James Comey’s efforts to promote his book has reopened calls for the fired FBI director to be investigated for obstruction of justice in his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
In July 2016, Comey announced that after a months-long investigation, the bureau would not charge Clinton for using a private email server during her time as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. That controversial decision came back to haunt him this weekend as Comey was making the rounds on the talk show circuit to promote a book that slams President Donald Trump, who fired Comey last year.
“The evidence against Hillary Clinton was powerful, overwhelming evidence under a variety of statutes that she broke the law. And if James Comey cleared her for political reasons, that’s obstruction of justice,” Fox News legal analyst Greg Jarrett said Sunday night.
.@GreggJarrett: "The evidence against @HillaryClinton was powerful, overwhelming evidence under a variety of statutes that she broke the law. And if James @Comey cleared her for political reasons, that's obstruction of justice." @NextRevFNC pic.twitter.com/ZvkrWOQbLS
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 16, 2018
Jarrett laid out the facts in an Op-Ed posted on Fox News last year, when word surfaced that Comey had begun drafting the document that exonerated Clinton long before the investigation was complete.
“Comey must now testify under oath to explain why he would write a statement of exoneration well before all the facts were known and why he would change the language to clear Clinton in the face of incriminating evidence that she mishandled classified material through gross negligence,” Jarrett wrote.
“Did Comey seek to absolve Clinton for political reasons? Was he pressured to do so by Attorney General Loretta Lynch or others? And why exactly did he take it upon himself to usurp the authority of the Justice Department in clearing Clinton?” he added.
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, whose 2016 tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton has been cited in the past by Comey as a fact that worried him as the investigation neared its end, used Comey’s book tour to put distance between herself and the former FBI chief.
Comey never shared any concerns about the Clinton probe at the time it was going on, according to a statement she released, Axios reported.
“Throughout his time as Director we spoke regularly about some of the most sensitive issues in law enforcement and national security. If he had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did,” Lynch’s statement read.
In an interview with ABC host George Stephanopoulos that was broadcast Sunday night, Comey attacked Lynch and Obama. He said he went out on his own to announce the results of the Clinton probe because Lynch had no credibility.
“I actually thought, ‘As bad as this’ll be for me personally, this is my obligation, to protect the FBI and the Justice Department,’” Comey said. “Given all that had gone on, the attorney general of the United States could not credibly announce this result. And if she did, it would do corrosive damage to the institutions of justice.”
Lynch’s credibility gap was laid at Obama’s door.
”I think he felt a pressure in the political environment because he wanted Hillary Clinton to be elected, to give her a shot in the arm. And so he spoke about an investigation. And he shouldn’t have done that,” Comey said. “But that, as you can imagine, created this drumbeat that the Obama Justice Department, the fix is in because the president has told them what result they should reach.”
Jarrett has said Clinton’s actions in hiding her emails make a mockery of comments by Comey that they were “not intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.”
“Really? What other reason could possibly exist? Clinton was just cleaning out her mailbox?” Jarrett wrote. “There is little doubt that Hillary Clinton flagrantly and shamelessly ignored the law. … Neither Clinton nor Comey are above the law, although they may think so.”
Obstructing justice could be one of several charges Comey could face, Jarrett said Sunday night.
“In the Federal Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations and the Privacy Act, as well as the Federal Records Act, anything that’s in the course and scope of your employment is government property. Every FBI agent signs a document that says ‘when you leave government, all of that is the government’s to remain behind, you are not to take it with you,'” he said. “Comey took it with him — seven presidential memos.”
“Everything you do in the course and scope of your employment is government property. He was acting as the FBI director when he spoke to the president, he wrote about their conversations. It’s clearly government property. He stole that government property, including, according to Senator Grassley, four classified documents, which would make him just as guilty as Hillary Clinton,” Jarrett added.
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