Former U.S. prosecutors were quick to weigh in on FBI director James Comey’s “absolutely bizarre” decision Tuesday to not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server.
Chief among the former federal prosecutors to question the call was Rudy Giuliani, but he was not the only one.
Joseph diGenova, former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said Comey’s statement was an “absurdity in light of the conclusions that [the FBI] reached,” The Washington Free Beacon reported.
“How can he spend 15 minutes describing a series of crimes being committed … and then he says no reasonable prosecutor [would prosecute]?” he said. “That is ridiculous. I consider myself a reasonable prosecutor and I would have brought charges based on the facts that he accumulated.”
Matthew Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney for Iowa, told the Free Beacon the FBI director’s stance in the case was highly unusual for a law enforcement official.
“[Comey] said no ‘reasonable prosecutor’ would file a case,” Whitaker said. “That’s where he steps out of his role as FBI director,” said Whitaker. “It’s not his decision to make at all.”
Whitaker runs the watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, which has been critical of Clinton.
“[FBI investigators] essentially just tell you here’s the facts and here’s the law, and the law has or hasn’t been violated—it’s a strange situation,” he added. “And I’ve never seen an FBI director or agent or anybody stand up in front of the media and go through their analysis of the case and the facts. The whole thing is unprecedented.”
DiGenova repeated a common them in response to Comey’s decision, the being “extremely careless” in handling classified information would meet the standard of “gross negligence” needed to prosecute, the Free Beacon reported.
“The standard under the statute is gross negligence,” diGenova explained. “[James Comey] described the conduct as ‘extremely careless.’ To me that is worse. His conclusion that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges is completely inconsistent with his recitation of the facts and the law.”
And he said that because of Comey’s actions,”this will never die.”
“The public will have more to say about this even if the Bureau and the Justice Department and the president and Mrs. Clinton don’t,” diGenova insisted. “This is not going to go away especially after this bizarre performance.”
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