Reid writes Comey: ‘You may have bro­ken the law’

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Mike DeBo­nis

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Harry Reid on Sun­day ac­cused FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey of break­ing fed­eral law in dis­clos­ing pos­si­ble new ev­i­dence in the Hil­lary Clin­ton email in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Reid, D-Nev., said in a let­ter sent to Comey that his dis­clo­sure to Congress, made 11 days be­fore the elec­tion, might have vi­o­lated the Hatch Act, which pro­hibits par­ti­san pol­i­tick- ing by gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees.

“Your ac­tions in re­cent months have demon­strated a dis­turb­ing dou­ble stan­dard for the treat­ment of sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion, with what ap­pears to be a clear in­tent to aid one po­lit­i­cal party over an­other,” Reid wrote. “I am writ­ing to in­form you that my of­fice has de­ter­mined that these ac­tions may vi­o­late the Hatch Act, which bars FBI of­fi­cials from us­ing their of­fi­cial author­ity to in­flu- Comey Reid ence an elec­tion. Through your par­ti­san ac­tions, you may have bro­ken the law.”

While many Democrats and some Repub­li­cans have cast doubt on Comey’s ac­tions, Reid’s let­ter is the most force­ful de­nun­ci­a­tion lev­eled by a high-rank­ing elected of­fi­cial.

In the let­ter, Reid drew a con­trast be­tween how Comey has treated the Clin­ton email probe and how he has han­dled what Reid de­scribed as “ex­plo­sive in­for­ma­tion about close ties and co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Don­ald Trump, his top ad­vi­sors, and the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment.”

“The pub­lic has a right to know this in­for­ma­tion,” Reid said. “I wrote to you months ago call­ing for this in­for­ma­tion to be re­leased to the pub­lic. There is no danger to Amer­i­can in­ter­ests from re­leas­ing it. And yet, you con­tinue to re­sist calls to in­form the pub­lic of this crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion. By con­trast, as soon as you came into pos­ses­sion of the slight­est in­nu­endo re­lated to Sec­re­tary Clin­ton, you rushed to pub­li­cize it in the most neg­a­tive light pos­si­ble.”

The FBI did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to an email seek­ing com­ment on Reid’s let­ter.

GOP Sen. Tom Cot­ton of Arkansas de­nounced Reid from his Twit­ter ac­count Sun­day, writ­ing: “Harry Reid is a dis­grace to Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.”

Ge­orge­town Uni­ver­sity law pro­fes­sor David Vladeck, who is crit­i­cal of Comey’s han­dling of the Clin­ton in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said he did not be­lieve that Comey had vi­o­lated the Hatch Act.

But, he said, “I do think he has abused his of­fice.”

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