According to news reports, the Justice Department has decided it won’t prosecute the FBI’s former director, James Comey, for leaking classified information about his contacts with President Trump. The non-prosecution decision was reportedly made by Attorney General Bob Barr who was said to be especially concerned that the Department of Justice not be seen as an instrument of political retribution.
Of course, there is still the matter of Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation over which he is being investigated. So Comey is still not out of the woods by any means.
At all events, for us, the possibility of Comey being convicted of a crime was never central to our interest in the several issues surrounding him. What did concern us was whether certain individuals were treated differently due to political considerations.
In that regard, flash back to Comey’s July 5, 2016 press conference. Speaking before the cameras, he announced that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted for using her private e-mail for official State Department business. Yet, until his final paragraphs stating that she would not be prosecuted, Comey’s factual recitation of what Clinton had done was a veritable checklist of violations of federal law.
Further, there was also a subsequent revelation that Comey had been directed by then Attorney General Loretta Lynch to downplay the nature of the FBI’s Clinton inquiry by referring to it as a “matter” and not as an “investigation.” Also troublesome was the fact that an alleged “pay to play” scheme – wherein some meetings of non-governmental officials with Clinton may have been conditioned on contributions to the Clinton Foundation – seemed, as far as we can tell, never to have gotten off the ground.
Compare and contrast this treatment of Clinton with the treatment of former Trump national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who were hounded with the proverbial fine-toothed-comb and prosecuted for perjury and obstruction of justice for seemingly trivial and inadvertent mistakes as to dates and conversations made in interviews with the FBI.
In the overall picture, whether or not this or that former or present official person goes to jail as the result of misfeasance in office is less important than a full airing of the possible hijacking of our criminal justice system. And we hope that the various continuing investigations (another Inspector General report is imminent) will contribute to that result.