Paul Ryan: FBI's decision not to bring charges against Hillary Clinton 'defies explanation'

Paul Ryan Holds Weekly Press Briefing At The CapitolWin McNamee/Getty ImagesSpeaker of the House Paul Ryan.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton in its email probe “defies explanation.”

“No one should be above the law,” said Ryan, the highest ranking Republican in elected office.

He continued: “But based upon the director’s own statement, it appears damage is being done to the rule of law.”

FBI Director James Comey acknowledged at a Tuesday press conference that it is illegal for officials to “mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way.” He characterised Clinton’s handling of such intelligence as “extremely careless,” but nevertheless said the bureau would not recommend the Department of Justice file charges.

“Declining to prosecute Secretary Clinton for recklessly mishandling and transmitting national security information will set a terrible precedent,” Ryan said.

The House speaker noted the FBI contradicted a key claim Clinton has made dozens of times throughout the past year about emails she sent or received containing classified information.

“The findings of this investigation also make clear that Secretary Clinton misled the American people when she was confronted with her criminal actions,” he said.

Ryan added that “more information” is needed “about how the Bureau came to this recommendation.”

“[T]he American people will reject this troubling pattern of dishonesty and poor judgment,” he said.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week she would accept the FBI’s recommendation in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email system as secretary of state.

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