FBI director James Comey told Republican lawmakers on Sunday that the agency still believes Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges for the use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
Last month, the presidential race between Clinton and Donald Trump was upended after Comey announced that investigators were searching through newly discovered emails to see whether they contained classified information. Last July, the FBI chief had faulted Clinton for being “careless” in her use of a private server, but said she would not be prosecuted.
In Sunday’s letter, the FBI chief said that after looking through the newly unearthed messages, the bureau would stand by its earlier decision to not pursue criminal charges.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July,” Comey said in a letter to Republican lawmakers.
Trump has pressed the email issue on the campaign trail in recent days, arguing that Clinton’s use of a private server is “worse than Watergate.” Clinton and her allies in the Democratic party have hit back at the FBI head, faulting him and the agency for interfering in the election.
Polls have shown a tightening race since Comey made his announcement that the new emails could be relevant to the bureau’s investigation.
Comey never said where the emails were discovered. However, the New York Times reported that they were found on devices shared by Huma Abedin, a top Clinton aide, and her husband, Anthony Weiner. The FBI is investigating allegations that Weiner has texted sexually charged messages to an underage girl. Weiner and Abedin are separated.