Not a surprise given FBI Director Comey’s announcement Tuesday but Wednesday afternoon Attorney General Loretta Lynch accepted Comey’s recommendation and formally closed the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. WTKR reports Lynch issued the following statement:
Late this afternoon, I met with FBI Director James Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as Secretary of State. I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation.
The decision brings to an end a long saga that began when the Select Committee on Benghazi requested Clinton’s work emails connected to the attack and the State Department found it did not have them. Five months after an informal request to turn over her work emails, the State Department sent a formal request to Clinton in December of 2014.
The story became public knowledge in March of 2015 when the NY Times reported Clinton had never had an official State Dept. account but had relied exclusively on her own private account. A week later Clinton gave a press conference in an attempt to quell the uproar over the story and announced she would ask the State Department to release all of her work-related emails.
During that press conference Clinton made four claims about the arrangement which, in hindsight, were completely false or misleading. For instance, she claimed her only reason for setting up the private server was for the convenience of carrying one device. But Director Comey made clear she actually used multiple devices for email. She also claimed her email was preserved according to record-keeping rules because she mostly emailed people who had official State Department accounts. Her campaign manager has since revealed she knew that was not true when she said it. In fact, she had known for months that her emails had not been preserved which is why the Department was asking her to turn them over.
The FBI became involved in the story last July after the Inspectors General for the State Department and the Intelligence Community found classified material in a small sampling of Clinton’s emails which were being readied for release by the State Department. Based on their finding, the IGs made a security referral to the FBI in the belief that classified material remained on the server (actually a series of servers) and a thumb drive kept by Clinton’s attorney. The FBI seized the servers and the thumb drive and were able to find some work-related emails which Clinton had failed to turn over. The penultimate moment in the story came Tuesday when Director Comey announced he would not be recommending charges be brought against Clinton.
Both AG Lynch and Director Comey are scheduled to appear before Congress Thursday to answer questions about the investigation. Even before the investigation was formally closed, House Speaker Paul Ryan called on the Director of National Intelligence to restrict Clinton’s access to classified information.