Comey says he finds Mueller's obstruction decision 'confusing'

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBiden sister has book deal, set to publish in April Mystery surrounds Justice's pledge on journalist records NYT publisher: DOJ phone records seizure a 'dangerous incursion' on press freedom MORE said Tuesday that he found it "confusing" that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE decided not to determine whether President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE was guilty of obstruction of justice.

"The part that's confusing is I can't quite understand what's going on with the obstruction stuff," Comey said to an audience at the Belk Theatre in Charlotte, N.C., according to NBC News.

"And I have great faith in Bob Mueller, but I just can't tell from the letter why didn't he decide these questions when the entire rationale for a special counsel is to make sure the politicals aren't making the key charging decisions," he added. 

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Comey was referring to the decision made by Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump: Washington/Lincoln ticket would have had hard time beating me before pandemic Trump says Barr 'never' told him he thought he'd lose election Speeches aren't enough: Biden must ditch bipartisanship, endorse ending filibuster MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE not to pursue charges against Trump related to obstruction of justice after Mueller declined to draw a conclusion on the matter.

"The notion that obstruction cases are somehow undermined by the absence of proof of an underlying crime, that is not my experience in 40 years of doing this, nor is it the Department of Justice's tradition. Obstruction crimes matter without regard to what you prove about the underlying crime," said Comey, who led the Russia probe before Trump fired him in May 2017.

He said he has not seen Mueller's final report.

Comey, who's been a staunch advocate for transparency in Mueller's investigation and conclusions, said he was pleased the special counsel was able to finish his work.

"The good part is that the special counsel was allowed to finish his work and reached a conclusion; that's very, very important to this country," Comey said. "The Russians really did massively interfere with the 2016 election with the goal of damaging one candidate and helping the other. That was not a hoax. That was a real thing."