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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

There was no intent to mishandle government intelligence said Comey: No prosecution

Although General David Petraeus willingly and knowingly gave his mistress Paula Broadwell access to top secret information, his punishment was downgraded from felony to misdemeanor. Republicans never uttered a word. (Maybe it's because of their own culpibility to the charms of fans.....hey! It happens.)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey recommended no prosecution of Secretary Clinton to the Justice Department

Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, asserted in post on Twitter that David H. Petraeus, the former C.I.A. director, had been charged for doing far less than Mrs. Clinton, and the lack of charges showed that the system was “rigged.” 
In fact, F.B.I. officials have long said that what Mr. Petraeus did — knowingly handing a diary with classified information to his lover and biographer, and then lying about it to investigators — was worse than what Mrs. Clinton did with her email. In Mr. Petraeus’s case, the F.B.I. recommended a felony indictment, but the Justice Department opted for a misdemeanor. (Right out of the gate, before cosnulting with anybody, Donald Trump already spread another lie as though it was truth....Petreaus admitted to giving intel to his mistress!)

Following FBI Director Comey's surprise statement on Tuesday, and his recommendation to not recommend prosecution about Secretary Clinton's email scandal, the Republicans, including Speaker Paul Ryan, were cackling like a flock of agitated seagulls fighting over beach kill. They were agitated because Comey went public to defuse any political overtones to the Department's recommendtion. He said the FBI found no reason to recommend prosecution of Secretary Clinton for her use of a private home email server, while she was head of the State Department. 
Comey: "Only Facts Matter." No charges.
James Comey is an experienced and professionally accomplished FBI Director. His recmmendation was made based upon his expert judgement as a prosecutor. 
No reasonable prosecuter would bring forth charges- said Comey
FBI director Comey says "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring charges against Clinton in the daunting e-mail probe.

This recommendation lifts an enormous legal cloud from Secretary Clinton's presidential campaign. Comey's statement was ade less than two hours before Clinton boarded Air Force One for her first joint campaign appearance with President Obama.

Obviously, Republicans wanted Director Comey to recommend a criminal prosecution from evidence he found in his investigation. Frankly, Republicans have wasted millions of dollars on witchhunt investigations about Secretary Clinton over many yeas, driven by the vast right wing conspiracy. None of the investigations has ever proven anything.  In fact, Mrs. Clinton seems to be the only American citizen who does not receive the benefit of due process, even though she's never been found guilty of any crime in a series of bogus scandals.

To warrant a criminal charge, Mr. Comey said, there had to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton intentionally transmitted or willfully mishandled classified information. The F.B.I. found neither, and as a result, he said, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

The Justice Department is highly likely to accept the F.B.I.’s instruction, which a law enforcement official said also cleared Mrs. Clinton’s top aides involved in the emails: Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin and Cheryl D. Mills. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week that she would accept the recommendation of the F.B.I. and career prosecutors in the case after a storm of Republican criticism about an impromptu meeting between Ms. Lynch and former President Bill Clinton at an airport in Phoenix.

Mr. Comey’s 15-minute announcement, delivered with no advance warning only three days after investigators interviewed Mrs. Clinton in the case, riveted official Washington on an otherwise sleepy summer morning. In offices across the capital, all eyes turned to television screens to hear the outcome of a yearlong investigation that could have transformed the 2016 presidential election and changed history.

As Mr. Comey strode to the lectern at the F.B.I. headquarters at 11 a.m., Mrs. Clinton was blocks away, waiting backstage to address the National Education Association. Five minutes into Mr. Comey’s remarks — before he announced his recommendation — Mrs. Clinton began speaking.

By 2:45 p.m., she and Mr. Obama were descending the stairs of Air Force One for a campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C., while back in Washington the State Department spokesman, John Kirby, was fending off questions from reporters about what Mr. Comey called the department’s lax security in handling classified information.

White House officials said Mr. Obama did not know about Mr. Comey’s recommendation ahead of time. “I have not coordinated this statement or reviewed it any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government,” Mr. Comey said as part of a lengthy windup before he got to the point of not recommending charges. 

“They do not know what I am about to say.”

Mr. Comey, a Republican former federal prosecutor, was more forthcoming and sterner than he usually is in public appearances, laying out several previously undisclosed findings from the F.B.I.’s investigation:

■ Of 30,000 emails Mrs. Clinton handed over to the State Department, 110 contained information that was classified at the time she sent or received them. Of those, Mr. Comey said, “a very small number” were marked as classified. This finding contradicts her repeated assertions that none of the emails were classified at the time Mrs. Clinton saw them. The F.B.I. did not disclose the topics of the classified emails, but a number are believed to have involved drone strikes.

■ The F.B.I. discovered “several thousand” work-related emails that were not in the original trove of 30,000 turned over by Mrs. Clinton to the State Department. Three of those contained information that agencies have concluded was classified, though Mr. Comey said he did not believe Mrs. Clinton deliberately deleted or withheld them from investigators.

■ It is “possible,” Mr. Comey said, that hostile foreign governments may have gained access to Mrs. Clinton’s personal account. He noted that she used her mobile device extensively while traveling outside the United States, including trips “in the territory of sophisticated adversaries.”

■ Mrs. Clinton used multiple private servers for her personal and government business, not just a single server at her home in New York that has been the focus of news reports for more than a year. Her use of these servers — some of which were taken out of service and stored — made the F.B.I.’s job enormously complicated as it sought to put together a puzzle with “millions of email fragments” in it, Mr. Comey said.

A person in Mrs. Clinton’s position, he declared, “should have known that an unclassified system was no place” for the emails she was sending and receiving. Although the findings raised troubling questions about the laxness of security at the State Department, Mr. Comey said the F.B.I. did not find conduct suggesting “intentional misconduct or indications of disloyalty to the United States or efforts to obstruct justice.”

The White House declined to comment on the F.B.I.’s announcement. But the press secretary, Josh Earnest, said, “Based on what we know from Director Comey’s comments, they’ve looked at this in excruciating detail.” Mr. Obama, he said, remained “enthusiastic” about Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy.  

The Clinton campaign clearly hoped that the announcement would bring to a close a saga that has dogged Mrs. Clinton since March 2015, when the existence of her personal email account surfaced.

We are pleased that the career officials handling this case have determined that no further action by the department is appropriate,” said the campaign’s spokesman, Brian Fallon. “As the secretary has long said, it was a mistake to use her personal email and she would not do it again. We are glad that this matter is now resolved.”

But Republicans seized on Mr. Comey’s sharp criticism of Mrs. Clinton, which they said raised questions about her fitness for high office. Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, asserted in a post on Twitterthat David H. Petraeus, the former C.I.A. director, had been charged for doing far less than Mrs. Clinton, and the lack of charges showed that the system was “rigged.” In fact, F.B.I. officials have long said that what Mr. Petraeus did — knowingly handing a diary with classified information to his lover and biographer, and then lying about it to investigators — was worse than what Mrs. Clinton did. In Mr. Petraeus’s case, the F.B.I. recommended a felony indictment, but the Justice Department opted for a misdemeanor.Continue reading the main story

The plea deal that Mr. Petraeus received shadowed Mrs. Clinton’s case from the start because it appeared to set a higher bar for bringing charges against her.

“In looking back at our investigations into the mishandling or removal of classified information,” Mr. Comey said, “we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.”

Congressional Republicans immediately called for the F.B.I. to release many more details about its findings. “If it wants to avoid giving the impression that the F.B.I. was pulling punches, because many people in a similar situation would face some sort of consequence, the agency must now be more transparent than ever in releasing information gathered during its investigation,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan was equally critical. “While I respect the professionals at the F.B.I., this announcement defies explanation,” he said in a Twitter post. “No one should be above the law.”

F.B.I. investigators had compiled months of findings before interviewing Mrs. Clinton on Saturday, when she appeared to have said nothing to contradict what they had already discovered about how the private server was run and used. The investigators worked with Mr. Comey through the holiday weekend to review her testimony and determine whether there was any new information that might warrant recommending criminal charges, law enforcement officials said. They found none.

F.B.I. agents shared Mr. Comey’s conclusion that Ms. Clinton showed poor judgment. But for many weeks, agents expected their investigation would not yield criminal charges. They were reluctant to say when they expected to close the matter until agents met with Ms. Clinton.

It was believed to be the first time that the F.B.I. had ever publicly disclosed its recommendations to the Justice Department about whether to charge someone in any high-profile case, much less a presidential candidate.

It was also surprising for the F.B.I. to reach its conclusion so soon after the interview with Mrs. Clinton, but bureau officials appeared eager to wrap up a case that had dominated public attention for 16 months.

While Mr. Comey declared this spring that the campaign schedule would not dictate the pace of his investigation, the Democratic National Convention begins on July 25 in Philadelphia, and F.B.I. officials did not want to be seen as influencing the outcome of the election after the nomination.

Mr. Comey’s decision to announce the results of the investigation, and the F.B.I.’s recommendation, was made before the uproar over Ms. Lynch’s meeting with Mr. Clinton, according to a law enforcement official. Mr. Comey decided to make his findings public, the official said, because he wanted to make the bureau’s position clear before referring the case to the Justice Department.

Mr. Comey, who had been briefed regularly on the progress of the case, was also worried about leaks, this official said. Mr. Comey did not discuss his findings with Ms. Lynch, beyond letting her know that he planned an announcement. Still, the department’s career prosecutors were aware of the F.B.I.’s view.

For the investigators, officials said, one of the key factors in the case was that everybody involved in Mrs. Clinton’s email chains was authorized to receive classified information. There was also no evidence that she or anybody else lied about their involvement.

The news conference by Mr. Comey concluded an investigation that began a year ago when the inspector general for the intelligence agencies told the Justice Department that he had found classified information among a small sampling of emails Mrs. Clinton had sent and received.

While the F.B.I.’s recommendation spares Mrs. Clinton and her aides criminal charges, it does not remove the possibility that the government could deny the aides security clearances if Mrs. Clinton is elected and appoints them to jobs that require such clearance.

Follow Mark Landler on Twitter @MarkLandler.

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