Republicans on Monday turned up the heat on FBI Director James Comey, joining Democrats and a growing number of former law enforcement officials from both parties in criticizing his surprising disclosure last week about a fresh probe into emails connected to Hillary Clinton, with some calling on him to release more information before the election.
Though much of the criticism of Comey’s actions has come from Democrats and Clinton allies, several Republicans, including a former Attorney General from the Bush Administration, have asked for more details, expressed concern about Comey’s letter to Congress, or both.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio conservative who chairs the House Freedom Caucus, told a radio host on Monday that he believed Comey may have made a mistake. “I think this was probably not the right thing for Comey to do—the protocol here—to come out this close to an election, but this whole case has been mishandled and now it is what it is,” Jordan said in an interview with Fox News radio. Jordan added he believes the investigation into Clinton’s emails has been ” wrong from the get go in the way it’s been handled,” and that Comey’s actions on Friday were consistent with that.
Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who faced his own troubles at the Department of Justice, offered a similar critique of Comey’s actions during an interview on CNN.
“I really worry that in this particular instance, the FBI director has made an error in judgment in terms of releasing this kind of letter, which really says nothing,” he said, adding that the actions were inconsistent with Department of Justice protocol.
And in the Senate, Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley sent the FBI Director a lengthy letter with questions about the investigation. The Iowa Senator called for more context and information, especially given fact that Election Day is just over a week away.
“While I disagree with those who suggest you should have kept the FBI’s discovery secret until after the election, I agree that your disclosure did not go far enough,” he wrote. “Without additional context, your disclosure is not fair to Congress, the American people, or Secretary Clinton. The factual context is important.”
Grassley included a series of questions about the newly discovered emails, including how the FBI knows there is “pertinent” information included therein, that he asked to be answered by Nov. 4.
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