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Gonzales: Not Comey’s Place to Say If Reasonable Prosecutor Would Charge Clinton

• July 6, 2016 10:45 am

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Alberto Gonzales, a former attorney general during the George W. Bush administration, said Wednesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that it was not FBI Director James Comey’s place to say that a reasonable prosecutor would not bring charges against Hillary Clinton.

Host Joe Scarborough asked Gonzales for his opinion on Comey’s recommendation not to charge Clinton for mishandling classified information with her private email server while serving as secretary of state.

Gonzales expressed his surprise at Comey’s decision before criticizing the FBI chief for part of his statement Tuesday.

"You know, what I’m really surprised about was the statement that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. That is not his job," Gonzales said. "His job is to do the investigation, present the evidence, and maybe privately, as a former prosecutor, give his assessment as to whether or not to move forward or not."

"But to say that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case means that if anyone dares disagree, that you’re unreasonable," Gonzales added. "If [Attorney General] Loretta Lynch decides that she wants to move forward, she’s unreasonable, and if she does, and I know it’s unlikely that she’s going to move forward with an indictment, what does that do to Jim Comey’s credibility and judgment? So, I just think that statement was interesting."

Scarborough referenced criticism by former attorney and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani of Comey, who said that he had misinterpreted the law.

Gonzales mentioned his own past history of working with Comey before returning to his original point that it is not Comey’s job to say what a reasonable prosecutor would do with such a case.

"But again, his job is not to make an assessment as to whether or not there should be a prosecution," Gonzales said. "His job is to present the evidence and he can offer a recommendation or offer his opinion, but it’s up to the prosecutors, either the U.S. attorney, the head of the criminal division, ultimately the attorney general of the United States, to decide whether or not to move forward with the prosecution. That is not the job of the FBI director. So, as an institutional matter, as someone who used to run that agency, I found that comment to be very troubling."