PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In a highly unusual press conference, FBI director James Comey made public the FBI’s conclusion after a lengthy investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“We are expressing to Justice [Department] our view that no charges are appropriate in this case,” said Comey.
The FBI’s assessment that Clinton broke no criminal laws did not keep the director from criticizing the former secretary of state and state department staff.
“There is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” added Comey.
Now that it’s likely that Hillary Clinton will not be prosecuted over this email scandal, the question is, will it still affect how people vote in November.
“I think the impact will be insignificant,” said Tim Smith of Elliott.
“I really don’t think it’s going to have an impact at all,” added Debbie Bobinis of Mt. Lebanon.
“It wouldn’t affect the way I vote in November at all,” noted Stephone Oakley of Aliquippa.
In a very unscientific survey at Market Square, we found that Clinton supporters are still sticking with her, while those opposed to her are not likely to change their opinions.
“I think she should be prosecuted. I’m not a fan of Hillary Clinton. I think I’ll leave it at that,” added Bobinis.
“Compared to everything else and all the stuff that Trump’s saying, so I think that people will probably bypass that and focus on bigger issues probably,” said Oakley.
But in an election that is neck and neck between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it could have an impact on undecided voters.
“I’d take it into consideration, but it’s not a game-changer for me in either direction,” says Melinda Sandlin of Dormont.
“It’s definitely something to take into consideration. Not sure whom I’m going to vote for yet, so I got to pay attention a little bit more,” added Courtney Dolhoph of McCandless.
While the Clinton people focused on the lack of evidence to prosecute, Clinton’s opponents quickly embraced Comey’s criticism of Clinton.
Criminal law professors here in Pittsburgh say what Comey did holding a press conference on this was extraordinary, but then again so are the stakes for Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign.
“Very unusual,” said Pitt criminal law professor John Burkhoff. “Not unusual for the FBI director to make recommendations to the Department of Justice, but to do it publicly, so publicly, and actually explaining the rationale, that’s very unusual.”
Burkhoff says the FBI rarely goes public like this, but both he and Duquesne criminal law professor Wesley Oliver say it was essential for the director to explain why he recommended no prosecution.
“I was even more convinced after I heard him speak that this is not the kind of case that would be typically be criminally prosecuted,” opined Oliver.
And Burkhoff says Comey’s opinion will carry some weight.
“He has a pretty solid reputation. He comes from the Bush Justice Department. He’s never seen as someone who leans towards the Clintons,” says Burkhoff.
But that’s the legal side.
Politically, it could hurt, says Oliver.
“He said that she was extremely reckless in the way she handled top secret information.”
In short, both sides have ammunition to prolong the debate over her emails, and that was reflected by comments in Market Square.
“Why is it such a big deal about emails?” asks Val Kollwitz of Dormont.
“I think she should be prosecuted,” says Bobonis.
“To expose something about Hillary would have to involve more than just emails,” adds Smith.
“Between voting for Hillary Clinton and another candidate, I would not vote for her,” says Ashley Glessner of Zelionople.