FBI Director James Comey was scheduled to testify before Congress Thursday just days after he announced that his agency wouldn’t recommend pursuing charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.
Comey’s Tuesday announcement was a relief for the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign after months of questions about the emails, however Republicans hoped that Comey calling her “extremely careless” during a press conference could present an opportunity to continue to exploit the controversy and help their party’s standard bearer, Donald Trump, make up ground in the presidential race.
The Congressional hearing can be watched here at 10 a.m. EDT. Republicans running the Congressional hearings said that Comey’s decision not to recommend charges against Clinton was odd given the fact that he made other, negative statements during a Tuesday press conference that indicated she had been reckless with classified information.
“The FBI's recommendation is surprising and confusing. The fact pattern presented by Director Comey makes clear Secretary Clinton violated the law. Individuals who intentionally skirt the law must be held accountable,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, where Comey will testify Thursday, said in a statement. “Congress and the American people have a right to understand the depth and breadth of the FBI's investigation. I thank Director Comey for accepting the invitation to publicly answer these important questions.”
Comey indicated Tuesday that a criminal charge wasn’t warranted because there wasn’t evidence that showed Clinton had intentionally transmitted or mishandled classified materials on purpose. The Justice Department is likely to accept the FBI’s conclusion and not file criminal charges against the presidential candidate. The FBI also cleared three of Clinton’s top aides. They include one of her top foreign policy advisors, Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s former deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin and longtime ally Cheryl Mills.