FBI Head to Face Congress Over Clinton E-Mail Investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) -
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., flanked by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La., left, and Rep. Lee Zeldin R-N.Y., right, tells reporters it looks like Hillary Clinton got preferential treatment from the FBI in its investigation of the former secretary of state's use of a private email server for government business, during a news conference at Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 6, 2016. He said there are a number of outstanding questions about the FBI inquiry. Director James Comey will be testifying Thursday before the House Oversight committee, and the House Judiciary panel has scheduled a hearing next week with Attorney General Loretta Lynch. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., flanked by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. (L.) and Rep. Lee Zeldin R-N.Y. (R.), tells reporters it looks like Hillary Clinton got preferential treatment from the FBI in its investigation of her use of a private e-mail server for government business, during a news conference at Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

FBI Director James Comey is set to make his first appearance before Congress since announcing the agency’s recommendation to not prosecute Hillary Clinton over her private e-mail setup.

Comey will field questions Thursday from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about an FBI announcement that dispersed the threat of criminal charges but also revived public scrutiny of Clinton’s handling of classified information.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that she accepted the recommendations and findings of Comey and of her career prosecutors and would not file charges against Clinton. Lynch is likely to face questions of her own next week at a separate oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

Comey’s decision, and the way he delivered it, infuriated Republicans who felt that the FBI director, in his unusually detailed and critical televised statement Tuesday, had laid out a sufficient basis for prosecution.

“The FBI’s recommendation is surprising and confusing. The fact pattern presented by Director Comey makes clear Secretary Clinton violated the law,” said House oversight committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican. “Individuals who intentionally skirt the law must be held accountable.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan has also said that “there are a lot more questions that need to be answered” and that Clinton should be barred from receiving classified briefings in the course of the campaign. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump complained that the system was “rigged.”

In a stinging assessment of her e-mail practices as secretary of state, Comey rebuked Clinton and her aides for being “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information and contradicted many of the defenses and explanations she’s put forward for months. But he also said there was no evidence anyone willfully or intentionally mishandled classified information and that “no reasonable prosecutor” would pursue such a case.

Comey, who served as deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, was appointed in 2013 to a 10-year term as FBI director by President Barack Obama.