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FBI releases report on its investigation into Clinton’s use of private email server

Democratic+presidential+candidate+Hillary+Clinton+addresses+a+crowd+on+Tuesday%2C+Aug.+16+2016+at+West+Philadelphia+High+School+in+Pennsylvania.+%28Michael+Bryant%2FPhiladelphia+Inquirer%2FTNS%29
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses a crowd on Tuesday, Aug. 16 2016 at West Philadelphia High School in Pennsylvania. (Michael Bryant/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses a crowd on Tuesday, Aug. 16 2016 at West Philadelphia High School in Pennsylvania. (Michael Bryant/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

TNS

TNS

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses a crowd on Tuesday, Aug. 16 2016 at West Philadelphia High School in Pennsylvania. (Michael Bryant/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

WASHINGTON — The FBI on Friday released a summary report of its probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and her handling of classified materials.

The report, which had previously been shared with Congress, includes notes of the July 2 FBI interview of Clinton. Many parts of the report are redacted.

FBI Director James B. Comey on July 5 delivered a stinging public rebuke of Clinton even as he sought to explain why he and top bureau officials did not believe she should face criminal prosecution because there was no evidence she knowingly discussed classified information over the system.

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His long-anticipated recommendation to the Justice Department removed the most serious threat hanging over Clinton’s presidential campaign — the possibility of a criminal indictment.

“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters.

In reaching that conclusion, Comey said he and other top bureau officials had determined that the case lacked the aggravating factors that have led to charges in past cases. He noted that those previously charged in such instances intentionally or willfully mishandled classified information, or did so in such vast quantities that they must have known what they were doing. Others had been disloyal to the United States, he said, or tried to obstruct justice.

Comey echoed those remarks days later in testimony before Congress. He said that Clinton had been truthful with agents during her interview. But when pressed by lawmakers, he acknowledged that the FBI’s evidence in several cases contradicted Clinton’s public assertions about her emails.

Congressional Republicans assert that Clinton lied in testimony investigating the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack when she denied having sent materials marked classified over her private server. Comey told lawmakers that Clinton sent and received three emails that bore small markings indicating some of the information was confidential, the lowest level of classification. None had headers indicating the emails contained classified information. He said he believed that Clinton may not have been aware of what the small markings signified.

The State Department said later that the information should never have been marked confidential and attributed the markings to “human error.”

The FBI investigation and Clinton’s handling of the controversy appear to have damaged her credibility with voters. A recent USA Today/Suffolk University Poll found 58.5 percent of Americans do not think she is trustworthy or honest compared with 60.6 percent who have the same opinion of Donald Trump.

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