House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte has many questions for FBI Director James Comey, given the news that Comey isn’t recommending criminal charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information.
“It is clear that Secretary Clinton possibly jeopardized the safety and security of our citizens and nation through her use of private email servers,” the Virginia Republican said in a Tuesday statement. “None should be above the law, and the American people need to know that federal law enforcement is taking this misconduct seriously.”
Goodlatte “raised several concerns” with Comey in a phone call and peppered him with questions in a letter following up on that conversation. The inquiries centered on how Comey concluded that Clinton shouldn’t be prosecuted for “gross negligence” in light of his conclusion that she showed “extreme carelessness” in handling classified information, including top-secret military information.
“If any other American with a security clearance had placed such sensitive information at risk, is there nothing the FBI would have done to recommend sanctions against such person’s extreme carelessness?” Goodlatte wrote.
Comey criticized Clinton through his much-anticipated announcement, but stopped short of recommending criminal charges, saying that he couldn’t prove intent to break the law.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey said.
“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
Goodlatte faulted him for “pre-judging” the outcome of a prosecutorial review. “If the FBI found evidence of potential crimes related to mishandling of classified information by Secretary Clinton and her staff, why would the FBI pre-judge that ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would ever bring such a case for negligent mishandling of classified information?” he asked. “Is that not a decision that should be made by the Department of Justice?”
Finally, Goodlatte asked an eighth question that raises the possibility of an ongoing investigation of the Clintons. “What does your recommendation to DoJ that Secretary Clinton not be charged, despite extreme carelessness in the handling of classified information, mean for the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation?” he asked.