WASHINGTON ― FBI Director James Comey on Thursday defended his decision to forgo a criminal case against Hillary Clinton, and in the process managed to dismiss a series of the most damaging claims against the former secretary of state.
Comey announced Tuesday that he’d cleared Clinton from potential prosecution over her use of a private email server, saying her actions were “extremely careless” but that no “reasonable” prosecutor would pursue the case. Attorney General Loretta Lynch agreed with him on Wednesday. Comey’s most damning finding was that Clinton had more than 100 classified messages on her system, including eight that were deemed “top secret.”
Almost immediately after the announcement, Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called Thursday’s hearing on the issue.
“We’re here because we’re mystified and confused by the fact pattern you laid out,” Chaffetz said. He added that based on Comey’s facts, if an “average Joe” had done what Clinton did, “they’d be in handcuffs.”