The FBI did not find evidence that Cheryl Mills broke the law in relation to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE’s personal email server, FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday.
“We have no evidence to establish that she committed a crime,” Comey told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Mills, who was chief of staff while Clinton served as secretary of State, was granted “active production immunity” that prevents the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting her for anything found on a laptop she turned over to the FBI, Comey said.
Comey called the Justice Department letter a “fairly common tool in criminal investigations.”
“The FBI’s judgment was, 'We need to get to that laptop. We need to see what it is,'” he said. Negotiating with Mills's lawyers to obtain it, he said, was the most efficient way to get access to the computer.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee on Friday revealed the existence of the immunity deal, discovered during their probe into whether emails from Clinton's server were deleted while under congressional subpoena.
Mills and Heather Samuelson, who were acting as Clinton's attorneys, turned over their computers to the FBI as it looked into how Clinton handled classified information on her server. Investigators ultimately recommended no criminal charges against Clinton.
The aides had used their laptops to sort out what they believed to be Clinton's personal emails before turning over the remainder of her work emails to the State Department in December 2014.
A lawyer for Mills and Samuelson said in a statement that she advised them to take the deal "because of the confusion surrounding the various agencies’ positions on the after-the-fact classification decisions."
"As the government indicated in these letters, the DOJ and FBI considered my clients to be witnesses and nothing more. Indeed, the Justice Department assured us that they believed my clients did nothing wrong," Beth Wilkinson said Friday.