‘We, the government, could not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that—she had the intent necessary to violate the law…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) The FBI’s former top attorney, general counsel James A. Baker, was, by his own account, appalled at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of highly classified information and believed she needed to be criminally prosecuted.
In October, while testifying before Congress, Baker said he argued with others in the FBI about whether charges against Clinton should have been pursued for secretly using an unsecured, private email server to conduct state business. Ultimately, he was discouraged from acting on his concerns, he said.
“The nature and scope of the classified information that, to me, initially, when I looked at it, I thought these folks should know that this stuff is classified, that it was alarming what they were talking about, especially some of the most highly classified stuff,” Baker told lawmakers.
After the story about Clinton’s private email server broke in March 2015, she walked the accusations back and claimed there had not been classified information on the server. This proved to be false. In fact, congressional committees discovered that the server contained classified materials from Special Access Programs, which typically hold government secrets.
Regardless, the FBI director at the time, James Comey, said he would not be pressing charges against Clinton despite the “evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information,” he had said in a statement.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey continued.
Baker’s testimony before the House reveals he had encouraged Comey and other top FBI officials against this course of action.
“I have reason to believe that you originally believed it was appropriate to charge Hillary Clinton with regard to violations of law—various laws, with regard to mishandling of classified information. Is that accurate?” Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, asked Baker during his testimony, according to transcripts obtained by The Hill.
After obtaining his lawyer’s permission, Baker responded affirmatively.
“So, I had that belief initially after reviewing, you know, a large binder of her emails that had classified information in them,” Baker said. “And I discussed it internally with a number of different folks, and eventually became persuaded that charging her was not appropriate because we could not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that—we, the government, could not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that—she had the intent necessary to violate the law.”