Former FBI Director James Comey on Monday weighed in on the pending report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, urging transparency in the handling of the probe’s final results.
In an Op-Ed for The Washington Post, Comey wrote that “transparency is especially important where polarized politics and baseless attacks challenge law enforcement’s credibility.
“In critical matters of national importance, a straightforward report of what facts have been learned and how judgment has been exercised may be the only way to advance the public interest,” he continued.
Comey went on to list examples, in his estimation, in which the Justice Department shared detailed information with the public. He specified the 2014 killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri and the October 2015 instance in which the Justice Department publically shared information about the IRS allegedly targeting tea party groups, as worthy reasons for the DOJ to speak out.
“These cases represent the way the Justice Department has always approached its mission — speak only in prosecuted cases, unless the public really needs to know,” Comey wrote.
Democrats, Comey argued, were wrong for fighting transparency in 2016 in regard to the DOJ’s handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. But now, Comey wrote, the GOP is at fault for allegedly battling against fully releasing the Mueller probe results.
“It is hard to imagine a case of greater public interest than one focused on the efforts of a foreign adversary to damage our democracy, and in which the president of the United States is a subject,” Comey wrote.
“I don’t know all the considerations that will go into deciding precisely what to say about the completion of the special counsel’s work and when to say it. It’s always important to consider guidelines and routines. But don’t listen to those who tell you transparency is impossible. Every American should want a Justice Department guided first and always by the public interest. Sometimes transparency is not a hard call.”