Comey hits out at Trump for appointing ‘personal defense lawyer’ as Attorney General

Comey hits out at Trump for appointing ‘personal defense lawyer’ as Attorney General

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Former FBI director James Comey has accused Donald Trump and William Barr of “leaving a legacy of damage” at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In an op-ed, published on Tuesday in The Washington Post, Mr Comey wrote that the President and Mr Barr, the current Attorney General, are continually harming the impartiality of the department.

Mr Comey accuses Mr Barr of providing “an assist” to the President, intervening in the case of Mr Trump’s friend, Roger Stone, and attempts to drop the case of Michael Flynn.

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“They damaged it again when the attorney general intervened in a case involving the president’s friend Roger Stone to overrule the sentencing recommendation of career prosecutors,” he noted.

Mr Comey also pointed to the violent clearing of George Floyd protesters at Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, on 1 June.

“And again when the attorney general marched across a smoke-filled square that he had ordered cleared of protesters exercising their rights as Americans, all so the president could stand in front of a church and hold up the Bible as a political prop,” he wrote.

Mr Comey, who served as deputy Attorney General for two years under President George W Bush, insisted that on each occasion, Mr Barr and the President further “damaged” the DOJ.

“The justice system in the United States is built upon the idea that the truth is a real thing and it must be spoken, by everybody,” he writes. “If we are to be a healthy nation, the damage must be repaired.”

Mr Comey implied that the judicial system has become heavily politicised, adding: “if Trump-style justice becomes our tradition, nobody is safe.”

In recent months, the President has faced increasing critiques that he has eradicated norms by weighing in on Justice Department matters.

“The facts and the law — not loyalty to Trump, or wealth, or race — must be the only thing that matters. And no matter our politics, we should see it the same way,” Mr Comey wrote.

Mr Comey was the seventh FBI director but was dismissed by Mr Trump in 2017.

In the opinion piece, he warns against a DOJ which decides “who to prosecute based on politics”.

“All Americans are at risk because eventually your party will be out of power, which means the people in power will be coming for you. That’s not America,” he wrote.

At the end of the op-ed, he endorses Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, saying: “We need a president who will appoint an attorney general not because he needs a personal defence lawyer but because American justice needs a guardian.”

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