Republicans and Democrats clashed over holding a hearing Thursday to examine FBI Director James Comey's decision to recommend Hillary Clinton face no criminal charges for her improper handling of classified information.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, echoed the criticisms expressed by many Republicans this week by arguing that anyone who had committed the same actions as Clinton would "be in handcuffs."
"We're mystified and confused by the fact pattern you laid out and the conclusion that you reached," Chaffetz said.
"Hillary Clinton created this mess. It wasn't Republicans," he added.
Comey detailed multiple instances in which Clinton and her aides carelessly transmitted classified information Tuesday before saying he would not recommend the Justice Department bring charges.
Chaffetz noted classified information, when handled improperly, can put American lives at risk.
The Utah Republican said Comey's decision to withhold criminal charges set a troubling precedent for future cases that may involve the careless treatment of sensitive intelligence.
"The precedent is: 'If you sloppily deal with classified information...that there's going to be no consequence," he said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee's ranking Democrat, blasted Republicans for calling what he characterized as a wasteful and politically-motivated hearing.
"No matter what recommendation you made, you were sure to be criticized," Cummings said.
"If prosecutors had gone forward, they would have been holding Secretary Clinton to a different standard than everybody else," he added.
Cummings noted Republicans had already decided Clinton deserved an indictment before the FBI's evidence was made public,
"There is absolutely no evidence that you made your recommendation for political reasons," he told the FBI director.