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GOP Condemns FBI Clinton Decision: ‘No One Should be Above the Law’

Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan / AP
• July 5, 2016 5:31 pm

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Republicans assailed FBI Director James Comey’s announcement Tuesday that the agency would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton or her aides in the federal government’s probe into the former secretary of state’s unsecured email server.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the decision appeared to "damage" the rule of law after Comey faulted Clinton for acting "extremely careless" in her handling of classified information.

"While I respect the law enforcement professionals at the FBI, this announcement defies explanation," he said in a statement. "No one should be above the law."

Comey said during a 15-minute press conference at the bureau’s headquarters that after a thoroughninvestigation, the FBI concluded that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring criminal charges.

He condemned Clinton and her State Department aides for potentially exposing classified information to hostile governments, but determined that there was "no intentional misconduct."

"Declining to prosecute Secretary Clinton for recklessly mishandling and transmitting national security information will set a terrible precedent," Ryan continued.

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, who will likely face Clinton in the general election, slammed the decision as "rigged." Within minutes after Comey’s announcement, he noted charges brought against retired Gen. David Petraeus in 2012 for giving classified information to his biographer and mistress.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) said the decision "sets a dangerous precedent" for national security.

"Despite finding evidence that Secretary Clinton was "extremely careless" and potentially broke the law by mishandling classified information, the FBI's recommendation against pursuing charges suggests that she gets to play by a different set of rules than everyone else," Ayotte said in a statement. "The lives of Americans depend on the protection of classified information, and failing to enforce the law in this case sets a dangerous precedent for our national security."

The FBI’s announcement concluded a year-long federal investigation to determine whether classified information was criminally mishandled on Clinton’s server.

The Bureau interviewed Clinton Saturday for three hours. Her campaign described the meeting as "voluntary."