FBI Director James Comey recommends no charges for Hillary Clinton. She exposed highly classified data to "hostile actors", but there's no "direct evidence" that her servers were hacked -- and none would be expected. Thousands of work-related emails were recovered that weren't turned over in 2014. Hillary was "extremely careless" with highly classified information, but the evidence doesn't show that she was intentionally trying to damage the United States. She broke the law, but "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a case against her.

Comey seems like an honorable man, and this conclusion seems reasonable to me, even though Comey is clear that there was plenty of evidence to support criminal charges. I don't understand the reasoning for not recommending charges, but it seems that Comey suggests that administrative penalties would be more appropriate. (Of course, no such administrative penalties are now possible.)

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

Despite the lack of criminal charges, I hope that the American public imposes political consequences on Hillary for her reckless behavior. From a political perspective, Comey's statement was probably the best possible outcome for Trump. Video of the FBI director calling Hillary "extremely careless" is powerful stuff.

My opinion is that the people who are lamenting this result are missing the subtlety of Comey's statement and decision: Hillary has been convicted as dishonorable, dishonest, and careless without the need for a trial. No endless motions, no delays, no jury tampering, no arcane court rules, no backroom deals, no plea bargain. If America wants to elect an incompetent, lying crook, then no indictment will prevent it.

Update:

Reason does a super-cut, interposing Comey and Clinton.

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