Comey: Reputation of Justice Department more important than 'angry, vindictive president'

Comey: Reputation of Justice Department more important than 'angry, vindictive president'
© Stefani Reynolds

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyIs coronavirus the final Trump crisis? Full appeals court to rehear case over McGahn subpoena Tucker Carlson: Biden's 'fading intellect' an 'opportunity' for Democrats to control him MORE urged Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump announces enhanced counternarcotics operation at coronavirus briefing Trump administration makes push for transitional government in Venezuela Brooklyn man accused of lying about hoarding medical supplies, coughing at officers MORE on Tuesday to consider the reputation of the Justice Department as more important than an “angry, vindictive president.” 

Comey, in a Tuesday op-ed in The Washington Post, said the nonpartisan nature of the Justice Department is being threatened by Barr and cautioned that the country is “less safe” if the department takes partisan sides. 

“They were believed because, when they spoke, they weren’t seen as Republicans or Democrats,” he said referencing the department’s employees. “They were seen as something separate and apart in American life — a group of people trying to do the right thing.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

“The reputation of the Justice Department is more important than any of us, even an angry, vindictive president,” he concluded.

He added, “That gift, which makes possible so much of the good they accomplish, is a reservoir of trust and credibility, a reservoir built for them, and filled one drop at a time, by those who went before — most of whom they never knew. ... The problem with reservoirs is that it takes tremendous time and effort to fill them, but one hole in a dam can drain them quickly."

Discussions revolving around the credibility of the department resurfaced last week after Justice Department officials recommended a lower sentence for Trump associate Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneJuan Williams: Mueller, one year on House Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak Trump 'strongly considering' full pardon for Flynn MORE than the one put forward by front-line prosecutors on the case.

Stone was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering. Democrats have condemned Barr and the department for getting involved in the Stone sentencing after the president tweeted that the proposed sentence was unfair.

The Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment.