As the nation impatiently awaits special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, former FBI Director James Comey argues the Justice Department should release the report to the public.
In a new op-ed for The Washington Post, Comey said that his decision to decline to prosecute Hillary Clinton required transparency — and he’s holding Mueller to the same standard.
Justice Department Transparency
While the Justice Department tends to be secretive, Comey thinks in cases such as this, it is mandatory the public knows the details of the investigation. “Every American should want a Justice Department guided first and always by the public interest. Sometimes transparency is not a hard call,” he wrote.
Comey used his own 2016 investigation into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a perfect example. Comey stunned conservatives when he announced Hillary was not going to be indicted for her handling of classified information on a private email server, and he stands by that decision today.
At the time, Democrats were also unhappy with Comey’s decision to release details about the Clinton case. They blamed him in part for Clinton’s election loss.
But Comey says that he had to publicize the details so that Americans would understand why he wasn’t prosecuting Clinton.
“Angry voices in July 2016 said we should have said nothing,” Comey wrote.
“But we were ending a criminal investigation of a candidate for president, one overseen by Justice Department political appointees from the candidate’s political party. The decision to decline prosecution would have been far less credible without those details, causing lasting damage to the department’s reservoir of trust with the American people. Democrats were wrong about transparency then.”
Barr Should Release Report
Comey then went on to say that Attorney General Bill Barr has no reason to keep this report a secret from the American people.
For the record, Barr has already said he will try to make as much of the report public as he can. He has said that if it is not a matter of national security or classified information, the public will get to see it. President Donald Trump has left the decision of whether or not to release the report up to Barr.
Comey comes into this with a clear agenda, though. The man despises Donald Trump. Members of his team have since been outed as partisan Clinton supporters, making it even more obvious that Clinton was never really in any danger of being brought to justice.
Comey was fired from his position as FBI director by President Trump in 2017.