US President Barack Obama today said it is important to keep the tradition to ensure that Americans are not affected by innuendo or rumours, in light of the FBI’s decision to reopen its probe into the alleged email scandal of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“We give enormous power to our law enforcement officials to keep us safe, to do a great job, to protect us. But we also put these norms and rules in place, some of them written, some of them unwritten, to make sure that any of us are not suddenly affected by innuendo or rumors. That’s true for an ordinary citizen, and it’s true for somebody who’s running for president of the United States,” Obama told MSNBC.
Obama was responding to a question on the FBI’s decision last week to reopen its investigations into the alleged email scandal of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I’m always very careful about speaking about active cases being handled by the justice department or the FBI because I don’t want to appear as if I’m influencing them unduly.
“The reason for that is that historically both under Democratic and Republican administrations our goal has been and should be that our investigators and our prosecutors are independent of politics, that they’re not politicised, that they’re not used as a weapon to advantage either side in partisan arguments,” he said.
Obama said he wants to make sure that that tradition and norm is continued.
“Now I said before and I will say again, Jim Comey is a good man. And I do not believe that he is in any way trying to influence the election one way or another. I think he’s a serious public servant who wants to do the right thing. I think the overwhelming majority of FBI feel the same way, the overwhelming majority of people in the justice department feel the same way,” he said.
“What I have said is I want all of us to think about maintaining these norms. When you are investigating a case, then unless you have unearthed something, you need to just do your job. If there are things that you think are worth presenting, then you present them to a prosecutor. The prosecutor then makes a judgment, the prosecutor can make a decision either to file a charge or not to file a charge,” Obama said.