In Sunday morning tweets, President Donald Trump attacked the FBI’s credibility, denied anew that he asked former director James Comey to halt an investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn, and returned to one of his favorite targets — Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
“After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters — worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness,” Trump tweeted.
In another tweet, the president repeated his earlier denial that he requested Comey end his probe into Flynn.
“I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn,” he tweeted pre-dawn. “Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!”
Comey, fired in May by Trump, testified before a congressional panel in June that the president, during a one-on-one Oval Office meeting, pressured him to end his Flynn investigation.
The retired Army lieutenant general pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts during the transition with Sergey Kislyak, then Russian ambassador to the United States.
Flynn is cooperating in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
In another tweet, Trump referenced a Fox News report about an “anti-Trump FBI agent” leading the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.
The Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General is looking into the work of Peter Strzok, a former FBI deputy director for counterintelligence, in the Clinton probe, Fox News reported. Strzok was dropped from Mueller’s staff for exchanging anti-Trump texts with a colleague, Fox News reported.
The Twitter posts came a day after Trump, in a tweet, appeared to acknowledge that when he fired Flynn in February, he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI.
Trump tweeted Saturday: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
The president’s personal attorney, John Dowd, composed that tweet, several news outlets reported. Dowd also told ABC News that he drafted it but called it “sloppy.”
On Sunday TV talk shows, Capitol Hill Democrats questioned what the president knew — and when.
“The president knew he [Flynn] had lied to the FBI, which means that when he talked to the FBI director and asked him effectively drop this case, he knew that Flynn had committed a federal crime,” House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told ABC News’ “This Week.”
“I believe FBI Director Comey,” Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) told CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding, “This president has been obsessed with this investigation, always saying there’s nothing there, but each week, another shoe drops.”
Committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was more pointed. “I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice,” she told NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
Trump’s current national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said the administration still is working as it should, despite the guilty plea of Flynn and news reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could soon step down.
“No, I don’t think our allies need any reassurance,” McMaster said on “Fox News Sunday.” “In fact, what we’re doing is continuing to work with them on all the key challenges we face today — from North Korea to the defeat of ISIS across the Greater Middle East — the ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, too.”