In a press conference today, FBI Director James Comey ended Clinton’s legal troubles by saying that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring criminal charges against her for using a private email server. But he still left her vulnerable to political attacks, saying, “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
Comey also stated that while there is no evidence that hostile parties hacked Clinton’s email account, it could easily have happened:
With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.
Taken as a whole, Comey’s remarks leave Clinton better off legally, but give Republicans plenty of ammunition to use against her. Since a major part of her argument against Trump is that he is too reckless to be president, the charge of being “extremely careless” will hurt Clinton. She’s survived the legal part of the scandal, but the political ramifications will play out for months to come.