The FBI announced Tuesday that it would not recommend charges against Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server when she served as State Department chief. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, July 5 (UPI) -- The FBI won't recommend charges be brought against Hillary Clinton after an investigation into her use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state, the agency's Director James Comey said Tuesday.
"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," Comey said in a news conference.
"In looking back at our investigations into the mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts."
Still, Comey wasn't entirely forgiving of Clinton's practice of using a private server.
"There is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton should have known an unclassified system was no place for that information," he said.
The case goes to the Department of Justice, which has the ultimate say about any "prosecutive decision" against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Comey said.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday she would accept the findings of the FBI investigation and would not overrule a potential criminal prosecution if one was recommended. Her decision came after Lynch had a private meeting with Hillary Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, at a Phoenix airport. Lynch said she regretted having "cast a shadow" over the FBI's investigation even though the visit was social.
The FBI, which is a part of the Justice Department, completed "a tremendous amount of work over the last year," Comey said.
Comey noted that investigators read all of Clinton's 30,000 emails provided to the State Department in 2014.
He said that the investigation showed that 110 emails in 52 email chains had classified information when they were received.
Comey also said the FBI found no direct evidence that Clinton's personal email domain was ever hacked.
The announcement comes three days after a Clinton spokesman confirmed she had a "voluntary" meeting with investigators.
A Clinton aide said the interview lasted about 3 1/2 hours at the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., over the July Fourth weekend.
In an interview broadcast on NBC, Clinton said she was happy to participate in the FBI interview.
"I've been answering questions for over a year" regarding the private email server, Clinton said.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump quickly responded to the FBI's decision.
He posted on Twitter, "FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges."
Two minutes earlier, he wrote: "The system is rigged. General [David] Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment."
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Comey's announcement "defies explanation."
"No one should be above the law, but based upon the director's own statement, it appears damage is being done to the rule of law," he said in a statement. "Declining to prosecute Secretary Clinton for recklessly mishandling and transmitting national security information will set a terrible precedent."
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said the campaign was "pleased that the career officials handling the case have determined that no further action by the department is appropriate.
"As the secretary has long said, it was a mistake to use her personal email and she would not do it again. We are glad that this matter is now resolved."