Harry Reid Sends FBI Director A Letter That Makes His View Very Clear
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is sending the FBI director a letter claiming that the director's recent actions regarding the Hillary Clinton email investigation may have violated federal law. Reid said that James Comey, by announcing 11 days before the election that the bureau had uncovered new emails "pertinent" to the Clinton investigation, had displayed "a clear intent to aid one political party over another," and may have thus been in violation of federal law.
"Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, which 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 influence an election."
"Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law," Reid added for emphasis.
The retiring Nevada Senator also alleged that the FBI has refused to release "explosive" information about ties between Donald Trump and the Russian government.
"In communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information on the close ties and coordination between between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity," Reid wrote. "The public has a right to know this information. 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."
The Hatch Act is a 1939 law that, among other things, prohibits federal agencies and employees of the executive branch from engaging in certain partisan political activities (The president and vice president are exempted). It explicitly bans employees from using their "official authority or influence for the purposes of interfering with or affecting the results of an election."
Whether Comey's actions fall into this category is up for debate, of course; while one could interpret his letter to lawmakers as a political move intended to sway the presidential election, one could also interpret it as woefully careless but not nefarious. It's a question of intent, and Comey's intent remains unclear.
Reid, however, doesn't see it that way.
"Please keep in mind that I have been a supporter of yours in the past," Reid wrote in closing. "When Republicans filibustered your nomination and delayed your confirmation longer than any previous nominee to your position, I led the fight to get you confirmed because I believed you to be a principled public servant. With deepest regret, I now see that I was wrong."