On Monday, at the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked several pointed questions regarding FBI Director James Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress informing leaders that his agency was looking into newly discovered emails which may be related to the Hillary Clinton private server.
“The President doesn’t believe that [Comey] is secretly strategizing to benefit one candidate or one political party,” Earnest said.
“He’s in a tough spot, and he’s the one who will be in a position to defend his actions in the face of significant criticism from a variety of legal experts, including individuals who served in senior Department of Justice positions in administrations led by presidents in both parties.”
The White House is expressly respecting the independence of the Department of Justice and is taking great care to assure that there is not even the appearance of any political influence by the White House on the DOJ’s business, particularly as it relates to the Democratic nominee.
Earnest said that he would neither “defend nor criticize” the decision of the FBI Director. In what may be a hint as to the White House’s displeasure with Comey’s decision earnest eluded to the ‘norms’ about making information public and how they should be followed.
At the same time, the Press Secretary called the FBI Director a man of “integrity and good character.”
Over the weekend and spilling into Monday, Democrats and some Republicans have expressed their frustration with Comey’s actions which were at the behest of his superiors at the Department of Justice including Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Earnest said that the President still has confidence in his FBI Director even amid the widespread criticism of his letter to congressional leaders. “The President thinks very highly of Director Comey. And yes, you can assert that he still has confidence in his ability to do his job.”