Ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, blasted James Comey on Sunday for the “hubris” he showed in his TV interview and accused him of injecting politics into the federal Hillary Clinton email investigation.
“I think it’s unfortunately obvious that Jim Comey began to believe his own press clippings. It’s the biggest danger in public life. The hubris that he shows in his interview is extraordinary,” Christie tweeted about Comey’s Sunday night interview on ABC, the first of several plugging his tell-all book, “A Higher Loyalty,” which is critical of President Trump.
A Trump supporter and 2016 GOP presidential candidate, Christie was particularly critical of Comey suggesting that his decision to reveal he would revisit the email case was influenced by polling that showed Clinton, a Democrat, likely to win the 2016 White House race over Trump.
“When I worked for Jim Comey, if I had told him 11 days before an election that I was releasing information that could affect an election, and the decision was influenced by polling, he would have fired me,” tweeted Christie, in remarks similar to those made earlier in the day on ABC’s “This Week. “He is guilty of doing that himself-Wow.”
Comey suggested that Clinton would have been perceived as an “illegitimate president” had he concealed the restart and Clinton had won.
Christie, now an ABC contributor, served as the U.S attorney for New Jersey from 2002 to 2008. Comey held the same post from the Southern District of New York from 2002 to 2003, then became the U.S. deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2005.
The federal investigation focused on Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. Comey concluded in July 2016 that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified material but recommended the Justice Department not pursue criminal charges.
“We’re not supposed to care about politics as prosecutors. But what we find out from his interview … that Jim Comey did care about politics. It is so depressing as somebody who spent seven years in the Justice Department trying to make sure it worked the right way,” Christie also tweeted Sunday.
“What he’s proving in his interview is that the president may have been right to fire him. Don’t agree with how it was done, but in the interview Jim Comey is acknowledging that he took into account politics in making investigative decisions. And that breaks all the rules.”
Comey, in the interview aired Sunday, defended his handling of the Clinton case and made clear he wrestled with the decision to reveal the case was being revisited days before the election. Comey claimed he wasn’t trying to favor one candidate over the other but instead tried to do “the right thing.” In the interview, he also called President Trump “morally unfit” to be president.
The president fired Comey in May 2017, as the federal investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 White House race heated up, saying he had lost confidence in Comey’s ability to lead the FBI.
The bureau reviewed a copy of Comey’s book in advance of its release, set for Tuesday.
“Pursuant to the FBI’s Prepublication Review policy, former Director James Comey submitted a draft of his book to the FBI for review. The FBI reviewed the draft and concluded that none of the FBI information presented fell within a restricted area of disclosure,” the FBI said in a statement.
Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor whom Trump now consults, on Monday was also critical of Comey’s comments and actions related to the Clinton investigation and aftermath.
“I really thought he demeaned the FBI by leaking material about unsubstantiated allegations, by trafficing in gossip.”
He also said Comey’s decision to leak to press that the investigation was being reopened, instead of announcing it, lacked “courage.”