“What would she have had to do to …”
With the FBI investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server having revealed careless conduct, flouting of the rules for handling sensitive documents, and attempts to cover up the scandal, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., wanted to know on Wednesday what — exactly — the FBI’s standard would have been to have prosecuted Clinton for breaking the law.
“What would she have had to do to warrant your recommendation for prosecution?” Gowdy asked FBI Director James Comey during a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday.
Comey, as he has before, said that he would have to be able to prove intent. On Wednesday, he replied to Gowdy that he would have had to be able to prove Clinton knew what she did was wrong when she did it.
“But the way to prove that is whether or not someone took steps to conceal or destroy what they’ve done,” Gowdy said. “That is the best evidence you have that they knew it was wrong, that they lied about it.”
The congressman made it clear he believed intent had been demonstrated.
” … you have to prove it by circumstantial evidence such as whether or not the person intended to set up an e-mail system outside the State Department, such as whether or not the person knew or should have known that his or her job involved handling classified information, whether or not the person was truthful about the use of multiple devices, whether or not the person knew that a frequent e-mailer to her had been hacked, and whether she took any remedial steps after being put on notice that your e-mail or someone who’s been e-mailing with you prolifically had been hacked, and whether or not — and I think you would agree with this, Director — false exculpatory statements are gold in a courtroom. I would rather have a false exculpatory statement than a confession. I would rather have someone lie about something and it be provable that that is a lie, such as that I neither sent nor received classified information. Such as that I turned over all of my work related e-mails. All of that to me goes to the issue of intent,” Gowdy said.
He told Comey he was “real careful not to criticize you” but was highly unhappy with the results of the FBI’s work.
“That is not the FBI that I used to work with,” Gowdy said.
Gowdy had also expressed his frustration during Fox and Friends when he noted that rules seemed to have been bent severely in the investigation, as typified by the multiple roles played by Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, who was given immunityby the FBI.
“Cheryl Mills, one day she’s a target, one day she’s a witness, and then the next day, she’s sitting in Secretary Clinton’s interview as a lawyer. And I’ll just tell you, as somebody that did this for a living, that is unprecedented,” Gowdy said.
Gowdy was not alone in being skeptical.
“It seems clear that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton committed multiple felonies involving the passing of classified information through her private email server,” said Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va.. “The FBI, however, declined to refer the case for prosecution on some very questionable bases.”
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said he was certain the decision not to prosecute Clinton was made before she was interviewed. Comey denied that assertion.
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