Senate Democratic chief Harry Reid set off a firestorm of criticism Sunday after he mentioned that FBI Director James Comey “could have damaged” a federal regulation when he disclosed on Friday that his workplace was pursuing potential new proof associated to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server lower than two weeks earlier than the presidential election.
The Senate minority chief from Nevada wrote in a letter that Comey could have violated the Hatch Act, which bars authorities officers from utilizing their place to affect an election.
“I’m writing to tell you that my workplace has decided that these actions could violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officers from utilizing their official authority to affect an election,” Reid wrote. “By way of your partisan actions, you might have damaged the regulation.”
Reid, who’s retiring from the Senate on the finish of his time period, added that Comey’s “extremely selective strategy to publicizing data, alongside together with your timing, was supposed for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group.”
The FBI didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark about Reid’s letter.
In an interview with the Wall Road Journal, Rep. Jason Caffetz, R-Utah, Chairman of the Home Committee on Oversight and Authorities Reform, disputed Reid’s claims about Comey.
“Director Comey is updating his earlier testimony, and he ought to try this,” Chaffetz instructed the newspaper. “Hillary Clinton can solely blame herself for this mess. She created this downside, not Director Comey.”
Different Republicans additionally reacted to Reid’s letter.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., referred to as Reid a “shame to American politics.”
“Harry Reid is a shame to American politics, amongst worst males ever in Senate. He cannot go quickly sufficient, & many Democrats privately agree,” Cotton posted on Twitter.
In an interview Sunday night time on “Particular Report with Bret Baier,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. referred to as Reid “a hack.”
“Thank god he is leaving is my preliminary response,” he mentioned, including that “anybody able to sending that press launch must be underneath the affect of one thing.”
Gowdy, chairman of the Home Choose Committee on Benghazi, mentioned that the American folks “must believe within the FBI and Division of Justice.”
In a seperate motion, former Lawyer Normal Eric Holder and dozens of different former federal prosecutors signed a letter Sunday night time crucial of Comey’s current actions within the Clinton e-mail case.
The letter says that Comey deviated from Justice Division coverage when he alerted Congress to the brand new discovery of emails doubtlessly associated to the Clinton e-mail investigation.
Justice Division officers are instructed to not focus on ongoing investigations and to “train heightened restraint close to the time of a main or common election,” to keep away from the looks of prosecutorial affect within the electoral course of, in response to the letter.
“We can not recall a previous occasion the place a senior Justice Division official — Republican or Democrat — has, on the eve of a serious election, issued a public assertion the place the mere disclosure of knowledge could impression the election’s end result but the official acknowledges the data to be examined will not be important or new,” the letter states.
Comey acknowledged in a memo to FBI colleagues on Friday that he knew the letter was susceptible to being misunderstood so near the election, however that he felt obliged to replace Congress on the emails after having earlier instructed lawmakers that the e-mail inquiry had been closed.
However the ex-prosecutors say Comey’s letter was so devoid of element as to “invite appreciable, uninformed public hypothesis” in regards to the emails’ significance. They word that Comey didn’t reveal who had despatched or obtained the emails, whether or not the emails embrace duplicates of messages which have already been reviewed or whether or not the emails include any labeled data.
The letter is signed by dozens of attorneys, together with former Justice Division officers in Washington — amongst them, former deputy attorneys common James Cole, Jamie Gorelick, Larry Thompson and David Ogden — and a gaggle of United States attorneys and assistant U.S. attorneys.