Skip Navigation
Archive

Groups Urge DOJ Inspector General to Investigate Senior Officials’ Possible Misconduct in Comey Firing

The Brennan Center joined the Center for American Progress, along with American Oversight, on a letter to the DOJ Inspector General asking him to investigate possible abuse and misconduct.

May 31, 2017

Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — Concerned by the nature of the involve­ment of the attor­ney general and deputy attor­ney general in the termin­a­tion of FBI Director James Comey, the Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the Center for Amer­ican Progress,  Amer­ican Over­sight, and Professor Kath­leen Clark sent a letter today to Michael E. Horow­itz, inspector general of the U.S. Depart­ment of Justice (DOJ), urging that the DOJ Office of the Inspector General begin an invest­ig­a­tion into possible abuse and miscon­duct by senior DOJ offi­cials in connec­tion with Comey’s firing.

“There are a number of unanswered ques­tions about the role senior Depart­ment of Justice offi­cials played in the firing of James Comey,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Bren­nan Center’s Demo­cracy Program. “A public invest­ig­a­tion led by the nonpar­tisan inspector general is key to getting to those answers. A demo­cracy guided by account­ab­il­ity and the rule of law demands noth­ing less.”

“The beha­vior of senior DOJ offi­cials raises real ques­tions,” said Liz Kennedy, director of demo­cracy and govern­ment reform at the Center for Amer­ican Progress. “Attor­ney General Jeff Sessions recom­men­ded that Pres­id­ent Donald Trump fire Comey despite having recused himself from invest­ig­a­tions into the pres­id­ent’s campaign due to concerns about his own contacts with Russian offi­cials. Sessions did not disclose his Russian contacts to the FBI during his back­ground invest­ig­a­tion for his secur­ity clear­ance and also lied about those same contacts to the Senate. The attor­ney gener­al’s role in the ongo­ing inquiry into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia must be invest­ig­ated.”

“The DOJ’s stated rationale in firing Director Comey creates more ques­tions than it answers and raises seri­ous concerns that the attor­ney general and deputy attor­ney general were involved in an attempt to thwart an ongo­ing invest­ig­a­tion into the pres­id­ent’s asso­ci­ates,” said Austin Evers, exec­ut­ive director of Amer­ican Over­sight. “The inspector general needs to fully invest­ig­ate the DOJ’s role in the Comey firing—the cred­ib­il­ity of the admin­is­tra­tion and our demo­cratic insti­tu­tions is at stake.”

“While the special coun­sel has an import­ant role to play in invest­ig­at­ing possible crim­inal viol­a­tions, the role of the DOJ inspector general is to determ­ine whether senior DOJ offi­cials engaged in miscon­duct or abuse of power,” said Professor Kath­leen Clark of the Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity School of Law. “It is import­ant that the inspector general invest­ig­ate whether any DOJ offi­cials viol­ated the depart­ment’s policies in the firing of Director Comey.”

Click here to access the full letter. Experts from all organ­iz­a­tions are avail­able to speak more on this topic. To reach an expert at the Bren­nan Center, please contact Rebecca Autrey at rebecca.autrey@nyu.edu or 646–292–8316.

###

The Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpar­tisan law and policy insti­tute that seeks to improve our systems of demo­cracy and justice. We work to hold our polit­ical insti­tu­tions and laws account­able to the twin Amer­ican ideals of demo­cracy and equal justice for all. The Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incar­cer­a­tion to preserving Consti­tu­tional protec­tion in the fight against terror­ism. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge commu­nic­a­tions hub, we start with rigor­ous research. We craft innov­at­ive policies. And we fight for them — in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opin­ion.

Amer­ican Over­sight is a non-partisan, nonprofit ethics watch­dog commit­ted to hold­ing the govern­ment account­able. With congres­sional over­sight lack­ing, Amer­ican Over­sight is step­ping in to uncover and publi­cize inform­a­tion about malfeas­ance and corrup­tion by admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials. Follow us at @weareover­sight and learn more at http://www.amer­ican­over­sight.org.

The Center for Amer­ican Progress is a nonpar­tisan research and educa­tional insti­tute dedic­ated to promot­ing a strong, just and free Amer­ica that ensures oppor­tun­ity for all. We believe that Amer­ic­ans are bound together by a common commit­ment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progress­ive and prag­matic solu­tions to signi­fic­ant domestic and inter­na­tional prob­lems and develop policy propos­als that foster a govern­ment that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”