Just one day after Senate minority leader Harry Reid had the audacity to claim that FBI Director Jim Comey had broken the law by writing a letter to Congress updating them about the Hillary Clinton investigation, the Director is finding an unlikely defender in President Obama.
Reid wrote an open letter to Comey on Sunday in which he claimed that the Director “may have broken the law”. Reid was referring to the claim that Comey had violated the Hatch Act, a law that prohibits executive branch officials from engaging in political activity.
Through his partisan actions, FBI Director Comey may have broken the law. https://t.co/rDcYbKBa8G
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) October 30, 2016
While Harry Reid is well known to be a political hack who never lets the truth get in the way of winning an election (I don’t have to remind Republicans about the time Reid knowingly lied about Romney not paying taxes), it is nice to see someone on the other side of the aisle not jump on the opportunity to turn everything into a partisan fight. Obama’s take on the issue is undoubtedly the strongest defense of Comey by a Democrat thus far, and his dismissal of Reid’s claim carries a good bit of weight among voters considering his partisan leanings.
When questioned about Reid’s claim that Comey’s letter to Congress violated the Hatch Act, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest stated the following:
The president’s assessment of his integrity and his character has not changed. The president does not believe that Director Comey is intentionally trying to influence the outcome of an election. The president does not believe that he is secretly strategizing to benefit one candidate or one political party. – White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest
Earnest went on to say that Comey is “in a tough spot” and that “nobody at the White House has insight into the decision that Director Comey made.”
Before these statements from the White House, the Clinton campaign had been attacking Comey and demanding that he release more information about the investigation. Most of the mainstream media had also jumped on the bandwagon and criticized Comey for the timing of the letter, but in a private memo to Bureau officials, Comey stated that he had only found out about the new emails on Thursday of last week.
It is still unclear when the FBI’s investigation will conclude, but it is suspected to take more than a couple of weeks. Director Comey has not made a public statement since writing the letter to Congress, but the White House’s dismissal of Reid’s attacks should slow down the partisan criticism.