James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced on Tuesday that the agency discovered thousands of emails that Hillary Clinton failed to hand over as part of the ongoing investigation into her handling of classified material during her tenure as secretary of state, but recommended that she not face charges in connection with the case.
Comey said that 110 of the emails Clinton sent using a private server contained classified information at the time they were sent. Eight of those classified emails included material that was designated top secret.
"There is evidence they were extremely careless" in handling sensitive information, Comey said, referring to Clinton and her staff at the State Department.
"Any reasonable person... should have known" that private email was not appropriate for these conversations, Comey added.
Still, the FBI director said it appeared that "no charges are appropriate in this case."
"Our judgement is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case" against Clinton for her use of emails," Comey said.
Comey's announcement that Clinton will not likely be charged comes days after Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the Department of Justice plans to follow the FBI's recommendations in deciding whether to prosecute Clinton. The FBI interviewed Clinton for more than three hours on Saturday at the agency's headquarters in Washington. Lynch declined to give a timeline of when the investigation will be over.
"The recommendations will be reviewed by career supervisors in the Department of Justice and in the FBI, and by the FBI director, and then as is the common process, they present it to me and I fully expect to accept their recommendations," Lynch said in a televised interview with the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
In his remarks on Tuesday, Comey faulted Clinton for using the private email server, and said the FBI discovered that the overall culture of security at the State Department was "generally lacking."
Clinton's lax approach to the security of her emails, Comey said, made it possible that "hostile actors" had "obtained access" to her personal email. He did not elaborate on whether anything had actually been hacked.
"We found no evidence that any of the additional work-related deleted in an effort to conceal" their presence, Comey said.
"There was no archiving at all of her emails," he added, "so it's not surprising that we found emails that were not on her system... when she produced emails for the State Department."
The FBI's announcement came just four hours before Clinton was scheduled to appear with President Barack Obama on the campaign trail for the first time. The email scandal has lingered over Clinton's presidential campaign for much of the past year, and has been a main line of attack from her presumptive Republican challenger, Donald Trump. It did not take long for Trump to weigh in on the FBI's announcement via Twitter.
Comey acknowledged the deeply politicized nature of the investigation, but stressed that it was done "honestly, competently, independently."
"Only facts matter and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way," he said, before exiting the podium without taking any questions from reporters.
The FBI later released a full transcript of Comey's statement.
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