Comey Defends Clinton Probe; ‘Don’t Call Us Weasels’

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Republican lawmakers may question the decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for using a private email server as secretary of state, but they should not question the investigation’s thoroughness, FBI Director James Comey told the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, McClatchy Newspapers reports. “You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels. We are not weasels. We are honest people, and we did this in that way,” Comey said. “Whether you disagree or agree with the result, this was done the way you would want it to be done.” Republicans grilled Comey on the FBI’s year-long investigation into the potential mishandling of classified email, which ended in July when the FBI recommended against prosecution and the Justice Department closed the case. They demanded to know why multiple key witnesses had been granted immunity, questioned Comey on his interpretation of the key felony statute at issue and argued that the outcome revealed a double standard in the treatment of powerful public figures.

Comey again said the case was not a close call. Though he said in July that Clinton and her aides had been “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information, he said no one else would have been prosecuted for the same acts — though they might have gotten into trouble with their employer. “To prosecute on these facts would be a double standard because Jane and Joe Smith would not be prosecuted on these facts,” Comey said. Republicans were not satisfied, arguing that Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, illegally mishandled classified information. Comey also said the FBI expects to have up and running within two years a database that tracks police use of deadly force. The database is intended to capture how often police officers kill citizens in the line of duty and to correct a record-keeping gap that Comey said has resulted in uninformed conversations, based on anecdotes, about use of force. Demands for more complete records have grown amid a series of high-profile deaths at the hands of police officers. In the absence of hard data, Comey said, “I can’t tell you whether shootings involving people of any different color are up or down or sideways and nor can anybody else in this country.”

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