Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke about the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the 2016 election.
Excerpt: “Throughout the Clinton investigation, Republicans in Congress demanded information from Director Comey and DOJ under subpoena and threat of contempt. Today, they’re doing the same thing with the Mueller investigation. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now.”
Senator Feinstein’s full remarks as delivered follow:
“All I have had time to read is the executive summary where the recommendations are, and I think Senator Schumer summarized the most important one, and that is – and I’m reading from the report:
‘We found no evidence that the conclusions by Department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations; rather, we determined that they were based on the prosecutors’ assessment of the facts, the law, and past Department practice.’
What the IG did conclude was that James Comey violated Department of Justice policies on three occasions: with his July 5 press conference, his October 28 letter to Congerss and his November 6 notification to Congress.
Now many of us agree on that conclusion. And the IG report repeatedly says that the Justice Department forbids discussion about ongoing investigations:
‘Comey engaged in ad hoc decision-making based on his personal views even if it meant rejecting longstanding Department policy or practice. We found unpersuasive Comey’s explanation as to why transparency was more important than Department policy and practice with regard to the reactivated Midyear investigation, while by contrast, Department policy and practice were more important to follow with regard to the Clinton Foundation and the Russia investigations.’
Department policy and practice is to not discuss investigations, and for me, that’s the key takeaway today.
House and Senate Republicans continue to demand that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller disclose information about the Russia investigation.
If it was wrong for Comey to release information related to the Clinton investigation, it would be wrong for the FBI and Justice Department to release information about the Mueller investigation.
Throughout the Clinton investigation, Republicans in Congress demanded information from Director Comey and DOJ under subpoena and threat of contempt. Today, they’re doing the same thing with the Mueller investigation.
It was wrong then and it’s wrong now.
Instead of demanding disclosure of information about the ongoing investigation, Congress should protect investigative information from disclosure.
Lastly, the FBI said the following:
‘Although no bias or other improper consideration was found in the FBI’s decisions or actions, the appearance of bias is disconcerting and potentially damaging to the FBI’s ability to perform its mission.’
Law enforcement must not only avoid actual bias, but also the appearance of bias.”