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