No criminal charges for mishandling classified information will be brought against former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, FBI Director James Comey announced Tuesday.
Comey said in a press conference that despite finding evidence Clinton was “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information; and that 110 emails sent or received on Clinton’s private email server contained classified information; and that it was possible people hostile to the U.S. had gained access to her personal email account; and that seven email chains were classified at the “Top Secret/Special Access Program level”; and that “any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position… should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation” – despite all these things, he is not recommending the Justice Department bring criminal charges.
“Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said. He explained that he is not recommending charges because the FBI could not find evidence that Clinton or her underlings “intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information.”
Well, as long as they didn’t intend to violate the law…
Donald Trump – Clinton’s main rival in the upcoming presidential election – fired back on Twitter by implying that Clinton got a pass due to her position and political influence: “FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem.”
FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2016
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan responded as well, saying that the decision not to prosecute Clinton “defied explanation.” “No one should be above the law,” he added, according to Fox News.
The FBI’s decision clears Clinton’s campaign of one of its biggest challenges thus far. Trump and other Republican leaders have made much of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s potentially criminal mishandling of classified information, reiterating that the investigation should disqualify her from running for president.
Others have used the investigation to point out the hypocrisy in the Democratic Party’s proposed gun control bill. The meme below has circulated in a number of iterations, but the idea is always the same: If a person being investigated by the FBI shouldn’t be allowed the own a gun, they shouldn’t be allowed to run for president either.
Now, while Republicans will no doubt continue to harp on Clinton’s misconduct, the weight of their accusations will be seriously lessened.
Anything good for Clinton’s campaign, of course, is bad for the future of gun rights in the United States. Clinton has stated repeatedly that the Supreme Court “got it wrong” when it affirmed the individual right to keep and bear arms, and her nine-part gun control platform includes things like “universal background checks” and an “assault weapons” ban.
The FBI had an opportunity to reaffirm the fundamental American principle that no one – no matter how much political power they possess – is above the law. They balked on that opportunity, and now a rabidly anti-Second Amendment candidate’s path to the White House is that much clearer.