The FBI is sticking with its recommendation that Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges for hosting her emails on a private server.
Nine days after jolting the presidential election with a surprise announcement, FBI Director James Comey on Sunday told members of Congress that after reviewing new emails related to the investigation the FBI still does not believe Clinton should be criminally charged.
"Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton," Comey wrote in a letter to Congress.
The emails were discovered on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The disgraced former congressman is being investigated by the FBI for allegedly sending lewd messages to a 15-year-old girl.
Comey had sparked outraged among Clinton supporters when he wrote a vague letter on Oct. 28, to members of Congress less, informing them agents were investigating additional emails. Donald Trump seized on the development as evidence of Clinton's corruption.
But after his agents worked "around the clock" to review "a large volume of emails" sent to or from Clinton when she was secretary of state, Comey said Sunday that nothing had changed.
"I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time," Comey concluded in Sunday's letter.
The letter was first shared online by members of Congress.
Reacting to the news, the Clinton campaign said they had been confident that the FBI would find no new evidence against Clinton.
“We have seen Director Comey’s latest letter to the Hill," Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton communications director, told reporters aboard a flight headed to Cleveland on Sunday afternoon. "We’re glad to see that he has found, as we were confident that he would, that he has confirmed the conclusions he reached in July, and we’re glad the matter is resolved.”
Spokesman Brian Fallon also tweeted the news:
Fallon's tweet prompted a stinging rebuke from Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who criticized the Clinton team for previously attacking Comey's handling of the matter as "inappropriate," "unprecedented," and "puzzling."
After the announcement, Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, told a crowd in Hickory, North Carolina, that Clinton was guilty of a crime.
"I don't know if you heard, today they announced they had not changed that conclusion," he said. "Well, I'll let you know, you know, mishandling classified information is a crime."
In a statement, Speaker Paul Ryan said: "Regardless of this decision, the undisputed finding of the FBI's investigation is that Secretary Clinton put our nation's secrets at risk and in doing so compromised our national security."
He urged supporters to vote for Trump over Clinton, who he said viewed herself as "above the law."
In July, the FBI determined that although Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her handling of classified information, she should not face criminal prosecution.
"Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case," Comey said at the time.
"We cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts," he said.
Comey's original decision sparked ire among Trump and his supporters.
“I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made,” Trump said on Oct. 28, when Comey sent his first letter. “This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understood and it is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected.”
Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, told Comey that he believed that the director's original letter may have violated a federal law that restricts officials from using their role to sway an election.
However, Comey told FBI staff he felt "obligated" to update Congress on the investigation.
“It would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record,” the FBI director said in an internal FBI memo.
Comey's letter also drew criticism from the teenage girl who says she received the lewd text messages from Weiner, who accused the FBI director of turning her case into "political propaganda."