WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday said he believes Hillary Clinton received preferential treatment from the FBI in its investigation of her email practices at the State Department and offered a series of next steps Republicans will take to push the case themselves.
Ryan, who was his party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, said the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, should deny Clinton the standard top-level briefings given to candidates once they claim the presidential or vice presidential nomination because she was ‘‘so reckless’’ with the use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State. Ryan, R-Wis., said he was examining ways that Congress could block those briefings for Clinton once she officially becomes the Democratic nominee later this month.
Despite FBI Director James Comey’s announcement Tuesday that his agency will recommend no criminal charges be pursued as a result of its email probe, Ryan said that Comey outlined a case of ‘‘nothing but stonewalling and dishonesty’’ by Clinton and her top aides.
Comey has been called to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday — the same day presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will be making his first appearance before the full House and Senate Republican caucuses on Capitol Hill.
‘‘The FBI’s recommendation is surprising and confusing,’’ House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said in a statement. ‘‘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 Directory Comey for accepting the invitation to publicly answer these important questions.’’
Brian Fallon, Clinton’s spokesman and a former senior Justice Department aide, mocked the timing of Comey’s testimony and Trump’s meeting with Republicans.
‘‘This should end well,’’ Fallon posted on Twitter.
Ryan said Comey opened the door to there being more questions now about Clinton than there were just a few weeks ago.
‘‘It looks like it to me,’’ he said when asked if the FBI was preferential in not recommending charges for exposing classified material to possible security breaches through her email server.
The sharp comments by Ryan suggest that congressional Republicans intend to prosecute the case against Clinton straight up to Election Day, regardless of whether there’s a formal criminal inquiry.