WASHINGTON—Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that she is closing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information while she was secretary of state, officially ending the yearlong legal drama that had threatened the presumptive Democratic nominee’s bid for the presidency.
The nation’s top law-enforcement official said in a statement that she had met with Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey and the career prosecutors and agents who had investigated Mrs. Clinton’s use of a personal email server while she was the State Department’s top official. “I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, yearlong investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation,” she said.
FBI director James Comey on Tuesday announced in a press conference that the agency recommended against charging Mrs. Clinton over the email issue. While the FBI had found that Mrs. Clinton and her aides had been “extremely careless” in their handling of classified material, there was no clear evidence that anyone intentionally mishandled information, obstructed justice or appeared to be disloyal to the U.S. in the process, he said.
The Justice Department had the final say on whether to charge Mrs. Clinton. Ms. Lynch had earlier said she would follow the recommendations of the FBI and prosecutors.
Despite the closing of the investigation, the political drama over Mrs. Clinton’s emails looked set to continue. Mr. Comey is expected to face sharp questioning Thursday at a House Oversight Committee hearing regarding the FBI’s recommendation, which incensed Republicans who believed Mrs. Clinton should have been charged.
Ms. Lynch will testify on the email investigation next week before the House Judiciary Committee. She has faced heavy scrutiny over a recent meeting with Mrs. Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, days before Mr. Comey made his recommendation not to press charges,
Members of both political parties said the meeting was inappropriate because Ms. Lynch oversees the FBI, and the encounter could suggest Mr. Clinton was seeking to influence the investigation’s outcome. Both participants said they engaged only in small talk and Ms. Lynch later said she regretted the meeting.
Mr. Comey on Tuesday stressed that the FBI investigation had been apolitical and that his recommendation was made without outside influence.
The Clinton campaign said in a Tuesday statement following Mr. Comey’s recommendation that it was pleased the matter had been resolved, adding: “As the secretary has long said, it was a mistake to use her personal email and she would not do it again.”