If Clinton doesn’t face charges, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Justice Department will certainly come under criticism from conservatives who will suspect President Obama’s administration of covering up for a former Cabinet member.
Yet if charges are brought, Democrats are just as sure to question the motives of FBI Director James Comey, a Republican who worked for the Bush administration.
The stakes are huge given Clinton’s status as the likely Democratic presidential nominee, underscoring the pressure on the Justice Department. Charges against her or her aides could wound her presidential bid, while silence would ease her path to the White House.
“In this scenario, federal prosecutors are damned if they do bring a case and damned if they don’t,” said Justin Shur, the former deputy chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, who is now at the law firm MoloLamken.