FBI Director James Comey said at the House Oversight Committee Thursday that his investigation showed that Hillary Clinton was not "particularly sophisticated" with classified information.
Reps. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) and Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) did not take this revelation lightly.
DeSantis said he was having trouble understanding that if someone knew that there was classified information, then how it was appropriate to pass it on through a private and non-secure email server.
"This is information that clearly anybody who had knowledge of security information would know that it would be classified," he said. "But, I'm having a little bit of trouble to see how you would not then know that that was something that was inappropriate to do?"
"Well, I just want to take one of your assumptions about sophistication," Comey said. "I don't think that our investigation established that she was actually particularly sophisticated with respect to classified information, and the levels, and the treatment."
DeSantis was stunned and asked if she was an original classification authority. Comey nodded.
Later in the hearing, Comey explained to Meadows there were three documents that had confidential classified markings.
"There were three documents that bore portion markings where you're obligated when something is classified, you put a marking on that paragraph," he said."And there were three that bore C in parentheses, which means that's confidential classified information."
Meadows jumped in to ask if it was reasonable to assume Clinton would be able to understand the marking.
"So a reasonable person who has been a senator, a secretary of state, a First Lady– wouldn't a reasonable person know that that was a classified marking?" he asked. "As a Secretary of State."
Comey said yes.
Meadows continued to make his point.
"A reasonable person," he said. "That's all I'm asking you."
Comey gave a shocking response.
"Yeah, before this investigation I probably would have said yes, I'm not so sure," he said. "I don't find it—"
"Director Comey, come on," Meadows said. "I mean, I've only been here a few years and I understand the importance of those markings. So, you're suggesting that a long length of time she had no idea what a classified marking would be. That's your sworn testimony today?"
Comey immediately said no.
"No, no, not that she would have no idea what a classified marking would be, but, it's an interesting question as to whether she—this question about sophistication came up earlier—whether she was actually sophisticated enough to understand what a C in parenthesis means," he said.
"So, you're saying this former Secretary of State is not sophisticated enough to understand a classified marking?" Meadows asked. "That's a huge statement."
Comey said no. He said before this investigation, he would have assumed that someone would know what that meant but wasn't sure any longer.