Florida Republican Congressman Laurence Francis Rooney III was blasted on CNN’s The Lead for calling on the Department of Justice to “purge” members of the FBI accused of not supporting President Donald Trump.
Richard Painter, who served as the chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, had harsh words for Rep. Rooney, who served as George W. Bush’s Ambassador to the Holy See during the reign of Pope Benedict XVI.
“Bottom line, why do you think the head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, needs to stand up to the president or resign?” asked CNN justice reporter Pamela Brown, who was hosting The Lead for Jake Tapper.
“Well, first, I want to emphasize I think Christopher Wray is an excellent person to lead the FBI and he has impeccable credentials, but it’s a challenging job, particularly under this president, and Christopher Wray has a job to do,” Painter explained. “He has to defend his agency, the FBI, against the unwarranted attacks from the President of the United States and from members of Congress.”
“There is honestly no evidence of disarray at the FBI or corruption at the that’s at all extraordinary and nothing like what the President of the United States and various members of Congress have alleged. And now McCabe, the deputy director, is a man also of impeccable credentials, he’s done a very good job,” Painter argued. “The allegations against him are just flat-out lies so it is the job of the director of the FBI to stand up to the president when he has to and say, ‘no, that is not right what you’re saying about Mr. McCabe, it’s not right what you’re saying about my agency.”
“He needs to defend his agency, if he doesn’t have the courage to do that, he’s going to have to stand down,” Painter concluded.
“Christopher Wray needs to tell the President of the United States to stop attacking the FBI and officials in the FBI on Twitter and tell that congressman and all the rest of them who are shooting their mouths off without any knowledge of the facts that they are just flat-out wrong and there is not going to be any purge of the FBI on his watch,” Painter demanded.
“Okay,” Brown replied.
“He needs to stand up to these people, they’re acting like dictators,” Painter concluded.
Painter strongly defended the civil servants at the Department of Justice and FBI.
“They should not be retaliated against because of the political views, the civil service laws protect them and we don’t have purges in the United States of America. I mean, that’s Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany, that’s not the type of rhetoric we use in the United States of America and that man does not belong in Congress,” Painter concluded. “I don’t care which party he’s in, I sure as heck don’t want him in my party.”