Thursday 23 May 2019

Report a 'total disaster' for Comey and the FBI, says Trump

FBI director Christopher A Wray. Photo: Getty Images
FBI director Christopher A Wray. Photo: Getty Images

John Wagner

US President Donald Trump yesterday called a new report by the Justice Department "a total disaster" for both former FBI director James Comey and the institution he once led and highlighted one of its more damaging revelations in a series of morning tweets.

Mr Trump's comments on Twitter represented his first public statements on the report released on Thursday by the department's inspector general, which was critical of several key FBI figures in the Hillary Clinton email probe.

"The IG Report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI," Mr Trump wrote. "Comey will now officially go down as the worst leader, by far, in the history of the FBI. I did a great service to the people in firing him. Good Instincts."

Mr Trump said that Mr Comey's replacement, Christopher A Wray, "will bring it proudly back!"

While castigating the FBI, Mr Trump stopped well short of the comments of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who on Thursday called on top Justice Department officials to "redeem themselves" by ending the investigation now being led by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible co-ordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016.

In a television appearance on Thursday night, Mr Giuliani called for the jailing of an FBI agent, Peter Strzok, by the end of next week.

In one of his tweets, Mr Trump also took aim at Mr Strzok, a key figure in both the Clinton email and Russia probes, who was criticised in the new report for having sent a text during the 2016 campaign saying that "we'll stop" Mr Trump from making it to the White House.

"Doesn't get any lower than that!" Mr Trump tweeted.

The inspector general did not find evidence supporting assertions by the president and his allies that political bias inside the FBI had rigged the case to clear Ms Clinton.

However, the report provided new fodder for Mr Trump to argue that the FBI is treating him unfairly as investigators probe possible co-ordination between Russia and his campaign.

The report was particularly critical of Mr Strzok, the lead agent in the Clinton probe, saying he showed anti-Trump bias that could have affected his thinking on the case during the immediate run-up to the 2016 election.

Included in the report was a previously undisclosed exchange of text messages between Mr Strzok and an FBI lawyer in August 2016.

"[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" the lawyer, Lisa Page, wrote to Mr Strzok.

"No. No he won't. We'll stop it," Mr Strzok responded. Ms Page and Mr Strzok were romantically involved and used their work phones to engage in long-running text discussions of various work and personal topics, according to people familiar with the case. (© Washington Post)

Irish Independent

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