FBI director to face Republican fire over
Clinton email probe
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[July 07, 2016]
By Julia Edwards and Alana Wise
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans will
get their first chance to grill FBI Director James Comey when he appears
before Congress on Thursday to explain his decision not to recommend
criminal charges against Democrat Hillary Clinton over her use of
private email servers.
The hearing at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) will be the first time Comey has
taken questions publicly since his announcement on Tuesday that the
FBI found nothing in its investigation of Clinton's mishandling of
classified emails while she was secretary of state that should lead
to criminal prosecution.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Wednesday she accepted
the Federal Bureau of Investigation's recommendation and had closed
the case. But the issue has cast a cloud over Clinton's Democratic
presidential campaign for the Nov. 8 election and raised questions
among voters about her honesty and trustworthiness.
Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said lawmakers
would be investigating whether they could take action over Clinton's
email practices. Comey will testify before the House Oversight
Lynch will appear at a separate hearing next Tuesday.
Comey said on Tuesday that 110 classified emails passed through
Clinton's servers, which were not kept on a secure government
server. He rebuked the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee
for "extremely careless" handling of classified information but said
no reasonable prosecutor would charge her or her staff criminally.
The Clinton campaign said it was pleased at the FBI's announcement
and called the Republican-led call for Comey's hearing a
"taxpayer-funded sham of an inquiry" intended to hurt Clinton
The Oversight Committee is chaired by Republican U.S. Representative
Jason Chaffetz, known for his persistent questioning of Obama
REPUTATION FOR INDEPENDENCE
Comey, a Republican who was appointed by Democratic President Barack
Obama and also served in the administration of former Republican
President George W. Bush, has built a reputation as a straight
shooter who does not bend to pressure from either party.
He has differed sharply with the Obama administration, most recently
over gun control and whether high-profile police brutality cases had
inhibited law enforcement from stopping crime.
Questions over the propriety of Clinton's use of unauthorized email
servers in her Chappaqua, New York, home during her time as
secretary of state have raised questions about her judgment from all
sides of the political spectrum.
[to top of second column]
FBI Director James Comey delivers a speech at the Master of Science
in Foreign Service CyberProject's sixth annual conference at
Georgetown University in Washington D.C., U.S. April 26, 2016.
Despite clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton
can expect a further onslaught of attacks from presumptive
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has accused her of
playing by a different set of rules from the American public.
"Hillary Clinton can't keep her emails safe, and you know what,
folks, she sure as hell can't keep our country safe," Trump told a
recent rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, charging that the
investigation was "rigged" in Clinton's favor.
Comey left the door open for other actions in the case, including
downgrading security clearances for anyone who mishandles classified
information as Clinton and her staff did.
Ryan said Congress would decide whether it could impose such
"I think it's the least we can do, given how she was so reckless in
handling classified material and sending classified information on
insecure servers," Ryan told reporters on Wednesday.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters he had faith that
Comey would protect the independence of the FBI's investigation even
as he was probed by Congress, noting Obama administration officials
had kept their cool even during "the most unfair congressional
(Reporting by Julia Edwards and Alana Wise; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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