Former Rep. Trey Gowdy said Friday he doubts James Comey will be indicted as a result of an inspector general’s investigation into possible FISA abuse while he was FBI director.
“Do you believe James Comey will face prosecution. Yes or no?” Fox News host Bill Hemmer asked Gowdy.
“No, I don’t,” said Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor who retired from Congress in January.
“He’s not going to be indicted. So if that’s what people expect, they’re going to be disappointed. I’d rather set reasonable expectations,” the Republican added.
Gowdy’s comments are sure to disappoint conservative Trump supporters who have called for mass prosecutions of FBI officials who took part in the bureau’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Fox News personality Sean Hannity has led the call for prosecutions, pressing guests on his show each night to agree that Comey and other FBI leaders will face legal jeopardy for relying on the unverified Steele dossier to obtain warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, against Trump aide Carter Page.
Within weeks, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General is expected to release a report of its investigation into whether the FBI complied with FISA.
But while Gowdy says he doubts Comey will be indicted for abusing the FISA process, he made the case that the former FBI chief does not need to face charges in order to go down in history as a “deeply partisan” failure.
“We are setting a wrong standard in our culture when we say everything’s fine unless you’re indicted,” said Gowdy, who is now a Fox News contributor.
“Comey’s been dinged in two IG reports. He was found to violate his employment agreement. He leaked classified information to his attorney,” he continued. “He’s going to go down in history as a deeply partisan FBI director, and then history can mete out whatever punishment they want, but I don’t think he’s going to be indicted.”
The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, has issued two reports heavily critical of Comey’s actions as FBI director. Horowitz admonished Comey for his public statements following the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
The DOJ watchdog also released a report on Aug. 29 that found that Comey violated his employment agreement in the handling of memos that he wrote following conversations with President Trump.
After Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, Comey gave several of the memos to a personal friend with instructions to leak details of one of the memos to The New York Times. Comey said that he leaked the document in order to trigger a special counsel’s investigation of Trump.
Horowitz said Comey’s actions set a “dangerous” precedent for FBI employees. He referred Comey to the Justice Department for investigation, but prosecutors declined to press charges.