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Comey on Clinton Emails: We Looked 'Very Hard' for Obstruction of Justice

Image: Comey on Clinton Emails: We Looked 'Very Hard' for Obstruction of Justice

FBI Director James Comey ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Sep 2016 03:05 PM

FBI Director James Comey told a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing that no reason for a criminal case was found in the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's email account.

"We looked at it very hard to see if there was criminal obstruction of justice," Comey said, according to Politico

Under questioning by the committee's chairman, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, Comey said, "We could not make an obstruction case against any of the subjects we looked at," but did not identify those subjects, a term prosecutors use for people whose conduct is troubling.

Clinton and her top aides were told they were witnesses, not subjects, according to Politico.

The FBI director said that prosecutors gave immunity to computer technician Paul Combetta, who said he had been told to delete emails but forgot, and deleted them after the issue led to an investigation.

Comey said that some factors were not present in the Clinton probe that had led to prosecutions in other cases: "I think had we recommended prosecution, it would have been a two-tiered system of justice."

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, asked if it was "irregular" for Clinton's former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, a witness and a lawyer, to attend Clinton's FBI interview about the case. Comey responded that Mills was acting as part of Clinton's legal team, and it is "not the FBI's job to decide who can be in a voluntary interview. There are ethical canons that govern lawyers, but we don't police that."

The FBI had reported that Mills and four other attorneys accompanied Clinton to her FBI interview, including Heather Samuelson, a witness in the probe. Mills and Samuelson were involved in reviewing Clinton's emails after the State Department asked for them in 2014.

Comey explained the immunity that the FBI gave to Mills regarding information contained on a laptop. Comey said, "It was not personal immunity for her. The immunity was 'We will not use directly against you anything we recover on this laptop.'"

He said it was a negotiation tactic the FBI used so they could get access to the laptop.

"It's a lawyer's laptop. So, having done this for many, many years, a grand jury subpoena for a lawyer's laptop would likely entangle us in litigation over privilege for a very long time," Comey said, referencing his years of experience as a federal prosecutor.

The FBI director also addressed ISIS and terror attacks during the hearings. NBC News reported that Comey said the leftover members of ISIS would create a "terrorist diaspora" after that group is defeated.

"The caliphate will be crushed. When ISIS is reduced to an insurgency, those people will try to come to western Europe and here," Comey said.

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FBI Director James Comey told a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing that no reason for a criminal case was found in the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's email account.
fbi, james comey, emails, hillary clinton
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2016-05-27
Tuesday, 27 Sep 2016 03:05 PM
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