Writing in a Washington Post op-ed, former FBI director James Comey says President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr have “damaged” the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), leaving a “legacy of damage to a vital American institution.”
“Trump’s presidency represents a continuing frontal assault on the truth — on the very idea that ‘truth’ exists. This president lies so often that we risk becoming numb to falsehoods. And in numbness there is danger — we could give up on the truth. And then America is lost,” he writes.
“We have lots of policy differences in this country, but those are for another day,” he adds. “Because we need a president who will reflect the core values of honesty and decency that are the lifeblood of our nation and its institutions. We need a president who will appoint an attorney general not because he needs a personal defense lawyer but because American justice needs a guardian. We need a president who has devoted his life to serving others through the rule of law. We need to elect Joe Biden.”
Referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Comey wrote that “The Justice Department was damaged when the attorney general and the president lied to the American people about the work of the special counsel investigating the president.”
“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 continued. “And they damaged it again when the attorney general tried to drop a case in which the president’s ally Michael Flynn had already pleaded guilty, twice. 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.”
Comey says, “If we are to be a healthy nation, the damage must be repaired. America has always depended on the truth.”
He goes on to say that 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. And that we all play by the same rules. It matters that judges and prosecutors don’t treat you differently because of who you are, what you look like, or who you know. Lady Justice wears a blindfold so all Americans get fair treatment.”
However, “Justice’s blindfold must be restored. We have done it before, after Watergate, the last time the Justice Department was this damaged. And it will be easier this time, because a commitment to nonpartisan law enforcement — instilled in the 46 years since Richard M. Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford set out to restore the Justice Department — still lives in the hearts of the thousands of career agents and prosecutors.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.