Comey on Barr: 'Amoral leaders' reveal 'character of those around them'

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces Sarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE wrote in a New York Times op-ed on Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE's "amoral" leadership is revealing Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFeds charge five in international ID theft ring targeting military members, veterans The road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces Correctional officers subpoenaed in Epstein investigation: report MORE's "character." 

"What happened to these people?" Comey asked of Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Rosenstein10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Why the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing MORE. "People are complicated, so the answer is most likely complicated. But I have some idea from four months of working close to Mr. Trump and many more months of watching him shape others."

"Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them," he wrote.

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"I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein," Comey added. "Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from."

Comey's op-ed comes on the heels of the release of a letter that Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE wrote to Barr expressing frustration with how the attorney general summarized the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Barr in March sent a summary to Congress detailing what he called the investigation's top-level findings, saying there was no collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and the Kremlin and that obstruction of justice charges would not be brought against Trump.

On Wednesday, the attorney general defended his summary of Mueller’s report during testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“How could Mr. Barr go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and downplay President Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller before he completed his work?” Comey asked in the op-ed.

Comey, whose firing by Trump set in motion the appointment of the special counsel, also criticized Rosenstein’s resignation letter, which was submitted to Trump earlier this week.

He asked how Rosenstein could “on resigning, thank a president who relentlessly attacked both him and the Department of Justice he led for “the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations”?” 

Comey contrasted Barr and Rosenstein tenures in the Trump administration with that of former Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOnly Donald Trump has a policy for Afghanistan New Pentagon report blames Trump troop withdrawal for ISIS surge in Iraq and Syria Mattis returns to board of General Dynamics MORE.

Mattis resigned from his Pentagon position in December, one day after Trump announced that he would withdraw troops from Syria.

“James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man,” Comey wrote.

“It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.” 

Updated at 1:43 p.m.