Politics

White House Will Neither 'Defend Nor Criticize' Comey Decision

| by Oren Peleg

As bipartisan criticism mounts over FBI Director James Comey's decision to resurface Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email scandal just days before the general election, the White House has decided to stay neutral on the matter. Comey, a federal employee and, by extension, a member of President Barack Obama's administration may have engaged in partisan politics, but the White House has yet to condemn the actions.

"I'll neither defend nor criticize what Director Comey has decided to communicate to the public about this investigation," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told an Oct. 31 press conference, notes ABC News.

"Director Comey is a man of integrity,” Earnest continued, according to the Chicago Tribune. “He's a man of principle and he's a man of good character."

"The President doesn't believe that he's secretly strategizing to benefit one candidate or one political party," Earnest added, notes CNN. "He's in a tough spot, and he's the one who will be in a position to defend his actions in the face of significant criticism from a variety of legal experts, including individuals who served in senior Department of Justice positions in administrations led by presidents in both parties."

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"The president thinks very highly of Director Comey," Earnest later said. "And yes, you can assert that he still has confidence in his ability to do his job."

But while the White House is staying quiet about Comey, other high-ranking Democrats have come out in opposition to his actions.

"I served with Jim Comey, and I know him well,” former Attorney General Eric Holder wrote, notes CNN.

Holder continued:

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This is a very difficult piece for me to write. He is a man of integrity and honor. I respect him. But good men make mistakes. In this instance, he has committed a serious error with potentially severe implications. … It is incumbent upon him -- or the leadership of the department -- to dispel the uncertainty he has created before Election Day. It is up to the director to correct his mistake — not for the sake of a political candidate or campaign but in order to protect our system of justice and best serve the American people.

During a campaign event in Florida on Oct. 29, Clinton responded to the letter.

"It's pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election," Clinton began. "In fact, it's not just strange, it's unprecedented and it's deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts."

Sources: Chicago Tribune, ABC News, CNN (2) (3) / Photo credit: Politico

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