CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour asked former FBI director James Comey on Tuesday if the bureau should have “shut down” the “hate speech” coming from Donald Trump’s rallies during the 2016 presidential election,” prompting Comey to defend First Amendment rights.
Amanpour asked: “Of course, ‘Lock her up’ was a feature of the 2016 Trump campaign. Do you in, retrospect, wish that people like yourself, the head of the FBI, the people in charge of law and order, had shut down that language, that it was dangerous potentially, that it could have created violence, that it kind of is hate speech?"
"Lock her up" was a chant aimed at Trump's election rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“That’s not a role for government to play," Comey replied. "The beauty of this country is people can say what they want, even if it’s misleading and it’s demagoguery."
He continued: “The people should have shut it down were Republicans who understand the rule of law and the values that they claim to stand for. Shame on them, but it wasn’t a role for government to play.”
Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017.