways, but that the key difference lies in the level of intent displayed.
Petraeus pleaded guilty to giving classified information to Paula Broadwell -- his biographer with whom he was having an affair with -- and lying to the FBI and CIA.
There is no evidence that Clinton lied to the FBI or CIA about her personal email use. In addition, although Clinton’s emails were risky and could have been hacked by a third-party, it is presumed that the colleagues she was corresponding with had a right to review the information being discussed over email, unlike the Petraeus case.