According to FBI Director Jim Comey, Hillary Clinton is a careless liar who seems to make some very poor decisions that were probably very bad for our country… but he can’t charge her with a crime.
In a press conference on Tuesday morning the FBI Director told America that every excuse ever uttered by Hillary Clinton was completely false, that Gmail would have been more secure than her private server, that our enemies most likely had complete access to her email (and our classified intel), and that Hillary Clinton was inept, incompetent, foolish, and had likely been lying through her teeth… but he couldn’t find enough evidence to prove that she’d done it all on purpose.
To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances a person engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions but that’s not what we are deciding here.
In fact, Comey’s statement seems specifically crafted to explain that Hillary Clinton did indeed break the law… there just isn’t anything Comey can do about it.
Read the relevant statute and then consider his comments on her “negligence.”
“18 U.S.C. Section 793(f) : Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document. . .relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer, Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”
And here is what Comey said:
Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.
If you think that FBI announcement was anything short of a wholesale rebuke of the story Clinton has told about the emails, you are wrong.
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) July 5, 2016
By the way… Hillary Clinton’s email problems might be even worse than we originally thought:
FBI director James Comey dismantled large portions of Clinton’s long-told story about her private server and what she sent or received on it during a stirring 15-minute press conference following which he took no questions. While Comey exonerated Clinton legally speaking, he provided huge amounts of fodder that could badly hamstring her in the court of public opinion.
Most importantly, Comey said that the FBI found 110 emails on Clinton’s server that were classified at the time they were sent or received…
It’s hard to read Comey’s statement as anything other than a wholesale rebuke of the story Clinton and her campaign team have been telling ever since the existence of her private email server came to light in the spring of 2015. She did send and receive classified emails. The setup did leave her — and the classified information on the server — subject to a possible foreign hack. She and her team did delete emails as personal that contained professional information.
Those are facts, facts delivered by the Justice Department of a Democratic administration. And those facts run absolutely counter to the narrative put forth by the Clinton operation — that this whole thing was a Republican witch-hunt pushed by a bored and adversarial media.
FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2016
Exactly, Mr. Trump. Wow.