Nearly 24 hours after the release of the Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation, President Trump tweeted his reaction, calling the blistering report a “total disaster” for former FBI Director James Comey and his “minions.”
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“FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who headed the Clinton and Russia investigations, texted to his lover Lisa Page, in the IG Report, that “we’ll stop” candidate Trump from becoming President,” Trump fired off on Twitter Friday, adding, “Doesn’t get any lower than that!”
The IG Report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI. 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2018
The nearly 500-page report released Thursday was especially harsh on senior FBI agent Peter Strzok, who exchanged a trove of text messages with an FBI colleague in the months before the presidential election. In one August 2016 text message, Strzok – as he was leading the Clinton probe and the FBI investigation of Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election – said he and his team would "stop" Trump from becoming president if necessary.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz said such statements from Strzok and others helped create a "cloud" over the FBI, and Horowitz said he could not discount that political bias played a role in at least one of Strzok's missteps during the Clinton case.
In response, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the FBI will review the inspector generals’ findings and will take any appropriate action to hold people accountable.
While the president remained mum on the report’s findings, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders offered the first reaction.
“It reaffirmed the president’s suspicions about Comey’s conduct and the political bias among some of the members of the FBI,” Sanders said in a press briefing Thursday.
Trump continued on Twitter Friday, saying, Comey will “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,” the president wrote, justifying his firing of Comey.
The report took Comey to task for publicly announcing in July 2016 that Clinton would not face charges, even as he accused her of mishandling classified information. The report also rebuked Comey for disclosing just days before the election that the FBI was reopening the Clinton case to review hundreds of thousands of newly-discovered emails -- emails that turned out to be of little consequence.
Comey, however, said he acted appropriately in his handling of the Clinton email investigation.
“Nothing in the inspector general’s report makes me think we did the wrong thing,” Comey wrote in an op-ed published Friday by the The New York Times.
He added, “I do not agree with all of the inspect general’s conclusions, but I respect the work of his office and salute its professionalism.”