House Republicans are demanding more answers about why FBI Director James Comey did not recommend federal charges against Hillary Clinton over her use of private email servers.
Their request was made in a letter sent Monday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina that also was signed by more than 200 other GOP House members.
Comey said Tuesday that Clinton was “extremely careless” in using multiple, private servers in sending and receiving classified and other government correspondence but that the FBI would conclude its investigation into the matter without recommending federal prosecution.
He also said federal prosecutors had no findings to support bringing criminal charges of mishandling or removing classified information.
However, House Republicans said in the letter that “it didn’t take long” for them to perform a “simple legal search” to find a case in the late 1980s in which a Marine was found guilty of mishandling classified material as a result of “gross negligence.”
“As a former prosecutor, please explain your understanding of the legal difference between actions performed with “gross negligence” and those done ‘extremely carelessly,’ ” Gowdy said in the letter. “How did you determine that ‘extreme carelessness’ did not equate to ‘gross negligence?’ ”
In the Marine’s case, the sergeant was found guilty, sentenced to confinement, forfeited pay for three years and had his rank reduced to the lowest enlisted grade for failing to report that he mistakenly took classified documents from his workplace after he cleaned out his desk.
Comey’s recommendations and Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s decision to follow them concludes the case against Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Comey testified Thursday before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs regarding the roughly two-year-long investigation.
“Secretary Clinton clearly placed our nation’s secrets in peril,” the letter also read. “And your decision to not refer the case for prosecution has created a cloud over our nation’s justice system. No one is above the law, and the American people deserve a more robust explanation for your decision to not recommend criminal charges.”
The letter also stated the FBI probe shows Clinton clearly transmitted classified information on an unclassified system, despite her saying she did not and that emails were marked classified after she had sent or received them.
In addition, the letter asked whether any of the emails Clinton deleted and that the FBI forensically recovered from Clinton’s private servers pertained to the Clinton Foundation. And it asked whether the agency’s Counterintelligence Division is still trying to determine whether so-called “hostile actors” gained access to Clinton’s emails, considering Comey said last week that a combination of factors raises such a possibility.