FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that he did not think there was "a lot of immunity" granted during the year-long investigation into Hillary Clinton's private emails, even though five of Clinton's former staffers received immunity deals.
Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton's former chief of staff, was one of those who received limited "act of production" immunity as part of a deal under which she gave her laptop to investigators. Agents found classified emails on Mills' hard drive.
Aside from Mills, two other State Department staffers, John Bentel and Heather Samuelson, were also given immunity agreements, along with Bryan Pagliano, Clinton's former IT aide, and Paul Combetta, an employee at the company hired to manager her server.
But Comey downplayed these agreements and said they weren't excessive compared to other investigations.
Republicans used the hearing to press Comey on why Clinton was allowed to bring Mills to her own interview with the FBI, given that Mills herself was involved in the investigation. But Comey stressed that Mills was a subject of the investigation, not the target.
Comey explained that because Mills was not the target of the probe, Clinton was allowed to bring Mills with her to Clinton's FBI interview.
"Ms. Mills, in particular, was a member of Secretary Clinton's legal team, and so Secretary Clinton decides which of her lawyers come to voluntary interviews with the FBI," Comey said. He added that his agents have no power to prevent targets from bringing anyone they want to a voluntary interview.
Republicans on the committee also grilled Comey over the controversial conclusion of the Clinton email case.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, pointed to Comey's "questionable basis" for closing the case without recommending indictments for anyone involved.
"It seems clear that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton committed multiple felonies," Goodlatte said.
This story was corrected to say that Comey did not believe there was excessive immunity in the Clinton email case. The initial story incorrectly said Comey stated the opposite.