On November 2, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blasted FBI Director James Comey on CNN for his handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. That same day, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Bloomberg News that he no longer had confidence in Mr. Comey. Several Democratic lawmakers followed suit in criticizing the FBI Director.
However, when President Trump dismissed Mr. Comey earlier this week, the decision was met with an outcry from Congressional Democrats.
Their outrage is hypocritical and misplaced. Had Hillary Clinton won in November and relieved Comey of his duties, not one Democrat would have spoken out in opposition.
To label Comey’s dismissal as anything less than a carefully considered and fair decision is an insult to our Justice Department. The recommendation to terminate Mr. Comey came from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Representing a part of Maryland, I am very familiar with Mr. Rosenstein. He was the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland and, until recently, the country’s longest-serving U.S. attorney. He has a well-deserved reputation of remaining apolitical, and is widely respected by his colleagues. If Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein – a man confirmed to his position by a vote of 94-6 in the U.S. Senate last month – is not confident in the ability of the FBI Director to perform his duties, then that opinion should be taken seriously.
The fact of the matter is that Mr. Comey damaged the credibility of the FBI and lost the confidence of both the American people and his agents. For several months, he received bipartisan criticism for his mishandling of investigations into both Hillary Clinton and President Trump. Even progressive stalwart ThinkProgress referred to the former FBI director as “egregiously incompetent.” When ThinkProgress and President Trump actually agree on something, the claim must be valid.
Mr. Rosenstein presented a thoughtful and bipartisan critique of Mr. Comey in his recommendation for termination. The American people are entitled to an FBI Director worthy of their trust, and Mr. Comey broke that trust.
The American people should be wary of lawmakers jumping on the opportunity to criticize Comey’s dismissal, and using that as a partisan excuse to renew their unwarranted calls for an independent special prosecutor to take over Comey’s investigation of the election. The Senate Intelligence Committee is already in the midst of conducting a bipartisan investigation into alleged interference by Russia in our presidential election. I trust Senators Burr and Warner to conduct a thorough investigation, and to act in the best interest of the American people. Let’s get on with finding a new Director whom we can all trust to handle important FBI matters.
Congressman Andy Harris serves the people of Maryland’s first congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.