Former FBI Director James Comey blasted President Trump and Attorney General William Barr in a new op-ed published on Tuesday by The Washington Post, accusing them of “leaving a legacy of damage” at the Justice Department.
Comey was criticized during the 2016 election over his handling of the Clinton email investigation and the FBI’s handling of the Russia election interference investigation, which was conducted while he led the FBI, is being reviewed by U.S. Attorney John Durham. But he has charged that Trump and Barr are eroding the country’s faith in the justice system, citing examples like the president and attorney general “lying” about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings from the Russia probe, its involvement in the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn cases, and the controversy surrounding the protesters forcibly removed from Lafayette Square so that Trump can visit St. John’s Church.
“If we are to be a healthy nation, the damage must be repaired. America has always depended on the truth,” Comey wrote. “The justice system in the United States is built upon the idea that the truth is a real thing and it must be spoken, by everybody. And that we all play by the same rules. It matters that judges and prosecutors don’t treat you differently because of who you are, what you look like, or who you know. Lady Justice wears a blindfold so all Americans get fair treatment.”
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Comey stressed that the rule of law should be “evenhanded” regardless of politics and that justice’s “blindfold must be restored.”
“The facts and the law — not loyalty to Trump, or wealth, or race — must be the only thing that matters,” he said. “And no matter our politics, we should see it the same way.”
Comey said he thinks there are many Republicans who do not like to see the erosion of truth-telling and evenhanded law enforcement, because they are the group in power.
“That’s dangerously shortsighted,” Comey said. “Because if Trump-style justice becomes our tradition, nobody is safe. If lying is rewarded, if the Justice Department starts deciding who to prosecute based on politics, all Americans are at risk, because eventually, your party will be out of power, which means the people in power will be coming for you. That’s not America.”
Comey went on to call the Trump presidency “a continuing frontal assault on the truth” and urged his readers to support Joe Biden in the upcoming election.
“We need a president who will reflect the core values of honesty and decency that are the lifeblood of our nation and its institutions,” he said. “We need a president who will appoint an attorney general not because he needs a personal defense lawyer but because American justice needs a guardian. We need a president who has devoted his life to serving others through the rule of law. We need to elect Joe Biden.”
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Comey was asked on Sunday whether or not he believed he was a “target” of the ongoing Durham probe.
“I have no idea,” Comey responded to CBS anchor Margaret Brennan. “I’ve had no contact with [Durham] and haven’t talked to him. … I can’t imagine that I’m a target. I saw in a news report that [former CIA Director] John Brennan was a witness. Given that I know what happened during 2016, which was a bunch of people trying to do the right thing consistent with the law, I’m not worried at all [about] that investigation of the investigation.”
Comey also quipped that there will likely be an investigation of the investigation of the investigation.
“They just want to have an investigation to talk about,” he said.