Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey weighed in on the legal and political fallout from FBI Director James Comeyâs statement on the agencyâs investigation into Hillary Clintonâs email scandal.
âGross negligence is, in fact, what he [Comey] actually described and said she [Clinton] was extremely careless. Thatâs the definition of gross negligence, particularly when you describe material she was dealing with,â Mukasey told the FOX Business Networkâs Maria Bartiromo.
âThey havenât yet cleared up the question of whether the Clinton Foundation is still under investigation, Iâve got no idea where that goes. Obviously, the portions of yesterdayâs press conference just before he made his announcement are going to be cut up into little sound bites and turned into campaign spots for Donald Trump.â
According to Mukasey, the gross negligence described by Comey is actually enough to prosecute Hillary Clinton.
âThere is no issue of intent under the statute, under either statute. Heâs talking about two separate laws; One says that if you show gross negligence in putting classified material where it shouldnât be and in the hands of somebody who shouldnât have it, that is a felony. Now gross negligence is the only level of intent you need, and what he described was gross negligence.â
Mukasey took issue with the FBI director publicly announcing the agencyâs recommendations on the case.
âHe stepped way outside his job in disclosing the recommendation in that fashion.â
Mukasey explained how the FBI normally presents a case and potential recommendations to prosecutors.
â[The recommendation] is supposed to take place in the context of a discussion with the DOJ prosecutors who are going to handle the case. Usually what the FBI does is to present facts to prosecutors. And most often they come in and say, âhey we think weâve got a case here.â But they present the facts to prosecutors, prosecutors decide whether to go forward. The FBI, even the head of the FBI, doesnât make that decision.â
Mukasey also weighed in on how Attorney General Loretta Lynch should have handled her meeting with former President Bill Clinton.
âYou say âno.â And if for some reason you canât say âno,â you have staff present to take notes on what gets said at the meeting.â Mukasey continued, âI had staff who were there largely, or often, to tap me on the shoulder and say, âdonât do this,â and those are the people you listen to.â
On whether a new Attorney General would consider taking on Hillary Clintonâs email case again, Mukasey said, âThis case, the emails as a practical matter, no. The Clinton Foundation is something else, but not this case.â