WASHINGTON—Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is accusing FBI Director James Comey of violating federal law. That’s leading senior elected officials to express alarm over what they call an attempt to criminalize law enforcement.
FBI agents discovered 650,000 emails to and from Huma Abedin—Hillary Clinton’s closest aide and confidant—when those agents examined a computer as part of a federal child pornography/pedophile criminal investigation of Abedin’s husband, disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner. At the same time, at least four FBI field offices—Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York City, and Little Rock, Ark.—were also investigating possible law-breaking and corruption (“pay for play,” etc.) with the Clinton Foundation.
When Comey announced he had reopened the criminal investigation into Clinton’s emails, the Far Left threw out its glowing praise of Comey from the summer (such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s extolling Comey, saying, “We are privileged in our country to have him be director of the FBI”), and is now excoriating him as a Republican political hack (news that would shock everyone involved with Republican Party politics).
But Senate Minority Leader Reid took this to a new level, accusing Comey not only of being political, but of breaking federal law. Reid alleges that Comey violated the Hatch Act, which makes it illegal for a federal officer to use the powers of the government to support or oppose a particular candidate.
The Hatch Act was designed to prevent federal officials from abusing their power to deliberately interfere in a federal election.
“Once again, Harry Reid is going over the top,” says Ken Blackwell, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and senior elected official, one of the most prominent and respected Republican leaders of the past quarter-century.
Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill Clinton won the White House in 1992. Days before that election, Justice Department investigator Lawrence Walsh went public with an indictment of Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger regarding Iran-Contra, casting a shadow on President George H.W. Bush right before Election Day.
“Clinton supporters didn’t run to the cameras back then to condemn a federal law enforcement investigator making such an announcement as people were getting ready to vote when the shoe was on the other foot,” Blackwell quipped.
“This is just the latest episode in the criminalizing of politics,” Blackwell continued. “In this case, Comey had shocked Republicans by not recommending indictments in July. It’s absurd to say that when the evidence shows he needs to reopen a criminal investigation that somehow he’s breaking the law by doing his job to enforce the law.”
“It’s Comey’s job as head of the FBI to investigate possible violations of federal criminal law,” Blackwell added. “No candidate is above the law.”
Saying that the FBI cannot examine possible evidence that any candidate—including a presidential candidate—has broken the law, would essentially mean police agencies should not treat those investigation subjects the same way any private citizen would be treated. It suggests that powerful elites in this country don’t have to follow the same laws that ordinary Americans must follow. The narrative that establishment elites should be held to the same standards as everyday Americans has been a central thrust of Donald Trump’s campaign.
“No candidate is ‘too big to jail,’” Blackwell explained. “Having worked closely with U.S. presidents, I can tell you that the power radiating from the Oval Office is staggering in its scope.”
When there’s a possibility that a person within reach of acquiring such massive power is in fact a criminal, he continued, “every American should want law enforcement to do its job and investigate that possibility before you make that person the most powerful person in the world.”
“Even the White House is backing Comey on this,” Blackwell concluded. “Reid needs to rein in his rhetoric before criminalizing politics becomes so toxic that we get the kind of political corruption I had to confront in some countries we don’t want to emulate when I served our nation as an ambassador.”
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.