by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Kevin Daley of the Daily Caller details a letter outlining concerns related to now-fired FBI Director James Comey.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s letter detailing the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) rationale for calling for the dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey is heavy on professional grievance.
The memo, submitted to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, strongly suggests that officials at the Justice Department felt Comey improperly assumed prerogatives that rightly belong to career prosecutors at DOJ, instigating a bureaucratic turf war that left department officials displeased.
The memo opens with Rosenstein’s conclusion that Comey’s press conference on July 5, 2016, where he announced he would not recommend criminal charges over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, “usurped” the authority of his superiors at the Justice Department. …
… The use of terms like “usurp” and “supplant” are both arresting and telling, as is Rosenstein’s assertion that Comey effectively “assumed command” of DOJ. This section of the memo argues Comey’s public statements stripped DOJ officials of prosecutorial discretion. In disclosing legal conclusions to the public, the former director foreclosed a number of options for department officials, leaving them little choice but to decline to pursue a case against Clinton. What’s more, the memo also states it was improper for Comey, whose role is restricted to finding facts, to reach any legal conclusions in the first place.