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FBI director called to testify before Congress following Clinton recommendation

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, during the committee's hearing on "Planned Parenthood's Taxpayer Funding," Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards testified. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

FBI Director James Comey has been called to testify before the House Oversight Committee to further explain the bureau's decision to not recommend Hillary Clinton be charged criminally for using a personal email system during her tenure as Secretary of State.

"The FBI's recommendation is surprising and confusing," Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said. "The fact pattern presented by Director Comey makes clear Secretary Clinton violated the law. Individuals who intentionally skirt the law must be held accountable. Congress and the American people have a right to understand the depth and breadth of the FBI's investigation. I thank Director Comey for accepting the invitation to publicly answer these important questions."

Comey is scheduled to address the committee Thursday.

Comey announced Tuesday that the FBI's investigation of Clinton's email servers is complete. Although he accused Clinton and her aides of being "extremely careless" with classified information, he concluded that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring criminal charges over their conduct.

Clinton's use of a private email account while she was secretary of state has been denounced by Republicans as a potential threat to national security. Comey's statement contradicted many of the claims Clinton has made to defend her actions over the last year.

"We really want to understand in depth difference between what is gross negligence in his mind and extreme carelessness. They seem to be synonyms for each other," Chaffetz said in an interview Wednesday.

Although he said Comey is "of the utmost integrity," Chaffetz insisted that now that the investigation is over, "Congress and the American people have the right to see what they found."

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, warned that questioning the FBI's conclusions may have a "chilling effect" on the agency.

"I think this is a case of Republicans not liking the decision that he made and constantly wanting to question him and keep the story going," Cummings said.

He acknowledged that people still have questions about the Clinton case, but he said Congress must be very careful in its response.

Cummings also criticized presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump for claiming the investigation was "rigged."

"In order for that to make sense, you'd have to attack the integrity of Comey," he said.

According to the Oversight Committee, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick and Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III are also expected to testify at Thursday's hearing.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has announced that Attorney General Loretta Lynch will testify before his committee next Tuesday to address questions about the Clinton investigation and the terrorist attacks in Orlando and San Bernardino.

Questions are also being asked about the case in the Senate.

Sen. Ron Johnson (WI), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, has sent a letter to Comey seeking information on the resources expended by the FBI on the probe and the total cost of it.

He also asked Comey to explain why Clinton's behavior did not constitute "gross negligence" that would justify criminal charges.

"If the evidence that the FBI collected about Secretary Clinton's use of a private email account and server did not constitute gross negligence, what set of facts would cause the FBI to recommend criminal charges under the gross negligence standard?" Johnson wrote.

He requested that Comey provide answers by July 16.

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