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GOP Leaders Criticize FBI Recommendation Not To Charge Hillary Clinton


If Democrats had any hope that the controversy over Hillary Clinton's email practices was behind them, Republicans say they're in for a rude awakening. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she will follow the FBI's recommendation against charging Clinton. But GOP lawmakers say that recommendation only raises more questions. And they're calling for more details and more hearings in the months to come. NPR's Ailsa Chang reports.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: The way Republicans see it, FBI Director James Comey only gave them the validation they needed to take their fight to the next level. Comey may have said there's no criminal case, but what Republicans heard was that there was plenty wrong with what Clinton did. They pounced on the way he criticized Clinton's actions as extremely careless and how he said hostile foreign governments could have accessed her personal email account.

TOM COLE: The stuff I heard yesterday was sort of hard to think how did you come to all these conclusions and yet come to a decision not to file an indictment?

CHANG: So Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole said to let up pressure on Clinton now - especially now - would send a signal that she lives under different rules.

COLE: This would have been a career-ender for anybody else in the State Department in terms of what they had done. And so you can't have one standard for the average American and something different because somebody is on the eve of being a major party nominee.

CHANG: If anything, the FBI's decision has galvanized Republicans to probe more deeply. Comey has been called to testify before the House Oversight Committee tomorrow, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch will testify next week before the House Judiciary Committee. And that's just a start. House Speaker Paul Ryan is calling on the president to deny Clinton access to any classified information after the nomination.


PAUL RYAN: From my own experience, you get access to deeply classified material once you leave the convention as the nominee on a regular basis. It's part of a transition government. With no indictment occurring but a discussion or a call for administrative action, I think it's the least we can do given how she was so reckless in handling classified material and sending classified information on unsecure servers.

CHANG: The demand for accountability isn't any quieter over in the Senate, where the second-highest ranked Republican John Cornyn of Texas is demanding that the FBI's entire investigation be made public, including everything Clinton told law enforcement over the July 4 weekend.


JOHN CORNYN: Director Comey talked about the importance of transparency in this highly unusual case, and only when we get the complete investigation out, including that three-and-a-half-hour interview with the FBI will the American people have the information they need in order to make a final judgment.

CHANG: And Clinton isn't the only one Senate Republicans are focused on. Homeland Security Chair Ron Johnson says she wasn't the only one taking risks with national security.

RON JOHNSON: I want to know who else was on those email chains that were labeled top secret or secret or confidential because from my standpoint, they were every bit as reckless as Secretary Clinton engaging in these email exchanges that they had to know full well were outside the classified system and not in a secured environment.

CHANG: Johnson also pointed out that under the statute in question, someone could still be charged if they committed so-called gross negligence, so he doesn't get how Comey could rebuke Clinton for carelessness and stop there.

JOHNSON: What is the difference? I mean, how - what does he consider the difference between extreme carelessness and gross negligence?

JOHNSON: As far as Johnson's concerned, Comey actually laid out the case yesterday to charge Clinton with a crime. Ailsa Chang, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who hosts All Things Considered along with Ari Shapiro, Audie Cornish, and Mary Louise Kelly. She landed in public radio after practicing law for a few years.

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