FBI director Comey: 'We're not on anybody's side, ever'

In a speech, FBI director James Comey said his bureau had to be above politics.

ByABC News
March 30, 2017, 4:57 AM

— -- FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday affirmed the independence of his agency, saying he didn't care whose "political ox is gored by our work."

Speaking at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance Leadership dinner, Comey said if the FBI were ever to "start to think about who will be affected in what way by our decisions in a political sense, we're done."

The crux of his speech was focused on the nature of law enforcement and intelligence, but Comey was invariably asked questions about his role in leading investigations into both Hillary Clinton's email scandal and the Trump administration's alleged Russia ties.

"We are the same today as we were yesterday, we'll be the same tomorrow," Comey said about how the bureau operated, declining to comment on any specific cases or ongoing probes. "We are 'what are the facts?,' we really don’t care whose political ox is gored by our work and that is the passion at the heart of the FBI."

Comey stressed that "we’re not on anybody’s side, ever.”

At the same time, Comey acknowledged that ideological polarization in Washington means that the FBI understands that its work will be seized upon by politicians.

"Now we’re not fools," he said. "I know that when I make a hard decision, a storm is going to follow, but honestly I don’t care."

He added, "Now the painful part is we confuse people and the reason we confuse people is most people see the world differently than we do, especially in a hyper-partisan environment."

ABC News' Geneva Sands contributed to this report.