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Arizona congressman calls for special prosecutor in Hillary Clinton email case

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the The National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly in Washington, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

PHOENIX — An Arizona congressman is calling for a special prosecutor to evaluate the charges leveled at Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) issued the request Tuesday hours after the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said his agency will not pursue charges against Clinton following an extensive review of her case.

“Americans deserve accountability from their government officials, especially when they would be harshly prosecuted or imprisoned for performing the very same actions,” Salmon said in a press release.

Salmon said the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Clinton showed she and other “politically-connected” people are not required to live by the same standards as other Americans and that it is unfair.

“Washington insiders are exempt from the same level of scrutiny, and even prosecution, which would quickly be dispensed to an average citizen,” he said.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week that she would accept the recommendations of the FBI director and of career prosecutors, meaning that Comey’s decision almost certainly brings the legal part of the issue to a close
and removes the threat of criminal charges.

Despite saying his agency won’t prosecute Clinton, Comey said the former secretary of state should have known better than to use a private server.

“There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position … should have known that an unclassified system was no place” for sensitive conversations, Comey said.

Clinton’s personal email server, which she relied on exclusively for government and personal business, has dogged her presidential campaign since The Associated Press revealed its existence in March 2015.

She has repeatedly said that no email she sent or received was marked classified, but the Justice Department began investigating last summer following a referral from the inspectors general for the State Department and the
intelligence community.

The scrutiny was compounded by a blistering audit in May from the State Department’s inspector general, the agency’s internal watchdog, which said that Clinton and her team ignored clear warnings from department officials that her email setup violated federal standards and could leave sensitive material vulnerable to hackers. Clinton declined to talk to the inspector general, but the audit said that she had feared “the personal being accessible” if she used a government email account.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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