Fired FBI Director James Comey believes that the next U.S. Attorney General, who seems likely to be Merrick Garland, should decline to prosecute President Donald Trump, even if the Department of Justice has already amassed enough evidence to bring a compelling criminal case against the exiting commander in chief, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
Comey addresses the possibility of a possible Trump prosecution in his upcoming book, Saving Justice: Truth, Transparency and Trust, a copy of which was provided to The Guardian in advance of the book’s release next week.
According to the report, Comey wrote that Joe Biden’s administration should not “pursue a criminal investigation of Donald Trump no matter how compelling the roadmap left” by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and no matter “how powerful the evidence strewn across his history of porn stars and financial fraud.”
For Comey, who was unceremoniously fired by Trump in 2017, the Biden administration should instead be focused on restoring confidence in the DOJ, which became highly politicized under Bill Barr’s tenure: “Although those cases might be righteous in a vacuum, the mission of the next attorney general must be fostering the trust of the American people.”
The former FBI director’s emphasis on national unity is somewhat ironic, as he is one of few political figures that Americans from both sides of the aisle seem to dislike in equal measure. Similarly, the legal community is similarly torn as to whether Trump should be investigated and possibly prosecuted, but appear to agree that Comey should stop inserting himself into the public spotlight.
“Agree with Comey that ‘the mission of the next AG must be fostering the trust of the American people.’ An obvious proposition,” wrote CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig. “*Disagree* that the way to do that is by utterly ignoring – not even investigating – years of potentially criminal conduct.”
Honig was not alone in his belief that ignoring what may be mounds of evidence is not the best way to restore faith in the DOJ.
“Crystal Mason is facing 5 years for doing nothing wrong. How can you justify a legal system that only contemplates leniency for the richest most powerful people who actually commit serious crimes?” wrote Andre Segura, the legal director for the ACLU of Texas.
Mason was on supervised release for a felony tax fraud conviction when, on the advice of a poll worker, she submitted a provisional ballot in the 2016 presidential election. She was unaware, however, that Texas law forbids convicted felons from voting until they have “fully discharged their sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision,” and was sentenced to five years in prison despite the ballot not being counted.
Some simply calling for Comey to keep his opinions to himself.
“Not today, Satan,” wrote Cristian Farias of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
“Today is not the day to argue whether Trump should be prosecuted *after* he leaves office,” New York-based criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield wrote. “And Jim, you’re really not the best person to argue the point”
The Appeal’s Josie Duffy Rice added that “regardless of how you feel at this point, it feels like Comey should sit this one out.”
[image via MSNBC screengrab]
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