House

Gowdy: Sarah Sanders doesn't get say whether Comey broke the law

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Thursday dismissed White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders's claim that federal prosecutors should consider charging former FBI Director James Comey, saying she does not get to decide whether he broke the law. 

"Alleging criminal violations is very serious, which is why I don't do it. Press secretaries don't get to make that call, members of congress don't get to make that call, reporters don't get to make that call. That's an executive branch function. After an investigation, a charging decision is made by a career prosecutor," Gowdy told host Bill Hemmer on the Fox News's "America's Newsroom."

"So, if you have evidence of a crime, instead of sharing it with a gaggle of reporters, share it with the people who can actually do something about it. That would be my advice," the former prosecutor added. 

Gowdy was responding to comments made by Sanders at the White House press briefing this week, in which she claimed Comey's actions while FBI director demand investigators' attention.

"I think if there was ever a moment where we feel someone has broken law, particularly if they are the head of the FBI, I think that's certainly something that should be looked at," she said. 

President Trump fired Comey in May, citing his handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton's private email server. Trump later said he ousted Comey over the federal probe into Russia's election meddling.

Comey testified before Congress in June and said he arranged for his personal memos about his conversations with the president to be shared with news organizations to ensure that a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign.

"The Department of Justice has to look into any allegations of legality, whether or not something is illegal or not - that's not up to me to decide," Sanders said on Wednesday.

"What I've said, and what I'm talking about, are facts. James Comey's leaking of information, questionable statements under oath, politicizing investigations, those are real reasons for why he was fired and the president's decision was 100 percent right, which we've said multiple times over and over. In fact, I think the more and more we learn, the more and more that's been vindicated," she continued. 

Gowdy responded to the comments, saying that he would like to talk about Comey's other decisions as FBI director. 

"I think that there were reasons to replace James Comey as the FBI director. I think it took this administration a long time to settle on those reasons and some of the reasons they cited initially weren't all that good," he said. 

"I've had my differences with James Comey. He's gone now, we have a new FBI director, President Trump picked the person that he wanted," Gowdy said. "I'm very interested in talking to Jim Comey. Not about how he left the FBI but about other decisions that he made while he was the FBI director."

Gowdy also responded to reports that Comey may have decided Clinton was innocent of wrongdoing before he actually finished his probe of Clinton's private server. Conservatives have said a letter Comey was drafting announcing there would be no charges against the former secretary of State shows he exonerated her too quickly.

"What I'm saying is there's sufficient factual basis to bring him in and ask him when did you make up your mind that you were not gonna charge Secretary Clinton," Gowdy said. "I can tell you I've seen with my own eyes he made up his mind before he interviewed her. How far back, whether it was two weeks or two months. Quite frankly Bill, it's immaterial to me. He did it before he interviewed the last witness."

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