Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he believes Hillary Clinton “broke the law” through her private email setup, although he praised FBI Director James B. Comey ahead of Mr. Comey’s trip to Capitol Hill on Thursday.
“I do believe that she broke the law, and that’s what we want to ask,” Mr. Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said on NBC’s “Today” show.
Mr. Chaffetz called Mr. Comey a “man of integrity,” but said he’s interested in hearing about the director’s findings in the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use. Mr. Comey said on Tuesday that although she was reckless, he would not recommend criminal charges in the case.
“If you listen to the fact pattern laid out by the director, I’m mystified — there seems to be a double standard,” Mr. Chaffetz said.
Mr. Comey is scheduled to testify before the oversight committee on Thursday. Mr. Chaffetz said he would still have called Mr. Comey before his committee to explain his thinking had Mrs. Clinton been indicted.
“If the Average Joe had gone through that, they’d probably have handcuffs on him, and [he’d] probably be in jail,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “But if your name is Clinton; if you happen to be part of the powerful and elite, there seems to be a different set of standards.”
Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Wednesday that she would follow the FBI’s recommendation and would not be filing criminal charges in the case.
Mr. Chaffetz said the Department of Justice has prosecuted people for “far less.”
“I do believe that there are statutes on the book, there are laws on the book, that were clearly broken,” he said. “You cannot put classified information in a non-secure format. She did it for years. It put people in jeopardy. It may have been hacked.”
“She lied and misled the American people, and the ultimate jury in this is going to be the American people — they get to make this decision,” Mr. Chaffetz said.