Departing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid joined Joy-Ann Reid (no relation) via telephone on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” Saturday, where he compared FBI Director James Comey to J. Edgar Hoover and called for the Senate and intelligence agencies to investigate him.
Reid’s urging follows CIA’s conclusion this week that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election with the goal of electing Donald Trump, according to multiple media reports. Sen. Reid had warned about Russia messing with U.S. elections months ago, and blamed Comey’s partisanship — the FBI director is a Republican — for the lack of action before the election.
“I did not believe that Comey was the new J. Edgar Hoover,” Sen. Reid said. “I thought that he would do the right thing for his country.”
Hoover’s 37-year post as FBI director from 1935-1972 was marred in its later years by evidence of his secretive abuses of power.
The senator said Comey “let the country down for partisan purposes.”
“He violated the orders of the attorney general and the president, and good taste, by getting involved in the election like he had,” Sen. Reid said. “He would not leave well enough alone, he couldn’t do enough to help.”
While Sen. Reid thought it would be futile for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to try to remove Comey from his post, he did call for an investigation by people who aren’t on their way out of Washington next month.
“I think he should be investigated by the Senate, I think he should be investigated by other agencies of the government including the security agencies,” Reid said. “If there were ever a matter of security, it’s this.”
Sen. Reid had some conciliatory words for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a longtime Russia hawk who has pledged to go after the country, calling him an “accomplished trial lawyer” and “voice of concern” who should be part of any investigation. Fellow Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto will take over for Sen. Reid in January.