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Former DOJ Officials – From Administrations Of Both Parties – Raise Concerns Over Comey’s Breach Of Protocol

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From the Clinton campaign:

Former DOJ Officials – From Administrations Of Both Parties – Raise Concerns Over Comey’s Breach Of Protocol

Sunday, as reported by the Associated Press, a group of nearly 100 former federal prosecutors and high-ranking DOJ officials from both Democratic and Republican administrations, including former AG Eric Holder and former Deputy AG Larry Thompson, issued the following joint letter expressing serious concerns over FBI Director Comey’s departure from long-standing department protocols:
As former federal prosecutors and high-ranking officials of the U.S. Department of Justice, we know that the impartiality and nonpartisanship of the United States justice system makes it exceptional throughout the world.  To maintain fairness and neutrality, federal law enforcement officials must exercise discipline whenever they make public statements in connection with an ongoing investigation.  Often, evidence uncovered during the course of an investigative inquiry is incomplete, misleading or even incorrect, and releasing such information before all of the facts are known and tested in a court of law can unfairly prejudice individuals and undermine the public’s faith in the integrity of our legal process.

For this reason, Justice Department officials are instructed to refrain from commenting publicly on the existence, let alone the substance, of pending investigative matters, except in exceptional circumstances and with explicit approval from the Department of Justice officials responsible for ultimate supervision of the matter.  They are also instructed to exercise heightened restraint near the time of a primary or general election because, as official guidance from the Department instructs, public comment on a pending investigative matter may affect the electoral process and create the appearance of political interference in the fair administration of justice.

It is out of our respect for such settled tenets of the United States Department of Justice that we are moved to express our concern with the recent letter issued by FBI Director James Comey to eight Congressional Committees.  Many of us have worked with Director Comey; all of us respect him.  But his unprecedented decision to publicly comment on evidence in what may be an ongoing inquiry just eleven days before a presidential election leaves us both astonished and perplexed. We cannot recall a prior instance where a senior Justice Department official—Republican or Democrat—has, on the eve of a major election, issued a public statement where the mere disclosure of information may impact the election’s outcome, yet the official acknowledges the information to be examined may not be significant or new.

Director Comey’s letter is inconsistent with prevailing Department policy, and it breaks with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections.  Moreover, setting aside whether Director Comey’s original statements in July were warranted, by failing to responsibly supplement the public record with any substantive, explanatory information, his letter begs the question that further commentary was necessary.  For example, the letter provides no details regarding the content, source or recipient of the material; whether the newly-discovered evidence contains any classified or confidential information; whether the information duplicates material previously reviewed by the FBI; or even “whether or not [the] material may be significant.”

Perhaps most troubling to us is the precedent set by this departure from the Department’s widely-respected, non-partisan traditions.  The admonitions that warn officials against making public statements during election periods have helped to maintain the independence and integrity of both the Department’s important work and public confidence in the hardworking men and women who conduct themselves in a nonpartisan manner.

We believe that adherence to longstanding Justice Department guidelines is the best practice when considering public statements on investigative matters.  We do not question Director Comey’s motives. However, the fact remains that the Director’s disclosure has invited considerable, uninformed public speculation about the significance of newly-discovered material just days before a national election.  For this reason, we believe the American people deserve all the facts, and fairness dictates releasing information that provides a full and complete picture regarding the material at issue.

Signatories:
  • Eric H. Holder, former Attorney General of the United States

  • Stuart M. Gerson, former Acting Attorney General of the United States, former Assistant Attorney General

  • Donald B. Ayer, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States

  • James M. Cole, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States

  • Jamie S. Gorelick, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States

  • Gary G. Grindler, former Acting Deputy Attorney General of the United States

  • Larry D. Thompson, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States

  • David W. Ogden, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States

  • Wayne A. Budd, former Associate Attorney General of the United States, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts

  • Tony West, former Associate Attorney General of the United States

  • Neal Kumar Katyal, former Acting Solicitor General of the United States

  • Lanny A. Breuer, former Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division

  • Christine A. Varney, former Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division

  • Lourdes Baird, former U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California

  • Paul Coggins, former U.S. Attorney for Northern District of Texas

  • Jenny Durkan, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington

  • Melinda L. Haag, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California

  • Timothy Heaphy, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia

  • Scott R. Lassar, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois

  • Michael D. McKay, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington

  • Harry Litman, former U.S. Attorney for Western District of Pennsylvania

  • Neil H. MacBride, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia

  • Bill Nettles, former U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina

  • Timothy Q. Purdon, former U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota

  • Donald Stern, former U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts

  • Anne M. Tompkins, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina

  • Elkan Abramowitz, former Chief of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

  • David B. Anders, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Jodi L. Avergun, former Section Chief, U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division

  • Marion Bachrach, former Chief of General Crimes, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York

  • Richard Ben-Veniste, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and former Assistant Watergate Prosecutor

  • Shay Bilchik, former Director, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

  • David M. Buckner, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida

  • Alex Busansky, former prosecutor, U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division

  • Helen V. Cantwell, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Sandra Cavazos, former Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of California and the Eastern District of New York

  • Charles E. Clayman, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

  • Joel M. Cohen, former Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York

  • Leo P. Cunningham, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California

  • Bert Deixler, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California

  • Keir Dougall, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

  • Ira M. Feinberg, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Cary M. Feldman, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

  • Martin Flumenbaum, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Stuart L. Gasner, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii

  • Douglas F. Gansler, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and former Attorney General of Maryland

  • Faith Gay, former Deputy Chief of the Special Prosecutions and Civil Rights Divisions, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York

  • Gerald Greenberg, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida

  • Fred Hafetz, former Chief of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

  • John Heuston, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California

  • Michele Hirshman, former Chief of the General Crimes and Public Corruption Units, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

  • Sydney Hoffmann, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

  • June M. Jeffries, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

  • Marcia Jensen, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California

  • John Joseph, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

  • Nancy Kestenbaum, former Chief of General Crimes, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

  • David V. Kirby, former Chief of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont

  • Barbara E. Kittay, former prosecutor, U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

  • David S. Krakoff, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

  • Larry H. Krantz, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

  • Miriam Krinsky, former Chief of General Crimes, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California

  • Laurie Levenson, former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Central District of California

  • Hon. Tim Lewis, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and former federal judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals

  • Lori Lightfoot, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois

  • Debra Long-Doyle, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

  • Carl H. Loewenson, Jr., former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Jeffrey Marcus, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida

  • Richard Marmaro, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California

  • Douglass B. Maynard, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Seth Miles, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida

  • Amy Millard, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Curtis B. Miner, dormer Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida

  • Cynthia Monaco, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

  • Martin Perschetz, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Elliot R. Peters, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Karen A. Popp, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

  • Jeff Rabkin, former Assistant U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and for the Northern District of California

  • Daniel L. Rashbaum, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Southern District of Florida

  • Alicia Strohl Resnicoff, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

  • David H. Resnicoff, former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

  • Lawrence Robbins, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

  • Frank A. Rothermel, former U.S. Department of Justice Civil Fraud Prosecutor

  • Lee Rubin, former prosecutor, U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

  • Betty Santangelo, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • John Savarese, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Richard L. Scheff, former Chief of the Corruption and Labor Divisions, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

  • William Schwartz, former Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

  • John Siffert, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • David Sklansky, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California

  • Matthew E. Sloan, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Central District of California

  • Judge Mike Snipes, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas

  • Stephen R. Spivack, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

  • Jeremy H. Temkin, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Eric Tirschwell, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

  • Michael Tremonte, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

  • Amy Walsh, former Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York

  • Richard D. Weinberg, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

  • Peter Zeidenberg, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and U.S. Department of Justice Public Integrity Section

  • Lawrence J. Zweifach, former Chief of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York

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  • Former Democratic and Republican State Attorneys General Call Director Comey’s Letter a ‘Serious Mistake’

    A bipartisan group of nearly 50 former state attorneys general issued the following letter expressing concern over FBI Director Comey’s recent letter to Congress, calling it “unacceptable,” and a “serious mistake”:

    As former state attorneys general from both parties, we find the recent actions of FBI director James Comey to be unacceptable and unfair to all involved. We call on him, now that he has injected himself into the electoral process, to immediately provide as much detail as possible so the American public can deal with facts rather than rank speculation and innuendo. But we should not be in this position in the first place.

    It is long-standing Justice Department policy that employees “must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the Department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship.” As prosecutors, we were faced with allegations against candidates during every election. It is important not to comment on pending investigations close to an election or else risk that the normal criminal investigation process will be manipulated for political gain. Prosecutors and investigators must use great caution in even acknowledging investigations prior to their conclusion. The damage to a citizen’s reputation often cannot be repaired, even if that person is totally cleared by the investigation or the allegations are proven to be completely groundless.

    It appears that Director Comey has made a serious mistake in allowing this unfair speculation and innuendo to exist. Each of us has great respect for both the FBI and the American political process. We call on the Director to act immediately to provide needed clarity and explanation, and to limit the unfortunate damage his actions have caused.

    Steve Rosenthal, former Attorney General of Virginia
    Anthony Troy, former Attorney General of Virginia
    Mary Sue Terry, former Attorney General of Virginia
    Mike Moore, former Attorney General of Mississippi
    Ken Salazar, former Attorney General of Colorado
    Grant Woods, former Attorney General of Arizona
    Ron Amemiya, former Attorney General of Hawaii
    Rosalie Ballentine, former Attorney General of the Virgin Islands
    Paul Bardacke, former Attorney General of New Mexico
    Francis X. Bellotti, former Attorney General of Massachusetts
    Steve Beshear, former Attorney General of Kentucky
    Jeff Bingamen, former Attorney General of New Mexico
    Richard Bryan, former Attorney General of Nevada
    Roland Burris, former Attorney General of Illinois
    Bob Butterworth, former Attorney General of Florida
    Bonnie Campbell, former Attorney General of Iowa
    Pam Carter, former Attorney General of Indiana
    Steve Clark, former Attorney General of Arkansas
    Walter Cohen, former Attorney General of Pennsylvania
    Jack Conway, former Attorney General of Kentucky
    Frankie Sue Del Papa, former Attorney General of Nevada
    Jerry Diamond, former Attorney General of Vermont
    John Easton, former Attorney General of Vermont
    Drew Edmondson, former Attorney General of Oklahoma
    John Farmer, former Attorney General of New Jersey
    Lee Fisher, former Attorney General of Ohio
    Doug Gansler, former Attorney General of Maryland
    Terry Goddard, former Attorney General of Arizona
    Jan Graham, former Attorney General of Utah
    Peter Harvey, former Attorney General of New Jersey
    Hubert Humphrey III, former Attorney General of Minnesota
    Gary King, former Attorney General of New Mexico
    Peg Lautenschlager, former Attorney General of Wisconsin
    Bill Lockyer, former Attorney General of California
    Dave Louie, former Attorney General of Hawaii
    J.D. MacFarlane, former Attorney General of Colorado
    Patsy Madrid, former Attorney General of New Mexico
    Dustin McDaniel, former Attorney General of Arkansas
    Jeff Modisett, former Attorney General of Indiana
    Richard Opper, former Attorney General of Guam
    Jim Petro, former Attorney General of Ohio
    Ed Pittman, former Attorney General of Mississippi
    Hector Richard, former Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
    Steve Sachs, former Attorney General of Maryland
    Jim Tierney, former Attorney General of Maine
    Knox Walkup, former Attorney General of Tennessee

  • Statement from Jake Sullivan on New Report Exposing Trump’s Secret Line of Communication to Russia

    In response to a new report from Slate showing that the Trump Organization has a secret server registered to Trump Tower that has been covertly communicating with Russia, Hillary for America Senior Policy Adviser Jake Sullivan released the following statement Monday:

    “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow. Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.

    “This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia. It certainly seems the Trump Organization felt it had something to hide, given that it apparently took steps to conceal the link when it was discovered by journalists.

    “This line of communication may help explain Trump’s bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin and endorsement of so many pro-Kremlin positions throughout this campaign. It raises even more troubling questions in light of Russia’s masterminding of hacking efforts that are clearly intended to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign. We can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia’s meddling in our elections.”