Comey: Sorry, But The Petraeus Case Was Very Different From Clinton Email Case

July 7, 2016 12:14 p.m.

UPDATE: James Comey said during questioning that David Petraeus hid classified info in his attic insulation, but later said “And I realize, Mr. Chairman, my folks tell me I screwed up one fact that I should fix. In the Petraeus case, we didn’t find the notebooks in the attic, we found it in his desk.”

FBI Director James Comey offered new insights Thursday into the criminal case against retired Army General David Petraeus and made his case for why it is distinguishable from Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server. In doing so, he revealed apparently new information about the Petraeus case, including that Petraeus hid classified materials in the insulation in his attic.

While Republican critics and outside observers have widely compared the cases of Clinton and Petraeus, who pleaded guilty to criminal charges arising from sharing classified info with his mistress/biographer, Comey was having none of it, saying the Petraeus case was one that was appropriate to recommend for charges, and Clinton’s was not.

“The Petraeus case, to my mind, illustrates perfectly the kind of cases the Department of Justice is willing to prosecute,” he said. “Even there, they prosecuted him for a misdemeanor. In that case, you had had vast quantities of highly classified information, including special sensitive compartmented information. That’s the reference to code words. Vast quantity, not only shared with someone without authority to have it, but hidden in the insulation in his attic and then he lied about it during the investigation.”

Comey went on to say that another difference between the cases is Petraeus willingly leaked classified information and then lied about it and that his actions were intentional.

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“His conduct to me illustrates the categories of behavior that mark the prosecutions that are actually brought,” he said. “Clearly, intentional conduct. Knew what he was doing was a violation of the law. Huge amounts of information that even if you couldn’t prove he knew it, raises the inference he did it. An effort to obstruct justice. That combination of things makes it worthy of a prosecution. A misdemeanor prosecution, but a prosecution, nonetheless.”

Comey said that he does not believe that Petraeus “got in trouble for less,” a reference to a tweet by Donald Trump.

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