As Donald Trump continues to push against the Washington establishment, he runs the risk of alienating those who have supported him and brought him this far. Evidence of this is the push back he’s receiving for his attacks on former FBI Director James Comey. Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy has had enough, and is speaking out.
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Gowdy expressed his dismay on Thursday. He spoke with Fox News and criticized White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ insinuation that former FBI Director James Comey may have broken the law. “Alleging criminal violations is very serious,” Gowdy said, “which is why I don’t do it.”
Sanders’ comments on Tuesday have many riled. She stated that the Justice Department “should certainly look at” prosecuting Comey for leaking information about his meetings with the President.
Comey showed a memo to Daniel Richman, a friend of his, and that memo allegedly contained information that may have been classified. It is worth noting that it may not have been classified. Sanders, though, sees that as beside the point.
“He claims they were private property, but they clearly followed the protocol of an official FBI document,” Sanders said.
“Leaking FBI memos on a sensitive case, regardless of classification, violates federal laws, including the Privacy Act, a standard FBI employment agreement, and a nondisclosure agreement all FBI employees must sign. I think that’s pretty clean, and clear, that that would be a violation.”
Gowdy isn’t having it. “Press secretaries don’t get to make that call,” he told Fox.
“That’s an executive branch function,” Gowdy said. “After a investigation, a charging decision is made by a career prosecutor. So if you have evidence of a crime, instead of sharing it with a gaggle of reporters, share it with the people who can actually do something about it.”
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, spoke with Business Insider on Wednesday. “It is very hard for me to see what the Privacy Act has to do with the memos written by Comey,” Mariotti said. “The other two things she mentioned were the FBI standard employment agreement and nondisclosure agreement. Those are contracts, not laws. Could they sue Comey for breach of contract? Maybe — but it would be a suit for money damages, not an FBI criminal investigation.”
Here’s an overview of the whole case against Comey.