Most of the conservative blogosphere is bashing the FBI right now for not recommending charges against Hillary Clinton, and there’s definitely some fairness in that complaint. Obviously, what Clinton did was a good deal more reckless than what Scooter Libby or any number of other people have done. Nonetheless, there was never any real chance that Clinton would face criminal prosecution because the DOJ is still controlled by Obama, who has endorsed Clinton for President. And yes, that is evidence of a corrupt system.
It’s especially galling when Comey basically spent 10 minutes carefully explaining how Hillary Clinton did, in fact, violate the law with respect to the storage and transfer of classified material, but that he wasn’t recommending criminal charges anyway. I have no doubt in my mind after watching this press conference that he was specifically ordered not to recommend charges. However, I DO think that he decided to make life as difficult as possible for Clinton on the way out the door.
Here he is explaining how the basic crux of Republicans’ complaint about Clinton’s behavior with respect to the server was absolutely correct:
Comey: 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 email chains concern matters that were classified at the top secret, special access program, at the time they were sent and received. Those chains involve Secretary Clinton both sending emails about those matters, and receiving emails about those matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position or in the position of those with whom she was corresponding about those matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.
In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified secret by the U.S. intelligence community at the time it was discussed on email. That is excluding any later upclassified emails.
None of these emails should have been on any unclassified system. But their presence is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full time security staff, like those found at agencies and departments of the United States government, or even with a commercial email service like GMail.
I think it’s also important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the emails here (note: not zero, as Clinton has claimed) containing classified information bore markings that indicated the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked classified in an email, participants who know or should know that the subject of the matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.
This is as total of a denial of Clinton’s position with respect to the email scandal that anyone could possibly muster. And it confirms that what Republicans have been saying about the server, and the carelessness with which Clinton set up this whole scheme, was exactly right. The final shiv at the end was when Comey suggested that Clinton basically ought to have her security clearance revoked. He was just prevented from actually charging her because of who his boss is.