White House: Con­sider pros­e­cu­tion of Comey

Press sec­re­tary says ex-FBI chief may have acted il­le­gally.

The Palm Beach Post - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Anne Gearan

WASH­ING­TON — The Justice Depart­ment should con­sider pros­e­cut­ing for­mer FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey for ac­tions that “were im­proper and likely could have been il­le­gal,” White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said Tues­day.

“I think if there’s ever a moment where we feel some­one’s bro­ken the law, par­tic­u­larly if they’re the head of the FBI, I think that’s some­thing that cer­tainly should be looked at,” San­ders said.

She said rec­om­mend­ing such a pros­e­cu­tion is “not the pres­i­dent’s role,” and that the White House is not en­cour­ag­ing it.

“That’s the job of the Depart­ment of Justice, and some­thing they should cer­tainly look at,” San­ders said.

Asked to clar­ify, San­ders said, “Any­body that breaks the law, what­ever that process is that needs to be fol­lowed, should cer­tainly be looked at. If they de­ter­mine that that’s the course of ac­tion to take, then they should cer­tainly do that, but I’m not here to ever di­rect DO J in — in the ac­tions that they should take.”

Nonethe­less, San­ders ticked through a list of ac­tions or al­leged ac­tions by Comey that she said jus­ti­fied his fir­ing by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, in May, and some of which, she said, may be il­le­gal.

“The pres­i­dent is proud of the de­ci­sion that he made. The pres­i­dent was 100 per­cent right in fir­ing James Comey. He knew at the time that it could be bad for him po­lit­i­cally, but he also knew and felt he had an obli­ga­tion to do what was right, and do what was right for the Amer­i­can peo­ple, and cer­tainly the men and women at the FBI,” San­ders said.

“I think there’s no se­cret. Comey, by his own self-ad­mis­sion, leaked priv­i­leged govern­ment in­for­ma­tion weeks be­fore Pres­i­dent Trump fired him. Comey tes­ti­fied that an FBI agent en­gaged in the same prac­tice, they’d face se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions,” she said. “I think he set his own stage for him­self on that front. His ac­tions were im­proper, and likely could have been il­le­gal.”

Comey leaked me­mos to the New York Times, and “politi­cized an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by sig­nal­ing he would ex­on­er­ate Hil­lary Clin­ton be­fore he ever in­ter­viewed her or other key wit­nesses,” San­ders added. She also as­serted that Comey had given false tes­ti­mony to Congress.

Trump has com­plained that Comey let Clin­ton off the hook last year when the FBI closed an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the han­dling of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion on the pri­vate email server Clin­ton used as sec­re­tary of state. Comey said Clin­ton had been sloppy, but had not acted crim­i­nally.

Comey has main­tained that he acted law­fully in pre­serv­ing notes from meet­ings with Trump that he tes­ti­fied had made him un­com­fort­able, and ac­knowl­edged that he al­lowed ac­counts of the meet­ings drawn from those notes to be­come pub­lic.

A Justice Depart­ment spokes­woman de­clined to com­ment. A lawyer for Comey did not com­ment.

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