After taking “additional investigative steps” into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state, FBI director James Comey has announced that the agency has reached the same conclusion that they had expressed in July when the case initially wrapped.
In a letter released by Comey to members of congress that was obtained by CNN’s Jim Acosta and shared on Twitter, the FBI director says they have concluded their review of the newly uncovered emails, which were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop during a separate investigation. (The disgraced politician Weiner is the estranged husband of Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin.)
“I write to supplement my October 28, 2016 letter that notified you the FBI would be taking additional investigative steps with respect to former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a personal email server,” Comey writes. “Since my letter, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.
“I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.”
According to CNN, FBI sources said that many of the emails that were reviewed since the October letter were duplicate emails from those that they had previously reviewed.
In July, Comey recommended to the Justice Department that “no charges were appropriate,” but acknowledged that Clinton was “extremely careless” handling of classified information by using her private server and personal email address.
Comey made headlines on Oct. 28 when he announced that the FBI would be taking additional steps to investigate emails found on Weiner’s computer.
Clinton called on the FBI to come forward immediately with the “full and complete facts” of the investigation after learning of the renewed investigation.
“It is incumbent upon on the FBI to tell us what they’re talking about, because right now your guess is as good as mine, and I don’t think that’s good enough,” she said on Oct. 28.
Clinton told supporters at an Oct. 31 rally that she felt confident the FBI would ultimately reach the “same conclusion” as it did in its initial investigation, declaring, “There is no case here.” She also questioned the timing of the FBI’s announcement. “I am sure a lot of you may be asking what this new email story is about and why in the world the FBI would decide to jump into an election with no evidence of any wrong doing with just days to go,” she said. “That is a good question.”
Comey’s announcement was a boon to Trump’s campaign, who turned on their previous criticism of the FBI following their July conclusion. Kellyanny Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, criticized Clinton’s press secretary Brian Fallon, after the FBI’s latest announcement:
Trump supporter Newt Gingrich accused Comey of “caving” to political pressure for standing by his inital July conclusion following the FBI’s most recent review.
NBC’s Katy Tur also reported that Conway turned away from her previous praise of Conway following his October letter, saying the FBI director had “mishandled this investigation from the beginning.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan took a more measured tone in a statement, saying that regardless of the investigation, Clinton “believes she’s above the law and always plays by her own rules.” He also urged voters to “bring the Clinton era to end by voting for Donald Trump.”
Brad Woodhouse, president of the pro-Clinton PAC, Correct the Record, said, “Comey’s latest letter now makes clear that Donald Trump’s closing argument is a complete fraud and that Trump and the Republican Party have been dead wrong about this matter. It’s time for Republicans to finally accept the truth and drop their absurd obsession with this case.”
According to CBS News reporter Nancy Cordes, a Clinton aide says that she “rolled her eyes and shrugged her shoulders” when told about the new FBI letter.
“Understated exasperation over all the drama,” Cordes said.