Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said the FBI's decision to not recommend criminal charges against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified material while serving as Secretary of State is another example of how powerful people get treated differently than regular folks.
“What bothers me about this is that the Clintons really are living above the law,” Ryan told Fox News, according to Politco. “This is one of the reasons why people are so dissatisfied, so upset about government. They think that people live by a different set of rules, and the Clintons, they take the candle on this one.”
In a statement, FBI Director James Comey described Clinton's email system and said actions by her and her staff were “extremely careless” and said that her private email system could have been hacked by “hostile actors.” But Comey also said there wasn't clear evidence of criminal intent and, as such, no criminal charges were necessary.
But Ryan questioned that logic and said other cases with less evidence resulted in criminal charges.
“He basically spent a number of minutes walking through how she not only mishandled classified information, how she was grossly negligent. It seemed to me as he was going through his case, it seemed he was going to recommend prosecution, only then he recommended against prosecution. People have been convicted for far less,” he said.
In 2015, Naval reservist Bryan Nishimura was sentenced to two years probation, a $7,500 fine, and a permanent ban of his security clearance for downloading classified material and taking it off base, reported the Navy Times. Investigators found no evidence Nisimura, who served two years in Afghanistan, intended to distribute the material.
Based on prior cases, Ryan said the decision not to charge Clinton “defies explanation.”
“Declining to prosecute Secretary Clinton for recklessly mishandling and transmitting national security information will set a terrible precedent,” he said.