US House speaker formally asks that Clinton be denied classified data
The top elected U.S. Republican formally asked the country`s intelligence chief not to give Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton any classified information during the election campaign, according to a letter released on Thursday.
Washington: The top elected U.S. Republican formally asked the country`s intelligence chief not to give Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton any classified information during the election campaign, according to a letter released on Thursday.
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said in the letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that denying Clinton classified briefings during her run for the presidency would be an appropriate sanction for her improper handling of classified emails while secretary of state.
Presidential candidates normally get access to classified information once they are formally nominated.
The issue of Clinton`s use of private email servers during her tenure as secretary of state has cast a cloud over her presidential campaign for the Nov. 8 election, raised questions among voters about her trustworthiness and given presidential rival Donald Trump an avenue of attack.
Ryan`s letter comes as congressional Republicans will get their first chance to grill FBI Director James Comey when he goes to Capitol Hill on Thursday to explain his decision not to recommend criminal charges against Clinton after a year-long investigation of her handling of classified emails while at state.
Comey`s testimony before the House Oversight Committee at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) will be the first time he has taken questions publicly since his announcement this week that the FBI was not recommending charges against Clinton. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has accepted the FBI recommendation and will appear at a separate hearing next Tuesday.
Comey said on Tuesday that 110 classified emails passed through Clinton`s servers, which were not kept on a secure government server. He rebuked the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for "extremely careless" handling of classified information but said no reasonable prosecutor would charge her or her staff criminally.
The Clinton campaign said it was pleased at the FBI`s announcement and called the Republican-led call for Comey`s hearing a "taxpayer-funded sham of an inquiry" intended to hurt Clinton politically.
The Oversight Committee is chaired by Republican U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz, known for his persistent questioning of Obama administration officials.