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Story highlights

Michael Folk, a member of West Virginia's House of Delegates, said he still believes Clinton should be tried for treason

"The average person that would have done something like that would have been in jail for life," Folk said

(CNN) —  

A West Virginia lawmaker said Saturday he regrets tweeting that Hillary Clinton should be “hung on the mall in Washington, D.C.,” as punishment for her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

But Michael Folk, a member of West Virginia’s House of Delegates, said he still believes Clinton should be tried for treason after an FBI investigation determined she handled classified information on the server. The FBI recommended earlier this month that charges not be brought against Clinton or her staffers.

“I do think she should be tried and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Folk told CNN Saturday. But as for being hanged, he said, “No, my gosh. That was the hyperbole in the statement.”

On Friday, Folk had tweeted, “@HillaryClinton You should be tried for treason, murder, and crimes against the US Constitution… then hung on the Mall in Washington, DC.”

The remark met with swift backlash.

“Not only are Delegate Folk’s words concerning, they are disturbing. The mention of hanging and implication of murder should never, ever be acceptable. To think that a person in a leadership position in our state can say these types of things is baffling and should not be tolerated,” West Virginia Democratic Party Chair Belinda Biafore said Saturday. “Folk’s actions should deem him as unfit to serve and Speaker Tim Armstead should take action if Folk doesn’t resign.”

Folk, a commercial pilot, is employed by United Airlines, and the company tweeted on its official account that it was “investigating” the remark.

A message left with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign was not immediately returned.

Speaking to CNN, Folk insisted that he doesn’t believe Clinton should be executed but said he believed the former secretary of state was not being held properly accountable.

“The rule of law is gone,” Folk told CNN. “The average person that would have done something like that would have been in jail for life.”

But, he added, “The hyperbole in the statement was probably uncalled for.”