The investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server will be closed with no criminal charges, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Wednesday.
Lynch said in a statement she had accepted the FBI’s recommendation that no charges should be brought against Clinton.
“Late this afternoon, I met with FBI Director James Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as Secretary of State,” she said.
“I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation,” the statement continued.
The decision was largely a formality given Comey’s public statement on the case a day earlier, where he recommended against any prosecution.
Lynch said last week that she intended to accept whatever recommendations and findings were presented by the FBI and by her career prosecutors.
The decision came before Comey appears before House lawmakers on Thursday to explain his bombshell decision not to recommend criminal charges against Clinton over her handling of sensitive emails.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Lynch’s decision a “slap in the face” in a statement late Wednesday.
“Many Americans will understandably have a difficult time believing the Obama Justice Department conducted a fair and impartial investigation when you have the attorney general secretly meeting with Bill Clinton and the Clinton campaign leaking Lynch could remain as AG, all just days before it was announced charges would not be pursued,” he said. “Those who have mishandled classified information have had their security clearances revoked, lost their jobs, faced fines, and even been sent to prison, yet Hillary Clinton is being allowed to play by a different set of rules.”
Comey, who took no questions after announcing his decision Tuesday, agreed to go before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after several lawmakers sought an explanation. In saying he would not press the Justice Department to pursue an indictment against the likely Democrat nominee for president, Comey nonetheless laid out a strong case that she had violated laws regulating government employees’ safeguarding of sensitive emails.
“The FBI’s recommendation is surprising and confusing,” Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, 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. Congress and the American people have a right to understand the depth and breadth of the FBI’s investigation.”
Comey said 110 emails in 52 email chains discovered on Clinton’s unauthorized server were classified at the time they were sent or received, including some that were “top secret.” He also said that while the probe did not prove Clinton’s server was hacked, it may have been – and he pointedly noted that she used unsecure devices while visiting countries hostile to the U.S.
At a campaign rally Wednesday in Cincinatti, Ohio, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacted to the news by attacking Clinton’s “bad decision-making capability.”
“Her email server existed so her emails would never have been read by the public,” Trump said.
“She has bad judgment, and who said that -– Bernie Sanders,” he added.
In addition to Chaffetz, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., wrote the FBI director demanding to know how he justified his decision.
House and Senate judiciary committees could also seek testimony from Comey and his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Lynch was already slated to testify next Tuesday at a House Oversight Committee hearing where Fox News has learned she will be questioned about the email investigation, and possibly her secret meeting with former President Bill Clinton just days before her department dropped the email case against the former first lady.
FBI agents spent the last year investigating the matter following a referral from the intelligence community’s inspector general.
As part of that investigation, investigators pored through tens of thousands of State Department emails and interviewed top Clinton aides — and finally, Clinton herself this past weekend.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.