WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump took on James Comey again Monday, alleging the former FBI director of “committed many crimes” during his tenure.
The president in his first tweet since Comey called Trump “morally unfit” to serve in office and “a serial liar” in a televised interview that aired Sunday night, took aim at Comey’s handling of the 2016 Hillary Clinton email server investigation.
Trump accused Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and others in the bureau of committing crimes, but did not detail the nature of their alleged crimes.
“Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers,” Trump tweeted. “Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!”
Trump’s accusation that Comey “lied in Congress to Senator G” appears to be referring to Sens. Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) who found transcripts in August showing that Comey had drafted a statement rejecting charges be filed against Clinton, about two months before Clinton ever spoke with FBI investigators.
Comey at a hearing before House lawmakers in September denied the FBI had reached a decision on charges before the conclusion of the Clinton probe.
“If colleagues of ours believe I am lying about when I made this decision, please urge them to contact me privately so we can have a conversation about this,” Comey told lawmakers at the time. “All I can do is tell you again, the decision was made after that because I didn’t know what was going to happen in that interview.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as the president traveled to Miami on Monday, said the president had watched “bits and pieces” of the “20/20” interview, but not the “entire thing.”
Asked about the president’s reaction to the interview, Sanders said Trump, who has railed against Comey as a “leaker and a liar” for months, had “pretty much the same feelings.”
“Comey is a self-admitted leaker,” Sanders said. “Been proven to be dishonest, and I think that his credibility is really at hand, and it’s quite interesting that he would question someone else’s when he has such a lack of credibility himself.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” derided Comey’s interview on the network and his forthcoming tell-all “A Higher Loyalty,” casting Comey as a disgruntled fired employee, hungry for power and access.
“This man, Jim Comey, loves to be within the proximity of power. He loves having dinner alone with the president. If he hadn’t, he should’ve invited someone or asked who else was going to be there,” Conway said. “He loved being alone in the Oval Office. He wanted a piece of it. He loved being in the proximity of power until he got fired and then wrote a book.”
Comey, in an interview with USA Today published Monday, part of a media blitz to promote the book ahead of its Tuesday release, continued to describe the president as unfit to serve. He said he believed it was possible that Trump was vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians, saying his suspicions were raised by the president’s reluctance to speak critically of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“At least in my experience, he won’t criticize Vladimir Putin even in private,” Comey said. “I can understand why a president . . . might not want to criticize publicly another leader, but privately? Sitting with the person in charge of countering the Russian threat in the United States? Privately not being willing to do that? That always struck me.”