President Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning in order to denounce former FBI Director James Comey and take an apparent swipe at his own Justice Department.
Trump was reacting to the release of FBI documents that seem to confirm that Comey, whom Trump controversially fired in May, began drafting a statement about the outcome of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server months before any conclusion was reached.
“Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete,” Trump tweeted. “Many people not interviewed, including Clinton herself. Comey stated under oath that he didn’t do this-obviously a fix? Where is Justice Dept?”
“As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!” he later added.
In a release titled “Drafts of Director Comey’s July 5, 2016 Statement Regarding Email Server,” the FBI posted an email Comey sent to colleagues May 2, 2016. The body of that email has been redacted, but two weeks later, on May 16, 2016, Comey’s chief of staff forwarded it to several more people asking them to “please send me any comments on this statement” for “discussion with the Director at a later date.”
In the summer 2016 speech, Comey announced that he was not recommending charges against either Clinton or her aides over her exclusive use of a private email system as secretary of state. Comey nevertheless accused Clinton of being reckless with classified information.
But additional emails were later discovered as part of the FBI’s investigation into former Rep. Anthony Weiner, then the husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, as part of a federal investigation into Weiner sending lewd material to an underage girl.
Comey announced shortly before the election that he had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” that would need to be reviewed by investigators. The Comey announcement was widely covered, and Clinton has since said it was one of the decisive factors in her loss. Comey later declared that the new emails didn’t change his view that neither Clinton nor her aides should face charges.
When Trump fired Comey in May of this year, the White House suggested that the reason was Comey being overly harsh in his public statements about Clinton. Trump undermined that reasoning when he said in an interview he had already decided to fire the “showboat” Comey before the Justice Department issued its recommendation that he do so.
Comey said he believed that the firing was actually related to the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump campaign associates colluded with the Russian government to influence the election. Trump has repeatedly railed against the investigation, and he reportedly told Russian diplomats in the Oval Office that firing Comey relieved “great pressure.”
A special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, is now overseeing the Russia investigation.
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