Irate that Hillary Clinton will not face criminal charges over her emails, House Republicans are summoning FBI Director James Comey to Capitol Hill to answer their questions.
Comey will testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the panel’s chairman, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, announced.
The announcement came a day after Comey rebuked Clinton for “extremely careless” behavior in her handling of classified emails as secretary of state, but declared that “no charges are appropriate” in the case.
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“There are a lot of questions that have to be answered. And so we’re going to be asking those questions,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters, adding that it looked like Clinton had gotten preferential treatment.
“We have seen nothing but stonewalling and dishonesty from Secretary Clinton on this issue, and that means there are a lot more questions that need to be answered.”
Ryan said Clinton should be barred from receiving classified briefings in the course of the campaign. He said he would be looking into whether Congress could take action to enact such a prohibition. And asked whether a special prosecutor should be appointed in the case, Ryan said he wouldn’t “foreclose any option.”
Ryan’s comments reflected widespread anger, even disbelief, among Republicans over Comey’s announcement. Comey delivered a stinging assessment of Clinton’s handling of classified emails, saying she should have known not to have sensitive discussions on an unclassified system and that she sent and received emails that were classified at the time, contrary to her claims. But he followed up by saying no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges in such a case, partly because his investigators found no intentional or willful mishandling of classified information.
“The FBI’s recommendation is surprising and confusing,” Chaffetz said. “The fact pattern presented by Director Comey makes clear Secretary Clinton violated the law. Individuals who intentionally skirt the law must be held accountable.”
Democrats were furious over Chaffetz’s decision to haul Comey before his committee.
“Republican after Republican praised Director Comey’s impeccable record of independence right up until the moment he issued his conclusion,” said the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. “The only emergency here is that yet another Republican conspiracy theory is slipping away.”