- President Donald Trump on Friday said he showed “good instincts” by firing James Comey as FBI director.
- A highly anticipated report from the Justice Department’s inspector general released Thursday concluded that Comey showed bad judgment by reopening Hillary Clinton’s email case a month before the 2016 election.
- At the time, Trump praised the move.
- Trump also slammed FBI officials who exchanged anti-Trump texts, some of which were made public for the first time in the inspector general’s report.
- While the report said Comey showed bad judgment, it also suggested he hurt Clinton more than Trump.
President Donald Trump on Friday said he showed “good instincts” by firing James Comey as FBI director. His comments came after a highly anticipated report released Thursday by the Department of Justice’s inspector general said Comey showed bad judgment by reopening Hillary Clinton’s email case a month before the 2016 election.
Trump also slammed two FBI officials who were found to have exchanged texts that disparaged him, some of which were made public for the first time in the report.
Trump has frequently criticised Comey, whom he fired in May 2017. The firing helped lead to the appointment of a special counsel in the Russia investigation, which Comey had been leading. Comey has since emerged as a vocal critic of Trump and a proponent of what he calls ethical leadership.
Trump found new ammunition to resume his attacks after the inspector general’s report concluded that Comey made a “serious error of judgment” by announcing that he was renewing the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server, a move Clinton has argued swung the election in Trump’s favour.
“The IG Report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI,” Trump tweeted Friday. “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. Christopher Wray will bring it proudly back!”
But while the report said Comey showed bad judgment in relitigating Clinton’s case so close to the election, that move was favourable to Trump, not Clinton, and works against Trump’s claim of political bias against him at the top of the FBI.
In fact, Trump had praised Comey’s move to investigate Clinton at the time. Comey addressed the report on Twitter on Thursday.
I respect the DOJ IG office, which is why I urged them to do this review. The conclusions are reasonable, even though I disagree with some. People of good faith can see an unprecedented situation differently. I pray no Director faces it again. Thanks to IG’s people for hard work.
— James Comey (@Comey) June 14, 2018
‘We’ll stop it’
The report also contained a text exchange between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two FBI staff members in a relationship who exchanged politically charged messages leading up to the election.
In August 2016, Page wrote to Strzok requesting confirmation that Trump was “not ever going to become president, right? Right!”
Strzok replied: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
That exchange could be a boon to Trump, who has derided investigations into his business and conduct in office as politically motivated witch hunts. Still, the report found the FBI’s actions did not reflect any bias suggested in those texts.
“The report does identify errors of judgment, violations of, or even disregard for policy and decisions that at the very least, with the benefit of hindsight, were not the best choices,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said of the report. “We need to hold ourselves accountable.”
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