Former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy says “God and history” will judge James Comey, even if the American justice system does not.
During an interview Friday, Gowdy reacted to a scathing Justice Department inspector general report that found the former FBI director “violated” bureau policy in his handling of memos about his conversations with President Trump.
He was asked if “Lady Justice” is being fair because Comey was criminally referred to the Justice Department for his conduct, but the agency declined to prosecute.
“I’m very sensitive to that. When our fellow citizens think we have a two-track justice system, either for the famous or the not-famous or the rich or the poor, then we are in trouble as a republic. I would tell my fellow citizens this — we have to have other ways of meting out accountability other than simply indictments,” Gowdy said on Fox News.
Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor who was a lead Republican investigator in Congress until he retired in January, compared Comey’s situation to that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who avoided prosecution for using an private email server to conduct government business.
“You know Hillary Clinton was never indicted, she was never charged — therefore never guilty of a crime but yet, the American jury in 2016 meted out a consequence. Jim Comey, whether he likes it or not, all of his past in the Southern District of New York, all of his past at [the Justice Department], all of his time as an FBI director, some of which I agreed with, all of that will be forgotten,” he said.
“God and history will be all of our judges, but they will judge Jim Comey based on the fact that he got dinged on both of the major investigations he was handling in 2016 by the inspector general. That will be the accountability, and that’s what history will remember about Jim Comey,” Gowdy added.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz faulted Comey for violating FBI policy and his FBI employment agreement for the handling of his memos. But the watchdog did not find evidence that Comey or his legal team leaked classified information to the media, a point which Comey trumpeted upon the report’s release.
“I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice,” Comey tweeted. “And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me ‘going to jail’ or being a ‘liar and a leaker’ — ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long, including the president.”
Gowdy quipped that he will apologize to Comey when it snows in Hell.
Horowitz previously criticized Comey in a 2018 report that said he was “insubordinate” and “affirmatively” concealing his intentions from Justice Department leadership during the investigation into Clinton’s private email server. However, the watchdog did not find that bias tainted the investigation.
Gowdy’s former GOP colleagues in Congress have stressed that Comey has not yet escaped trouble, citing Horowitz’s incoming report on alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses and Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation.