White House fires back at James Comey after he accuses Republicans of being spineless

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesFormer FBI Director James Comey.
  • The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, issued a blistering statement Monday accusing former FBI Director James Comey of “tremendous corruption.”
  • Earlier Monday, Comey gave a roughly six-hour closed-door interview with the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.
  • Comey criticised Republican lawmakers for not standing up to President Donald Trump’s treatment of the FBI.

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, issued a blistering statement accusing former FBI Director James Comey of “tremendous corruption” after he criticised Republican lawmakers for not standing up to President Donald Trump’s treatment of the FBI.

“Republicans should stand up to Comey and his tremendous corruption – from the fake Hillary Clinton investigation, to lying and leaking, to FISA abuse, and a list too long to name,” Sanders said in a tweet on Monday night. “The President did the country a service by firing him and exposing him for the shameless fraud he is.”

Earlier Monday, Comey gave a roughly six-hour closed-door interview with the House Judiciary and Oversight committees – the second such hearing Comey is publicly known to have attended this month.

Comey, who was asked questions about the FBI’s investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and Hillary Clinton’s emails, appeared to be distraught by Trump’s repeated attacks on the agency Comey led until his abrupt firing in May 2017.

“Somebody has to stand up and speak for the FBI,” Comey told reporters after his testimony. “People who know better, including Republican members of this body, have to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, not be cowed by mean tweets or fear of their base. There is a truth and they’re not telling it. Their silence is shameful.”

“The FBI’s reputation has taken a big hit because the president of the United States has lied about it constantly,” he added.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails and through his attorneys has called for Comey to be investigated.

Clinton was investigated for using a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. The FBI concluded twice that it would not pursue criminal charges against Clinton.

A Justice Department investigation on Comey’s handling of Clinton’s email found that he had violated norms and damaged the department’s reputation after announcing he was pursuing a new lead in connection to the investigation days before the 2016 presidential election. But the inspector general also concluded that his role in the investigation was not influenced by political bias.

Comey’s appearance before Congress has touched a nerve among Republicans. Some members of the party have continued to express frustration about the Russia investigation and have raised doubts about Comey’s motivations.

Democrats have accused Republicans of staging a last-ditch effort to score political points before Democrats retake the House in 2019.

“I find it frustrating to be here answering questions about things that are far less important than the values this country is built upon,” Comey said after the hearing.

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