Harry Reid Says Comey’s ‘Partisan Actions’ May Have Broken Federal Law

Bill Clark

In an acid-tongued letter sent Sunday, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) accused FBI Director James Comey of possibly violating federal law by informing Congress about newly discovered emails that may be linked to Hillary Clinton’s private email server just 11 days before the presidential election.

“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,” Reid wrote. “Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.”

Though it remains unclear whether the emails recovered from a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner are duplicates of messages previously reviewed or if they contain pertinent evidence, Comey’s Friday announcement sent shockwaves through the presidential race.

Reid accused the embattled FBI director of trying to influence the outcome of the election by disclosing the email news at this late date in the race.

According to Reid, Comey has engaged in a “double standard” by providing this new information about the Clinton email investigation while declining to disclose what he called “explosive” material about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

“In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government,” Reid wrote.

Richard W. Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, wrote a New York Times op-ed over the weekend announcing that he filed a complaint against Comey with the FBI’s Office of Special Counsel advising possible Hatch Act violations.

The FBI has provided no immediate response to Reid’s letter, according to CNN.

The Senate Democratic leader signed off with a scathing personal attack on Comey’s record of service.

“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,” Reid wrote. “With the deepest regret, I now see that I was wrong.”

Read the full letter below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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