When FBI Director James Comey announced Sunday that the agency is still not planning to pursue charges against Hillary Clinton, top Republicans took the news mostly as a fresh opportunity to criticize the Democratic nominee.
“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,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement released Sunday, urging Americans to vote for Donald Trump and “ensure Secretary Clinton never gets her hands on classified information again.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus took a similar tack, issuing a statement that similarly elided the lack of any new developments in the investigation.
“The FBI’s findings from its criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s secret email server were a damning and unprecedented indictment of her judgment,” he said. “The FBI found evidence Clinton broke the law, that she placed highly classified national security information at risk and repeatedly lied to the American people about her reckless conduct.”
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, argued Sunday on MSNBC that the latest development was neither good nor bad news for the Trump campaign.
“Some things haven’t changed at all,” she said. “What FBI Director Comey said on July 7 under oath to Congress is still the same: that she was reckless and careless in her handling of information. ... The reason that so many Americans have a problem with Hillary Clinton’s honesty and trustworthiness and veracity does not change.”
The latest development did, however, seem to abruptly shift Conway’s views of the FBI director.
“He’s mishandled the investigation from the beginning, and this proves it yet again” Conway told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, questioning whether the FBI had actually gone through all of the emails in question.
That skepticism marks a distinct change from less than two weeks ago, when Conway slammed Democrats for criticizing the FBI director.
“Astonished by the all-out assault on Comey by Team Clinton,” she wrote in a tweet on Oct. 29. “Suggesting he is a partisan interfering with the election is dangerous & unfair.”