Lynch: No Charges Against Clinton
Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Wednesday that she would not pursue charges against Hillary Clinton over her email scandal.
“Late this afternoon, I met with FBI Director James Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation,” Lynch said in a 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 Hill reports:
The news was widely considered a given after Comey announced Tuesday that he did not recommend an indictment of Clinton.
Lynch largely relinquished her role overseeing the investigation following outrage that she met privately with former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband, on the tarmac at Phoenix’s airport, in what she has described as a purely social but nonetheless inappropriate encounter. After facing backlash last week, Lynch said she would defer to the FBI and prosecutors’ recommendations.
The Justice Department’s decision Wednesday nonetheless formally closes the book on the investigation into Clinton, which began with a referral from inspectors general at the State Department and intelligence agencies one year ago. The issue has loomed over Clinton’s campaign for longer, and criticism will likely continue to haunt her through the presidential election in November.
Some critics questioned Comey’s decision to get out in front of Justice Department lawyers since prosecutors — not the FBI — ultimately decide whether to press ahead with charges. As such, his public announcement of his recommendation could be seen as tipping the scales.
“I disagree with the FBI necessarily telling the prosecutors, ‘Here’s what you should do,’” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told The Hill off the Senate floor on Wednesday. “That should be left up to the Justice Department.”
Burr nonetheless maintained that he had faith in the FBI’s “thorough” investigation, he said.
Comey told reporters on Tuesday that he was taking the unusual step of detailing his bureau’s investigation due to the heightened politics surrounding the probe and the expectations that critics would allege impropriety.
“I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest,” he said at the outset of his announcement.
Still, the decision has inflamed criticism on Capitol Hill, where Republican lawmakers questioned how Clinton escaped indictment despite Comey’s scolding of her behavior as “extremely careless.”
Comey will testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday to respond to critics’ allegations and defend the FBI’s efforts.
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