Sarah Huckabee, the White House Press Secretary, suggested during a press conference the Department of Justice should consider filing charges against James B. Comey, the former FBI Director. Ms. Huckabee implied Mr. Comey has leaked classified information by providing memos of his interactions with the President to a friend. The friend later provided the memos to a reporter. The President cited recommendations by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his firing of Mr. Comey on May 9, 2017.
In June, Mr. Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had provided a copy of the memos to a friend because “my judgment was that I needed to get that out into the public square because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
In a July 28, 2017, op-ed for the New York Times, Sally Yates, the former Acting Attorney General dismissed by President Trump on January 30, 2017 wrote of President Trump’s attempts to “destroy the time-honored independence of the Justice Department” and “the president’s complaint is that he doesn’t have a political ally at the Justice Department to protect him from the Russia investigation.”
The FBI and the Department of Justice have traditionally maintained independence from the White House, in order to maintain a public faith in the legitimacy of investigations.