Two former U.S. attorneys for Western Washington, Jenny Durkan and Mike McKay, joined former Attorney General Eric Holder and dozens of former federal prosecutors in an open letter criticizing FBI director James Comey over his actions in the email probe of Hillary Clinton.

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Two former U.S. attorneys in Western Washington, one a Democrat and one a Republican, have joined with former Attorney General Eric Holder and dozens of former federal prosecutors in an open letter criticizing FBI Director James Comey over his recent actions in the email investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Among those signing the letter were Jenny Durkan, a Seattle attorney and Democrat who served as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington under President Obama, and Mike McKay, a Seattle attorney and Republican who held the same post under President George H.W. Bush.

The letter says the actions by Comey, whose office falls under the U.S. Justice Department, were “inconsistent with prevailing” department policy and “breaks with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections.”

Comey disclosed to Congress on Friday, less than two weeks before the Nov. 8 presidential election, that the FBI was reviewing recently discovered emails that “appear to be pertinent” to its earlier, closed investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server, while she was secretary of state.

The letter, obtained by The Seattle Times on Sunday evening, cites the impartiality and nonpartisanship of the U.S. justice system that has made it exceptional throughout the world.

“For this reason, Justice Department officials are instructed to refrain from commenting publicly” on pending investigations, except in rare circumstances, and are “instructed to exercise heightened restraint” near the time of primary and general elections, the letter says.

Public comment may affect the electoral process and “create the appearance of political interference in the fair administration of justice,” the letter says.

“Many of us have worked with Director Comey; all of us respect him,” it adds. “But his unprecedented decision to publicly comment on evidence in what may be an ongoing inquiry just eleven days before a presidential election leaves us both astonished and perplexed.”

The letter notes a lack of information regarding the new inquiry and calls for the release of all the facts.

The letter was signed by former high-ranking Justice Department officials, former U.S. attorneys and former assistant U.S. attorneys from around the country.