President Trump: Comey is 'criminal,' and IG report 'totally exonerates me'

Key Points
  • President Trump bashes former FBI Director James Comey as the "ringleader" of a "den of thieves."
  • Asked whether he would push for Comey's prosecution, the president demurs.
Inspector general report 'totally exonerates me,' Trump says

President Donald Trump claimed Friday that former FBI Director James Comey's actions were "criminal."

He also said the Justice Department inspector general report examining the Clinton email probe came to the wrong conclusion when it said the FBI acted without political bias against him.

"The end result was wrong. I mean, there was total bias," he told "Fox and Friends" from the White House North Lawn.

He said it "totally exonerates me," adding that it showed that Comey was the "ringleader" of a "den of thieves."

Trump's remarks follow Thursday's release of the DOJ's internal review. The inspector general found that Comey was insubordinate in his handling of the Clinton email investigation during the 2016 presidential election. Trump fired Comey in May 2017.

Friday's comments echo an April post on Twitter in which the president said that "McCabe was totally controlled by Comey - McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!"


Trump fired former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, who had worked in government for decades, hours before his planned retirement in March. McCabe is now suing the Justice Department over his termination.

"They all work for Comey, and Comey knew what was going on," Trump said Friday.

Trump's criticism of McCabe centered on McCabe's perceived ties to Hillary Clinton. McCabe's wife, Jill McCabe, received campaign contributions from Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe during her failed 2015 Virginia state senate bid.

"The fact that McAuliffe supported Dr. McCabe's campaign, and was a known associate of Hillary Clinton, did not create any connection between the Clinton email investigation and Dr. McCabe's financial interests," the inspector general report concluded.

Trump insisted the report's conclusion, that top FBI officials showed no political bias against him, was wrong. "The end result was wrong. I mean, there was total bias," he said.

He pointed to text messages sent by investigators working on the Clinton email probe. One investigator texted that "We'll stop" Trump from becoming president, according to the inspector general report.

"If you look at the head investigator saying 'we have to stop Trump from becoming president,' well Trump became president," Trump said Friday.

Asked whether he would push for Comey's prosecution, the president demurred. He said he would "never want to get involved in that," but asserted that "what [Comey] did was criminal, what he did was a terrible thing to the people."

"Should he be locked up? Let somebody make a determination," Trump said.

In an op-ed in The New York Times on Thursday, Comey wrote that "even in hindsight I think we chose the course most consistent with institutional values."

"[N]othing in the inspector general's report makes me think we did the wrong thing," he wrote.

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James Comey used his Gmail for FBI business