Trump says that Comey is 'a liar and a leaker and guilty of crimes'
US President Donald Trump alleged that former FBI director James Comey is guilty of leaking classified information to prompt a special counsel's appointment and he accused his own Justice Department of inaction in order to engage in a "witch hunt" against him.
"He leaked classified information in order to try and get a special counsel," Mr Trump said of Mr Comey in a phone interview with Fox's programme 'Fox and Friends' yesterday.
"He is guilty of crimes and if we had a Justice Department that was doing its job instead of spending $8m (€6.6m) trying to find..."
"It's your Justice Department!" a Fox host said, interrupting Mr Trump.
"You're right," the president responded before lashing out at the department, which appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign was involved.
Mr Trump said he has tried to keep a hands-off approach to the department during the Mueller probe, but that he may change his mind.
"They have a witch hunt against the president of the United States going on," Mr Trump said. "I've taken the position - and I don't have to take this position and maybe I'll change - that I will not be involved with the Justice Department. I will wait until this is over. It's a total - it's all lies and it's a horrible thing that's going on.
"I'm very disappointed in my Justice Department," he said.
Asked if he'd sit down with Mueller's team, Mr Trump said he would be willing to if he was able, although he said that some of the people involved are "conflicted".
"If you take a look, they're so conflicted. The people that are doing the investigation - you have 13 people that are Democrats. You have Hillary Clinton people, you have people who have worked on Hillary Clinton's foundation,'' Mr Trump said. "I love the FBI, the FBI loves me. But the top people in the FBI, headed by Comey, were crooked."
Mr Trump had praised Mr Comey for his honourable conduct during the 2016 campaign, solicited his loyalty, and asked him to let go of an investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to memos turned over to House lawmakers last week that Mr Comey wrote to document private conversations between the two.
After the contents of the memos were released, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter that they "show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION."
Yesterday, Mr Trump took issue with Mr Comey for saying in his memos that during a meeting they had Mr Trump said he never spent the night in Moscow when his Miss Universe pageant was held there in 2013. Mr Comey recounted in the memos that Mr Trump made the assertion to dispute some of the salacious and unverified information contained in a British spy's dossier about whether the Russians had material to use to blackmail Mr Trump.
"He said I didn't stay there a night," Mr Trump told the Fox interviewers, adding that he went to Russia "for a day or so". "I never said I left immediately."
Mr Trump and Mr Comey have traded shots since the days before the release of the former lawman's book, 'A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership'.
Mr Trump called Mr Comey a "slimeball" and accused him of improperly leaking information. Last week, the president called the book "third-rate" and lamented that Mr Flynn's life was destroyed while "Shadey James Comey" can make lots of money.
Donald ‘too busy’ to buy birthday gift for Melania
Donald Trump has revealed he has been too busy to buy his wife Melania a birthday present.
Mr Trump wished his wife, who turned 48 yesterday, a happy birthday during a phone call to Fox News, his favourite TV network.
But asked what he had given Mrs Trump, he joked: “Well I better not get into that because I may get in trouble. Maybe I didn’t get her
so much. I got her a beautiful card and beautiful flowers. You know, I’m very busy to be running out looking for presents, okay ?”
The US president went on to praise his wife for overseeing the first state dinner of his presidency, which has been seen as her biggest test yet as First Lady.
“She did a fantastic job with France,” Mr Trump told Fox News.
“I tell you what, the people of France are just, were spellbound by what happened, with their great president who just left, Emmanuel. And he is a wonderful guy.”
The warm praise was not reserved entirely for the First Lady – Mr Trump also rated his own presidency an ‘A-plus’, saying: “Nobody has done what I’ve been able to do.”