The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee grilled the FBI director on Thursday about his decision to recommend that Hillary Clinton not be charged over her mishandling of classified information.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, asked FBI Director James Comey point-blank if Clinton lied during the investigation of her emails. Clinton, who is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has come under fire for using a private email server while she was secretary of state.
Comey opened his testimony be explaining why the FBI decided to recommend that the Justice Department not prosecute Clinton over the email scandal, despite concluding she was “extremely careless” with classified information.
“There are two things that matter in a criminal investigation of a subject,” Comey said. “What did the person do, and when they did that thing, what were they thinking? When you look at the hundred-years-plus of the Justice Department investigation and prosecution of mishandling of classified information, those two questions are obviously present.”
Comey continued: “We don’t want to put people in jail unless we prove that they knew they were doing something they shouldn’t do. When I look at the facts we gathered here, I see evidence of great carelessness, but I do not see evidence that is sufficient to establish that Secretary Clinton or those with whom she was corresponding both talked about classified information on email and that when they did it, they knew it was against the law.”
Chaffetz then started questioning Comey. He asked if Clinton “did come to possess documents and materials containing classified information via email on unsecured servers.”
“That is correct,” Comey responded.
Chaffetz then asked: “Did Hillary Clinton lie?”
Here’s the rest of the exchange:
Comey: “To the FBI? We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.”
Chaffetz: “Did she lie to the public?”
Comey: “That’s a question I’m not qualified to answer. I can speak about what she said to the FBI.”
Chaffetz: “Did Hillary Clinton lie under oath?”
Comey: “Not to the FBI, not in a case we were working.”
Chaffetz: “Did you review the documents where congressman Jim Jordan asked her specifically, and she said, ‘There was nothing marked classified on my emails, either sent or received’?”
Comey: “I don’t remember reviewing that particular testimony, I’m aware of that being said, though.”
Chaffetz: “Did the FBI investigate her statements under oath on this topic?”
Comey: “Not to my knowledge, I don’t think there’s been a referral from Congress.”
Chaffetz then asked if the FBI needed a referral from Congress to investigate Clinton’s statements under oath. Comey responded yes.
“You’ll have one,” Chaffetz said. “You’ll have one in the next few hours.”
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Wednesday that no charges would be brought against Clinton in this case.
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