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Early Comey Memo Accused Hillary Clinton Of ‘Gross Negligence’ Over Classified Emails

The Senate Judiciary Committee now says that early drafts of former FBI Director James Comey’s statement on Hillary Clinton’s private server accused the former Democratic presidential candidate of “gross negligence” — a crime, punishable by law — rather than “extreme carelessness.”

Sources who viewed both documents — the early drafts and the later statement, which Comey delivered in the summer of 2016 — say the the former document made reference to the possibility that Clinton might be criminally liable for using a private server based in her Chappaqua home to handle classified emails that passed through the Secretary of State’s office.

“There is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton, and others, used the email server in a manner that was grossly negligent with respect to the handling of classified information,” the draft said, sources claim.

The version Comey finally delivered, which was penned weeks before the FBI had finished interviewing key witnesses including top Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, said Clinton was merely “extremely careless” in her handling of classified material.

There is a key difference between “negligence” and “carelessness”: the former is a crime, punishable by law. The latter is merely a slap on the wrist — a way to chastize the presidential candidate without spurring on any further Justice Department action. Clinton could have faced charges if the FBI concluded that the information she shared could reasonably be “used to the injury of the United States.”

Comey told Congress in testimony earlier this year that he did not believe any prosecutor would pursue actions that qualified as “grossly negligent.” But deciding whether to pursue charges wasn’t technically up to Comey; the FBI was in charge of the investigation and could recommend prosecution, but ultimately the Attorney General’s office would determine whether to hold Clinton accountable.

Sources close to the Senate Judiciary Committee told The Hill that the committee is now examining whether there was an internal disagreement within the FBI over whether to suggest Clinton could be charged.

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