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Turley: ‘Pretty Silly’ to Say Comey’s Trying to Influence Election, People Have Been Indicted Before Elections

On Monday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “On the Record,” George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley argued that it was “pretty silly” to accuse FBI Director James Comey of trying to influence the election, and that while there are “fair criticisms” of Comey, and the FBI has historically avoided major decisions before an election, “It’s not that it hasn’t happened before. In 1992, you had the indictment of Caspar Weinberger days before the election.”

Turley dismissed Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) assertion that Comey may have violated the Hatch Act as “pretty absurd.” He added, “Nobody’s suggesting that Director Comey has a favorite here, he’s trying to influence the election. I think that’s pretty silly, and I think that his motivations are clear, there’s no evidence of intent under the Hatch Act. So, that’s not even within the realm of possibility.”

Turley continued that while one can criticize Comey’s timing and decision, but he wasn’t trying to influence the election.

Turley added, “I think there’s fair criticisms that — directed towards Director Comey that, historically they have avoided major decisions, major actions or indictments before elections. It’s not that it hasn’t happened before. In 1992, you had the indictment of Caspar Weinberger days before the election.” A move that Turley pointed out was celebrated by some.

He concluded that the DOJ “has a policy to try to avoid these issues. It’s not a vow of silence. It’s a balancing decision that they make. Now, Comey, you might decide, made the wrong decision, but he probably made it for the best motivations. That is, Comey’s view was, I could be accused either of commission or omission violations if I don’t tell people that there’s an ongoing investigation, I could be accused later of withholding information from the public and from Congress. If I tell them, I could be viewed as using the investigations politically. So, he’s between the horns of a dilemma. And what he chose to do was to release very little, just to simply say there is an ongoing investigation here, and fulfilling his promise to Congress. You know, we can debate this, and I think history will be the guide, but this was already an investigation that was already part of the campaign, part of the election. I think Comey looked at this and said, you know, the email scandal is one the top issues today.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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