When news about FBI Director James Comey being booted from his position hit the media, folks began speculating what the reason for his firing might be.
Well, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s letter which called for Comey’s dismissal, it had a whole lot to do with professional grievances, including his assuming prerogatives that were not his jurisdiction, belonging instead to career prosecutors at the Department of Justice.
This is pretty eye-opening stuff.
The Daily Caller is reporting, The memo opens with Rosenstein’s conclusion that Comey’s press conference on July 5, 2016, where he announced he would not recommend criminal charges over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, “usurped” the authority of his superiors at the Justice Department.
The Director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.
The use of terms like “usurp” and “supplant” are both arresting and telling, as is Rosenstein’s assertion that Comey effectively “assumed command” of DOJ. This section of the memo argues Comey’s public statements stripped DOJ officials of prosecutorial discretion. In disclosing legal conclusions to the public, the former director foreclosed a number of options for department officials, leaving them little choice but to decline to pursue a case against Clinton. What’s more, the memo also states it was improper for Comey, whose role is restricted to finding facts, to reach any legal conclusions in the first place.
A large portion of the letter is dedicated to Comey overstepping his bounds, having made decisions that weren’t his to make, but the DOJ’s. This, as you might imagine, went over with officials in the agency like a lead balloon.
And in fact, this could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Here’s a little sample of what sources inside the agency had to say about the former director.
“He seemed to think that what was good for Comey is good for the institution. That’s jarring,” one senior Justice Department official said.
“He’s rapturous of his own righteousness,” said another.
That’s some pretty heavy criticism.
However, it’s likely there’s more to the story than Comey being unpopular among his comrades at the DOJ, as these things are always intertwined with politics to some degree.
It’ll be interesting to see what further revelations come to the surface as this continues to unfold.
[Note: This article was written by Michael Cantrell]