Reid Alleges That Comey May Have Violated Federal Law In Disclosure To Congress

225px-harry_reid_official_portraitJcomey-100I just spoke on the BBC where the anchor was pursuing the question of “whether the FBI broke the law” by informing Congress of the reopening of the investigation into the emails. The allegation came from Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid on Sunday. However, with all due respect to our esteemed GW graduate (and I really do respect Sen. Reid), his allegation is in my view wildly misplaced. Reid is arguing that the actions of FBI Director James B. Comey violates the Hatch Act. I cannot see a plausible, let alone compelling, basis for such a charge against Comey.

In his letter to Comey, Reid raised the the Hatch Act, which prohibits partisan politicking by government employees.

5 U.S.C. § 7323(a)(1) prohibits a government employee from “us[ing] his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”

Reid argued:

“Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another. I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.”

The reference to “months” is curious. Comey has kept Congress informed in compliance with oversight functions of the congressional committees but has been circumspect in the extent of such disclosures. It is troubling to see Democrats (who historically favor both transparency and checks on executive powers) argue against such disclosure and cooperation with oversight committees. More importantly, the Hatch Act is simply a dog that will not hunt.

Richard W. Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota and the chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush White House from 2005 to 2007, has filed a Hatch Act complaint against Comey with the federal Office of Special Counsel and Office of Government Ethics. He argues that “We cannot allow F.B.I. or Justice Department officials to unnecessarily publicize pending investigations concerning candidates of either party while an election is underway.”

However, Comey was between the horns of a dilemma. He could be accused of acts of commission in making the disclosure or omission in withholding the disclosure in an election year. Quite frankly, I found Painter’s justification for his filing remarkably speculative. He admits that he has no evidence to suggest that Comey wants to influence the election or favors either candidate. Intent is key under the Hatch investigations.  You can disagree with the timing of Comey’s disclosure, but that is not a matter for the Hatch Act or even an ethical charge in my view.

Congress passed the Hatch Act in response to scandals during the 1938 congressional elections and intended the Act to bar federal employees from using “[their] official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” Comey is not doing that in communicating with Congress on a matter of oversight.

Such violations under the Hatch Act, even if proven, are not criminal matters. The Office of Special Counsel -can investigate such matters and seek discipline — a matter than can ultimately go before the Merit Systems Protection Board.

That does not mean that there is not a policy against statements or actions influencing elections.  Comey issued a memo in March 2016 reminding that employees “should be particularly mindful of these rules in an election year,” and defining prohibited political activity to include all “activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”

281 thoughts on “Reid Alleges That Comey May Have Violated Federal Law In Disclosure To Congress”

  1. The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet
    The Republican nominee faces a series of allegations of sexual assault, an embarrassing tape in which he boasts about committing sexual assault, a series of old comments, and a civil suit accusing him of rape.

    …The 2016 presidential election could be the most scandal-plagued match-up since 1884 when James Blaine’s allegedly corrupt business deals squared off against Grover Cleveland’s alleged illegitimate child. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is the nominee, bringing with her a train-car’s worth of baggage. But the Republican candidate is at least as saddled with controversy as Clinton is—and while many of the Clinton cases involve suspicion and shadowy links, many of Trump’s are fully documented in court cases and legal proceedings.

    The breadth of Trump’s controversies is truly yuge, ranging from allegations of mafia ties to unscrupulous business dealings, and from racial discrimination to alleged marital rape. They stretch over more than four decades, from the mid-1970s to the present day…

  2. How 75 pending lawsuits could distract a Donald Trump presidency

    Just two weeks before Election Day, at least 75 of the 4,000-plus lawsuits involving Trump and his businesses remain open, according to an ongoing, nationwide analysis of state and federal court records by USA TODAY. Trump is running well behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in most polls — about 5 points behind in the popular vote in RealClearPolitics’ rolling average of national polls. But if Trump were to win, the number of unresolved cases is unprecedented for a presidential candidate, according to political scientists and historians.

    Trump faces significant open litigation tied to his businesses: angry members at his Jupiter, Fla. golf course say they were cheated out of refunds on their dues and a former employee at the same club claims she was fired after reporting sexual harassment. There’s a fraud case brought by Trump University students who say the mogul’s company ripped them off for tens of thousands in tuition for a sham real estate course.

    Trump is also defending lawsuits tied to his campaign. A disgruntled GOP political consultant sued for $4 million saying Trump defamed her. Another suit, a class action, says the campaign violated consumer protection laws by sending unsolicited text messages.

    If elected, the open lawsuits will tag along with Trump. He would not be entitled to immunity, and could be required to give depositions or even testify in open court. That could chew up time and expose a litany of uncomfortable private and business dealings to the public.

    One Trump case, over non-payment of tips to caterers at Trump SoHo Hotel in New York City, is scheduled to go to trial a week before Election Day.

    The open cases raise questions about potential conflicts of interest that could become difficult for Trump to navigate.

    For instance, could his judicial appointments be influenced by his own court cases? This summer, he attacked a federal judge who is presiding over the lawsuit against Trump University, saying District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is biased against Trump because the judge is of Mexican descent and Trump proposes a “great wall” along the Mexican border.

    1. edm – Trump said the judge was prejudiced because he belongs to a group known as La Raza, which mean, The Race. By it’s very title it is a racist group.

      1. Donald Trump’s racial comments about Hispanic judge in Trump University case

        Condemnation of comments made by Donald Trump about a federal judge reached the heights of the national Republican leadership when U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan rebuked the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee on June 7, 2016.

        “I disavow these comments,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “Claiming a person can’t do the job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment. I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

        Trump has been roundly denounced, by the left and right, for saying U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel may be biased against him because of his Mexican heritage.

      2. Trump wrongly casts California lawyers group as strongly pro-Mexican

        CBS News host John Dickerson pressed Trump as to what his parents had to do with him not ruling in Trump’s favor.

        “He is a member of a club or society, very strongly pro-Mexican, which is all fine,” Trump said on Face the Nation on June 5. “But I say, he’s got bias. I want to build a wall.”

        It’s a serious matter to accuse federal judges of bias solely because of their ethnic background, and top-ranking Republicans have rejected Trump’s line.

        Our interest though is strictly in this club that Trump referenced. Is it actually “strongly pro-Mexican” as he said?

        We reached out to the Trump campaign for details and did not hear back.

        The group in question is the California La Raza Lawyers Association. It dates back to 1977. The group’s immediate past president, Joel Murillo, told us that it was formed in response to stereotyping coming from judges and lawyers.

        “There were judges on the bench saying people with Spanish surnames were prone to be savages,” Murillo said. “When we tried to integrate with the mainstream bar association, we were denied. We were marginalized. The only people who were willing to work with us were us.”

        Murillo says the days of stereotyping are over, and the group now focuses on the professional development of Latino lawyers and encouraging students to pursue a career in law. He called Trump’s description of the association as very strongly pro-Mexican a “misnomer.” Murillo said most of the group’s recent work targets improving the quality of education for all students in California.

        The group has not been involved in the immigration debate.

        1. edm – La Raza means “The Race” how racist can that be. How many white, black or Asian lawyers do they have in their group. The purpose of La Raza is to take over the land that used to belong to Mexico.

      3. Who Is Judge Gonzalo Curiel, The Man Trump Attacked For His Mexican Ancestry?

        So Who Is Judge Curiel?

        First, Curiel is American. He was born in Indiana, went to law school at Indiana University and is of Mexican ancestry.

        After 10 years in private practice in Indiana and California, Curiel spent 17 years as a federal prosecutor in Southern California, rising to chief of narcotics enforcement in San Diego.

        In the late 1990s, when Curiel was leading a joint task force to take down a notorious Tijuana drug cartel, law enforcement authorities got credible information that the cartel was planning to assassinate him.

        Curiel’s boss at the time was U.S. Attorney Gregory Vega.

        “At that point,” Vega recalled, “the United States Marshals Service removed Judge Curiel from his home and, for a year, had him live on a Navy base here in San Diego and then on separate occasions in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., outside of the danger area.”

        Vega, who had known Curiel for decades, told NPR he finds it ironic that a man who put his life at risk to fight the scourge of drugs from Mexico is being portrayed as incapable of being fair because of his Mexican background.

          1. Paul,

            Do you have the same problem with PolitiFact too? Maybe I should check out what Sean Hannity or the Gateway Pundit has to say on the subject of Judge Curiel…or maybe Alex Jones?????

            1. edm – I believe Politifact needs a decent fact-checker. I don’t watch or follow any of the rest of them. I live in the Southwest, home of La Raza. If that judge belongs to a La Raza organization, he is racist and pro-Mexican. As such, he would be prejudiced against Trump. It is an easy jump.

    2. Of course there are many lawsuits involving Trump. He or his company representatives have sued many people who owe his gaming companies gambling debts and he is trying to collect them.
      Makes perfect sense to me.

      But your inference makes your nose grow loooonger and loooooooger.

  3. The FBI Is a Player in the 2016 Election, and the FBI Is Out of Control
    Nobody knows what’s going on anymore.

    …the recent history of the FBI’s involvement with presidential elections is not a promising one.

    It’s hard to keep up with what’s going on. Clearly, there are FBI sources dissatisfied with decisions made not to keep investigating Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mails and/or the Clinton Foundation. They’re talking. There also seem to be FBI sources who are frustrated with what they see as the too-close-by-half relationship of the Donald Trump campaign to Russian oligarchs up to and including Vladimir Putin. They’re talking. And there are people completely outraged by the bungling attempts by FBI director James Comey to involve himself so directly in the presidential election, and they’re all talking. The FBI, in short, is out of control.

    It’s hard to know what to believe. Reputable reporters are producing contradictory information by the bucketful, and there’s just enough ambiguity in it to make great ammunition for the completely unprincipled and truthless campaign being run by one-half of this election. This has exacerbated distrust within the electorate and, I would suspect, within the FBI itself, which is not something any of us should like to have going on as a new president enters office.

    But we know from sad history that electoral politics is one area from which the FBI, and every other institution of the surveillance state, should stay away—or be kept away—at all possible costs, because they can do more damage by accident than any terrorist can do on purpose. Like it or not, and I don’t, the FBI is a player in the 2016 presidential election, and the agendas that are roiling it at the moment are as big a part of it as the electoral college or Scottie Nell Hughes.

    This is damage that will last.

    1. edm….I think part of the problem is the lack of “visibility”, or upfront involvement, on the part of the Attorney General.
      Normally the Att. Gen., or a special prosecutor if one has been appointed, would be in the lead in decisions and announcements.
      Since the early July press conference and Congressional appearance by James Comey, FBI presense and involvement has been highlighted, and Loretta Lynch has largely stayed in the background.
      The situation is also complicated by the fact that a presidential candidate is the target of an ongoing investigation close to an election.
      As far as I know, that is unprecedented.
      The “tarmac meeting” with Bill Clinton complicated things even more.
      As far as the amount of investigation done, the FBI has historically been deeply involved in other politically sensitive matters, from Watergate to the Gen. Petraeus mishandling of classified material.
      But I can’t think of a time when they’ve been in the forefront like this, going well beyond investigating, and passing investigation results to the Att. Gen. or a special prosecutor.

      1. tnash – Judicial Watch has asked for a copy of the conversation between Clinton and Lynch on the tarmac.

        1. Paul Schulte…If there were no witnesses to and no recording of the Clinton-Lynch
          conversation, I don’t see that Judicial Watch can get much beyond the “we talked about our grandkids” spiel.

          1. tnash – I don’t think they believe the grandkids story and want witnesses.

  4. Teen Who Allegedly Got Weiner Sexts “Upset” With Comey
    The 15-year-old exclusively told BuzzFeed News she is upset with the FBI for not informing her that her case became tied to the use of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

    The teenage girl who allegedly received indecent messages from Anthony Weiner said she is “upset” with FBI Director James Comey after she found out via the media that her case had been tied to the use of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, BuzzFeed News can exclusively reveal.

    Comey has been criticized for going public with the latest investigation into Clinton’s emails so close to the election and despite a lack of clear evidence, but the teenager told BuzzFeed News she feels aggrieved that the bureau gave her no warning that her case would be thrust into the national spotlight and tainted with electoral politics.

    “The FBI asked for me to speak to the media as little as possible. I have tried to stay quiet, but Comey has upset me,” the teenager told BuzzFeed News. “The last thing that I wanted was to have this become political propaganda.”…

    The girl told BuzzFeed News she was informed of the connection only on Friday afternoon after completing an hours-long interview with FBI agents when she was then telephoned by a reporter seeking comment on Comey’s announcement…

    Her father told BuzzFeed News he has been left feeling “angry that the local folks had interviewed my daughter for six hours that same day about intimate details from her previous interactions with a pervert and then released the story of Weiner’s server before we could drive home from the site where she was interviewed.”

    What’s more, the girl’s father says he believes the local FBI agents investigating her case were also unaware Comey was preparing to go public until they, too, read about it on Friday in the media. He said he based this view on the fact that agents contacted him only after the announcement to ask if he and his daughter “were okay, and asked if we had thought of leaving the area to avoid media scrutiny.”

    “We got a call from a media member before the FBI local contact texted to check on us,” he said.

    1. “The 15-year-old exclusively told BuzzFeed News she is upset with the FBI for not informing her that her case became tied to the use of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.”

      Good thing they are lying low.

    2. edm – members of the Democrats alerted friendly members of the press as soon as they got the letter. The girl should be mad at Weiner for sharing a laptop with his wife.

  5. It’s a favored tactic from the left; if you cannot discredit the message then try to discredit the messenger. For them, the incriminating evidence is suspect because of the source. Project Veritas is a prime example. Wikileaks has provided a mountain of evidence against the entire Democrat/Clinton enterprise and their only ridiculous defense is “but the Russians are trying to influence an American election”. Isn’t our own 4th estate trying to influence our election by NOT doing their job?

  6. A Constitutional Crisis with the continued investigations into HRC, her aids, the DNC, and a host of regular suspects like Donna Brazil, Sidney Blumenthal.
    HRC says “half” of Donald Trump’s supporters are “deplorables,” meaning people who are racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic.

    Well, I am none of those and resent HRC and her ‘holier than thou” attitude against everyday Americans. It has become quite clear that she has enormous disregard for the American people who are hard working, fearful of losing their job, and Christian.

    What is deplorable is her email mess, the Donna Brazile’s of the world, who on national TV lied about receiving debate questions for HRC in advance and passing them on. Then CNN fires her.

    1. Bob – I think Trump’s comment about they fired Donna, why don’t they fire Hillary.

  7. Blame Russia all you want. I hear no denials of the email content. Are you Dem’s listening?

  8. edm

    Keep ’em coming. Thanks for all the posts on this issue. It’s pretty clear who is favored on this blog, but still pretty shocking how little coverage the Trump-Russia connection is getting.

    Even the eve-ridiculous Jill Stein has thrown her support behind Trump…talk about hating America!

    Ignore the trolls. Full speed ahead.

    1. “pretty shocking how little coverage the Trump-Russia connection is getting.”
      There a has actually been a good deal of coverage on Trump-Russia ties.
      Much of it very recent( c.past 24 hours).
      But “the Philly filter” probably blocks out coverage from “right-wing extremist media outlets”, like the New York Times and CNN.
      Some try to read a cross section of coverage, some use “a fine filter” as to the news they’ll “accept”.

  9. @edm

    Donald Trump’s Many, Many, Many, Many Ties to Russia

    “ ‘The Trump-Russia links beneath the surface are even more extensive,’ Max Boot wrote in the Los Angeles Times. ‘Trump has sought and received funding from Russian investors for his business ventures, especially after most American banks stopped lending to him following his multiple bankruptcies.’ ”

    As the Corporate Media’s Time Magazine and Max Boot both speak for the neo-con agenda of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and its agenda of putting HRC in the White House, I recommend a large helping of fact-checking salt before swallowing their allegations.

    It isn’t that they’re invariably and in all matters wrong, but the CFR’s authoritarian ideology and agenda for a post-constitutional America makes everything its members and supporters say and do worthy of extra and intense scrutiny.

  10. @edm, November 1, 2016 at 10:06 am
    “One of the most surprising conservative Comey critics so far is Andrew Napolitano — Fox News’s resident Clinton-hating legal analyst — who surprised Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning by saying the FBI director overstepped his bounds with his latest update on the investigation.”

    This would be “surprising” only to unprincipled, partisan hacks. Napolitano is a principled civil libertarian, and it would have been surprising only to those who know what that means if he had taken any other position than he did regarding Comey’s abuse of his power as FBI Director.

    See for example, Napolitano’s book, Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion and the Lethal Threat of Presidential Powers to American Liberty (2014):

    “Nobody in America today is a stronger and more energetic champion of individual rights, natural freedom, and strictly limited government than Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano. Suicide Pact
    is his best work yet. It’s a can’t-put-it-down history lesson, a page-turning legal argument, and his strongest statement ever on just how far America has strayed from its promise of being a government of laws and not of power-hungry men [and woman]. If you care about your freedom, your country, and your future, read Suicide Pact and pass it along to everyone you know.” Nick Gillespie,

  11. I wonder what kind of per diem David Brock’s outfit is giving ‘edm’.

    1. EDM is a paid assassin. He should be removed. But he will only pop back up with another name. Gee, ain’t the Internet wonderful???

  12. Donald Trump’s Many, Many, Many, Many Ties to Russia

    Most of the coverage of the links between Trump and Putin’s Russia takes the GOP presidential nominee at his word—that he has lusted after a Trump tower in Moscow, and come up spectacularly short. But Trump’s dodge—that he has no businesses in Russia, so there is no connection to Putin—is a classic magician’s trick. Show one idle hand, while the other is actually doing the work.

    The truth, as several columnists and reporters have painstakingly shown since the first hack of a Clinton-affiliated group took place in late May or early June, is that several of Trump’s businesses outside of Russia are entangled with Russian financiers inside Putin’s circle.

    So, yes, it’s true that Trump has failed to land a business venture inside Russia. But the real truth is that, as major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions. Several had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows. What’s more, several of Trump’s senior advisors have business ties to Russia or its satellite politicians.

    “The Trump-Russia links beneath the surface are even more extensive,” Max Boot wrote in the Los Angeles Times. “Trump has sought and received funding from Russian investors for his business ventures, especially after most American banks stopped lending to him following his multiple bankruptcies.”

    1. For some reason, the TIME article cited above did not mention the $500,000 Bill Clinton received for a speech in Moscow, Hillary’s State Dept. role in approving the Uranium One deal (where a Russian company bought ownership of large U.S. uranium supplies), and the simultaneous funneling of large donations to the Clinton foundation by those connected with Uranium One.
      Both candidates have a history of Russian entanglements.

      1. tnash,

        The article was about Trump–not the Clintons. BTW, I am not a fan of Slick Willy…or Hillary. I was a supporter of Bernie Sanders. I donated to his campaign on several occasions. He was the first presidential candidate that I felt excited about voting for in decades. Unfortunately, he is no longer running. As much as I dislike Hillary, I dislike Trump even more.

        1. Trash talk. Clearly the louder and more vociferous the Dem’s protest, the more the election is changing. No matter what is said, they cannot simply agree that HRC is at the bottom of this whole mess. It is she who brings this country to the edge of a Constitutional Crisis with the continued investigations into her, her aids, the DNC, and a host of regular suspects like Donna Brazil, Sidney Blumenthal. Not Trump. While he is far from perfect, would you want to have as POTUS a person who pushed the overthrew the government of Libya? The Dem’s want to control our lives and what we think. They also want to shape the world in their image. Now that’s frightening.

      1. Neither the New York Times nor Time “magazine” are exactly right-wing publications.
        TIME has probably become much more of a left wing rag.
        There is still a week to go before the election; perhaps TIME can now write a stronger article to make its case.
        The new title might be “Trump’s many many many many MANY ties to Russia”.
        There were only 4 “manys” in the link provided by edm a few comments above this one.

  13. Trump’s SoHo Project Was Co-Financed by Dirty Kazakh Money, FT says

    One of Donald Trump’s signature projects in Manhattan was used by former officials in Kazakhstan to launder dirty money, ultimately profiting the GOP presidential nominee himself, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

    The FT said that three apartments in the Trump SoHo hotel-condominium, which he owned jointly with the real estate companies Bayrock and Sapir Organization LLC, were sold in April 2013 for a total of $3.1 million to shell companies ultimately controlled by Elvira Kudryashova, the daughter of Viktor Khrapunov, a former energy minister and Mayor of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. That was two years after Khrapunov and other members of his family were charged with fraud and other financial crimes in their homeland. The FT said its reporting was backed by “title deeds, bank records and correspondence.”

    Lawyers for the city of Almaty told a U.S. court in March that Khrapunov and his family “conspired to systematically loot hundreds of millions of dollars of public assets…and to launder their ill-gotten gains through a complex web of bank accounts and shell companies…particularly in the United States, ” according to the FT.

    Khrapunov and his wife fled Kazakhstan for Switzerland in August 2008, just as the ripples from the U.S. financial crisis brought the Kazakh banking system to collapse. Like many others who fall from grace with authoritarian regimes, Khrapunov claims that the charges against him are politically motivated. His daughter Elvira is based in California. The FT said she had transferred the funds from a Wells Fargo account.

    The idea that foreign criminals are laundering money through the U.S. real estate market isn’t new: Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, warned about “corrupt foreign officials, or transnational criminals,” doing just that back in January.

  14. As its stock collapsed, Trump’s firm gave him huge bonuses and paid for his jet

    It was promoted as the chance of a lifetime: Mom-and-pop investors could buy shares in celebrity businessman Donald Trump’s first public company, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts.

    Their investments were quickly depleted. The company known by Trump’s initials, DJT, crumbled into a penny stock and filed for bankruptcy after less than a decade, costing shareholders millions of dollars, even as other casino companies soared.

    In its short life, Trump the company greatly enriched Trump the businessman, paying to have his personal jet piloted and buying heaps of Trump-brand merchandise. Despite losing money every year under Trump’s leadership, the company paid Trump handsomely, including a $5 million bonus in the year the company’s stock plummeted 70 percent.

    Many of those who lost money were Main Street shareholders who believed in the Trump brand, such as Sebastian Pignatello, a retired private investor in Queens. By the time of the 2004 bankruptcy, Pignatello’s 150,000 shares were worth pennies on the dollar.

    “He had been pillaging the company all along,” said Pignatello, who joined shareholders in a lawsuit against Trump that has since been settled. “Even his business allies, they were all fair game. He has no qualms about screwing anybody. That’s what he does.”

    Trump’s bid for the White House relies heavily on his ability to sell himself as a master businessman, a standout performer in real estate and reality TV.

    But interviews with former shareholders and analysts as well as years of financial filings reveal a striking characteristic of his business record: Even when his endeavors failed and other people lost money, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee found a way to make money for himself, to market his Trump-branded products and to pay for his expensive lifestyle.

    1. During the 1980s, I had a client who sold a large property to a Trump company. Your description is pretty much his modus operandi when a deal goes south. I have a bit of experience dealing with real estate developers and this behavior is fairly is typical of the majority – great guys when things go well and the lowest of the low when times are tough. Trump himself that the number one rule to become a successful developer is hire a great lawyer.

    2. edm – Hillary is still pay her female employees less than her male employees. Girl power, go get ’em.

  15. A Non-Partisan Explanation of FBI Director James Comey’s Clinton Email Decision

    Did Comey mess up?

    Oh, yes.

    In general, prosecutors don’t comment on criminal inquiries unless and until a charge is brought, and there is a separate, long-held policy that, during the last 60 days before an election, the department exercises heightened restraint in an effort to avoid doing anything that might be perceived as political interference with the vote.

    In this instance, Comey violated both of those sacrosanct principles. He publicly announced in a letter to Congress that he was rekindling a seemingly completed criminal investigation into whether candidate Hillary Clinton and her staff mishandled classified emails. Worse, he did so without even yet knowing whether a newly discovered trove of emails might simply be duplicates of the thousands he had already pored over and found not worth pursuing. Worst of all, he did it just 11 days before one of the most bitter presidential elections our nation has ever known. So yes, that was a mistake.

    More than a 100 former federal prosecutors or Justice Department officials have now criticized Comey, either in a signed statement or in assorted media appearances or op-ed pieces, for having violated these guidelines. They have included former Attorney General Eric Holder (who served under President Barack Obama), former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (George W. Bush), deputy AG George H.W. Terwilliger III (George H.W. Bush), former deputy AG Jamie Gorelick (Bill Clinton), and so on.

    1. edm – in the last week they hit Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is running for re-election, with charges of criminal contempt.

    2. More than a 100 former federal prosecutors or Justice Department officials have now criticized Comey, either in a signed statement or in assorted media appearances or op-ed pieces, for having violated these guidelines. T

      I’m sure you went and got a U.S. Government Manual from 1992, combed through the names, and then compiled a list of comments released to local newspapers (which they published in the interstices between reprinting what came off the AP wire).

      1. Well, you said that more than a 100 former . . .
        So, I checked that out and could not find any reference article saying that more than “dozens” of former federal prosecutors . . .
        and then it was written that the Clinton campaign drafted a version of the letter and sent it to the former federal prosecutors over the weekend.

        Your nose is growing. Still.

  16. Even Fox News’s Hillary-hating legal analyst thinks Comey went too far

    While it was predictable that Democrats would rip James Comey for his vague letter…reigniting the Hillary Clinton email controversy, a surprising number of Republicans have criticized the FBI director for it as well.

    One of the most surprising conservative Comey critics so far is Andrew Napolitano — Fox News’s resident Clinton-hating legal analyst — who surprised Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning by saying the FBI director overstepped his bounds with his latest update on the investigation.

    “In my view, what Director Comey did… was to give the public a snapshot of where this investigation was at the time, which is prohibited by Department of Justice regulations and FBI regulations because it can be a misleading snapshot,” Napolitano said. “His job is not to answer to the public, and it’s not to answer to the Congress, it’s to gather facts, give them to the Justice Department, let them decide what to do with it.”

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