The FBI says no charges will be laid over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, but added she was '"extremely careless" amid concerns she is "untrustworthy".
In a damaging rebuke to the former top diplomat, FBI director James Comey said Clinton was "extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information" via her personal email account.
Comey was critical of Clinton and her staff but recommended that Justice Department prosecutors file no criminal charges because there was no evidence of "intentional misconduct" while handling of classified information.
Although the complete exoneration is far from what she hoped for as she rallies against Republican Donald Trump, Clinton's spokesman Brian Fallon said the campaign was "pleased" by the FBI's recommendation.
From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains were contained classified information at the time they were sent or received, Breitbart reports.
Eight of those chains contained information that was "Top Secret" at the time they were sent and 36 chains contained Secret information at the time.
The charges came hours after Clinton campaigned with Barack Obama for the first time.
She and Obama arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina aboard Air Force One for the first in a series of high-profile rallies that Clinton hopes will energize voters, particularly minorities who remain enamored with the outgoing president.
'No charges. Wow!'
Comey's conclusion that Clinton did send and receive information that was deemed classified, and in some cases top secret, at the time of transmission contradicts Clinton's repeated assertion that she never sent classified information through her personal email account or homebrew server.
And while they did not find proof that her email had been successfully hacked, Comey said FBI investigators "assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to secretary Clinton's personal email account".
The FBI accusations of carelessness are sure to fuel Trump's narrative that the Clintons have operated above the law for years.
"FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow!" Trump said on Twitter. "The system is rigged."
While not as legally damaging as a prosecution would be, Comey's judgment is far from the all-clear that the Clinton team would have hoped for.
House Speaker Paul Ryan weighed in, slamming Clinton for "recklessly mishandling" classified information and saying Comey's announcement defies explanation.
"Based upon the director's own statement, it appears damage is being done to the rule of law," warned the top Republican.