Hillary Clinton’s longtime spokesman on Monday heaped criticism on former FBI Director James Comey, sending out a series of tweets slamming him for "profiting" off his tangled relationship with investigations into Clinton and President Donald Trump.
Nick Merrill, who worked under Clinton at the State Department and on her 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns, knocked Comey for creating a “public spectacle of the conclusion of the email investigation,” the latest of several allies of the former secretary of state to speak out in response to the FBI director’s highly publicized media tour.
In a series of tweets, Merrill griped that Comey’s memoir and remarks during an exclusive interview with ABC News generated “more questions than when we started and fewer answers.”
The Clinton spokesman revived Democratic criticisms that Comey broke with precedent at the Justice Department by first holding a televised press briefing in July 2016 to announce the DOJ was not recommending charges against Clinton but that she and her aides had been "extremely careless" with classified material. He generated further controversy when he then sent a letter to Capitol Hill just weeks out from the 2016 presidential election informing them the bureau was reviewing more emails.
“He made a public spectacle of the conclusion of the email investigation, breaking with Department norms, calling into question the integrity of the process,” Merrill wrote. “It did nothing to quiet the Trump campaign from accusing the FBI of bias & did everything to make Americans feel uneasy.”
Asked about the decision during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that aired Sunday night, the former bureau chief acknowledged he likely considered whether withholding information about the Clinton email probe would impact her if elected.
"I don't remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been,” Comey said. “I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. I'm sure that it was a factor."
The remarks, released in a clip on Saturday, drew push back from former Clinton campaign officials.
“What amazes me … is that he decided to send the letter to the Hill because of a political consideration and that political consideration was he put it upon himself to be worried about whether or not the next president of the United States was going to be considered legitimate,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director in 2016, told CNN on Sunday.
Palmieri said Comey acted “very clearly outside of the bounds of how the FBI is supposed to operate,” despite saying he was “always trying to act within the bounds of how the FBI is supposed to operate.”
John Podesta, Clinton’s former campaign chairman, called Comey’s letter to lawmakers “one of the worst errors of judgment in post-Hoover FBI history” on Friday after early excerpts of Comey’s book were unearthed.
And Merrill on Monday cried foul for what he presented as a double standard for Comey and Clinton, who has been vocal in the past about her displeasure with Comey.
"Profiting indeed. 850,000 copies of his book have been printed and will likely sell, with scores of paid speeches on leadership that will accompany that," Merrill tweeted. "But yes, Hillary Clinton is the one that should go away."
Though several prominent Clinton allies sounded off on Comey’s major media blitz, the former secretary of state has yet to address claims in the former bureau chief’s book, “A Higher Loyalty,” set for release Tuesday.
Asked whether Clinton would address Comey’s remarks, Merrill said in an email that his Twitter comments are “probably where we’ll leave it right now.”