WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters today that keeping candidate Hillary Clinton from viewing classified information is “something that the administration should do on its own, but we’ll look into seeing if that’s something we can do as well.”
Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill after a closed caucus meeting that FBI Director James Comey’s press conference on Tuesday, at which he announced “we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges” while excoriating the former secretary of State for “extremely careless” handling of sensitive information, “raises more questions than provides answers.”
“We’re going to be asking those questions. I know the Judiciary Committee sent a letter I think last night with a number of questions. [Oversight and Government Reform] — that committee is going to invite the FBI director to come up and testify. He did say that short of prosecution, some kind of administrative action might be in order,” Ryan said.
“Look, I was on the ticket in 2012. After the convention, you get the full, deep classified information as part of transition, as part of being a nominee. I think that [Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper should deny Hillary Clinton access to classified information during this campaign, given how she so recklessly handled classified information.”
Ryan added that Comey’s press conference “shredded the claims that Secretary Clinton made throughout the year with respect to this issue.”
Asked what Congress might be able to do to deny Clinton’s campaign access to classified information, the House speaker said “we’re looking into that.”
“I don’t know the answer to that question, whether it’s something Congress can do. I’ve just got to say from my own experience, you get access to deeply classified material once you leave the convention as the nominee, on a regular basis. It’s part of a transition government,” he said.
“With no indictment occurring, but a discussion or call for administrative action, I think it’s the least we can do, given how she was so reckless in handling classified material and sending classified information on insecure servers.”
Comey will testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee’s hearing on State Department oversight.
That hearing also features the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community.
“The FBI’s recommendation is surprising and confusing. The fact pattern presented by Director Comey makes clear Secretary Clinton violated the law. Individuals who intentionally skirt the law must be held accountable,” Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said in a statement. “Congress and the American people have a right to understand the depth and breadth of the FBI’s investigation. I thank Directory Comey for accepting the invitation to publicly answer these important questions.”
Asked at a Senate GOP media availability today whether Donald Trump could be trusted to keep the information in candidate intelligence briefings classified, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said “the question here is Hillary Clinton and her public explanations, compared to her private representations to the FBI.”
“We’re entitled to know all that,” McConnell added. “The American people would like to have the answer to that.”