The complicated relationship between the Department of Justice, the law, and America’s political processes has been at the center of much of the news of late, especially since the release of the Mueller report.
The fact that a Justice Department internal policy — that a sitting president cannot be indicted — prevented Special Counsel Robert Mueller from holding President Trump criminally accountable for the obstruction of justice clearly described in his report demonstrates what an important topic that the limits of law enforcement’s ability to police politics without unduly interfering in the democratic process remains.
Democratic frustration with that particular policy was obvious when 2020 presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) declared this week that if she were to be elected as chief executive, her Justice Department would have no choice but to pursue criminal obstruction of justice charges against a former President Donald Trump.
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Former FBI Director James Comey heard Senator Harris’ comments and reacted with what many considered to be an incredibly overly sanctimonious tweet given the fired senior law enforcement official’s own past interactions with the political process.
Political candidates and elected officials should not talk about the future prosecution of any individual. Law enforcement decisions must be apolitical.
— James Comey (@Comey) June 15, 2019
Comey became a hero of the resistance to President Trump after his unceremonious dismissal from the FBI Director position because of “you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia,” as the president famously put it in an interview with NBC‘s Lester Holt.
However, it was only a few months before his firing that Comey basically handed the election to Donald Trump by sending a letter to Congress that announced that he had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” into the private email server that Clinton used when she was secretary of state in the Obama administration.
The timing of Comey’s letter, just days before the election, was credited by many political analysts as the most significant factor in Clinton’s loss and a clear example of how law enforcement decisions can affect the political process.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that Comey’s latest tweet encountered significant pushback from Twitter ‘s more sarcastic commentators.
Comey *burns an entire forest*
Comey- Now don’t start forest fires!
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) June 15, 2019
Ummm, FBI directors probably shouldn't report on open investigations either, but hey who's counting
— Jason Greene (@sailtheargo) June 15, 2019
And FBI Directors shouldn’t talk about prosecutions two weeks before an election but i guess we all learn some lessons the hard way.
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) June 15, 2019
Maybe put this in a letter you can release…say a week before Election Day?
— Will Henline (@WillHenline) June 15, 2019
Says the man who literally cost HRC the election by caving to political pressure.
— Naveed Jamali (@NaveedAJamali) June 15, 2019
Pot meet the kettle.
— Miles Lee Elder (@mlelder) June 15, 2019
Well that tweet made me spit my cigar out and drop my hot sauce…holy unaware, Batman.
— Mary Joyner (@reddivakitty) June 15, 2019
Jeffrey Dahmer advocates vegetarianism…
— Inept Sloganeer (@EliotGreenspan) June 15, 2019
Besides the reactions above, multiple people wondered if this was indeed from James Comey or whether it originated from a parody account. As the Twitter verified checkmark next to Comey’s name indicates, the tweet is indeed genuine — if completely lacking in any sense of how it would be received by the public at large.
If James Comey wants to protect his status as a hero to the anti-Trump resistance, he’d better think twice before weighing in on subjects within which he retains complicity. That’s one tweet that he’d be better of deleting.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.