Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has spoken out in several major ways after FBI Director Comey’s announcement on Tuesday that Hillary Clinton will not face criminal charges for her role in the private email server scandal. Ryan spoke to Megan Kelly of Fox News, saying that he was “mystified” that after the points made by Comey on Tuesday, that the FBI Director did not conclude his scathing attack on “careless” Clinton by recommending criminal charges.
Comey did say, “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.”
Ryan concluded his remarks with Kelly by saying, “This is one of the reasons that people are so dissatisfied, so upset about government. They think that people live by a different set of rules.”
Ryan told Kelly that he interpreted Comey’s remark as a suggestion of other sanctions for Clinton. And Ryan agrees. First, he has asked that Clinton be banned from upcoming weekly classified briefings, which presidential candidates are privy to after the RNC and DNC conventions.
Ryan has also stated that all FBI findings regarding the Clinton email scandal should be released. “She’s competing for Commander in Chief here. There’s a whole accounting that needs to happen. We’re going to have hearings,” said Ryan. Congress did in fact call Comey and several other key individuals in to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Thursday. Chairman Jason Chaffetz said that “individuals who intentionally skirt the law must be held accountable. Congress and the American people have a right to understand the depth and breadth of the FBI’s investigation.” Joining Comey were Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general, as well as the inspector general for the intelligence community, Charles McCullough III.
During the testimony, the Congressional committee learned that some of Clinton’s statements about her email server during the House Benghazi Committee testimony last October were not true, meaning that the Presidential candidate lied to Congress. During that testimony, Clinton had emphatically denied sending and receiving classified material via her private server, but Comey confirmed that the FBI had indeed found documents marked as classified as well as evidence that classified material was emailed. Comey also confirmed that Clinton had used multiple devices while Secretary of State, again refuting her previous testimony that she only used one device.
Perhaps the most damning evidence was when the Oversight Committee learned that Clinton had in fact not returned all work-related emails to the State Department, although she had testified to the contrary. “No, we found work-related emails, thousands that were not returned,” Comey said. He also added that it was difficult to ascertain whether Clinton or her aides had deleted work-related emails from her personal server, explaining that while the FBI found traces of work-related emails, it was hard to determine whether they had been deleted or whether another action like a server change was the reason. Nevertheless, Comey verified that “there is no doubt that the work-related emails were removed electronically from the email system.”
Committee member Trey Gowdy addressed Comey, saying “Two days ago, Director, you said a reasonable person should have known a private email is no place to send and receive classified information. You’re right. An average person does know not to do that. This is no average person–this is a former first lady, a former United States senator, and a former secretary of state that the president now contends is the most competent, qualified person to be president since Jefferson. She affirmatively rejected efforts to have an official state.gov account. She kept these private emails for almost two years and only turned them over to Congress because we found out she had a private email account. So you have a rogue email system set up before she took the oath of office. Thousands of what we now know to be classified emails, some of which were classified at the time. One of her more frequent email comrades was in fact hacked, and you don’t know whether or not she was. And this scheme took place over a long period of time and resulted in the destruction of public records yet you say there is insufficient evidence of intent.”
Gowdy concluded by saying that prosecutors have difficulty proving criminal intent, but “if you’re Congress and you realize how difficult it is to prove specific intent, you will formulate a statute that allows for gross negligence.”