FBI won’t recommend charges in Hillary Clinton email scandal

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at Jackie O's Production Brewery and Tap Room in Athens, Ohio on Tuesday. AP/Paul Sancya

WASHINGTON — The leader of the FBI said the agency won’t recommend criminal charges against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.

FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that Clinton and her staff were “extremely careless” in the way they handled classified information on the private email server, which left her office vulnerable to cyber breaches. However, Comey said “no charges are appropriate” since “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

The announcement is a major victory for the Clinton campaign, which fought a constant stream of legal questions for months. However, the trust questions that the email snafu has raised will undoubtedly continue to dog the former Cabinet official on the campaign trail.

Indeed, Donald Trump was quick to jump on the news on Twitter:

Back in Washington, Comey said FBI investigators could not find “direct evidence” that Clinton’s personal email domain was hacked successfully but admitted that if it was broken into it would be difficult to tell.

“We assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account,” said Comey, citing that Clinton used her personal email extensively while traveling outside the U.S., including in places where there are “sophisticated adversaries.”

Comey said the private, commercial email accounts of people in regular contact with Clinton were hacked.

Here’s more from the AP:

The announcement came three days after the FBI interviewed Clinton for hours in a final step of its yearlong investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week that she would accept the recommendations of the FBI director and of career prosecutors, meaning that Comey’s decision almost certainly brings the legal part of the issue to a close and removes the threat of criminal charges.

The reprimands from Georgia Republicans were swift:

Coweta County GOP Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who sits on the special House Benghazi panel that helped unearth Clinton’s email trove, said the emails show Clinton’s “disregard for a transparent government.”

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