President Trump lashed out on Saturday following a New York Times report that the FBI had opened a probe in 2017 to determine if the president had been working, knowingly or unknowingly, on behalf of Russia.
In a series of tweets Saturday morning, Trump said that the agency had opened a probe “for no reason and with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze.” He termed former leaders of the agency “corrupt.”
Trump went on to describe the Federal Bureau of Investigation as having been “in complete turmoil” under Comey, whom he called a “Crooked Cop.”
Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin? James Comey, a total sleaze!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2019
...Funny thing about James Comey. Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike. After the rigged & botched Crooked Hillary investigation, where she was interviewed on July 4th Weekend, not recorded or sworn in, and where she said she didn?t know anything (a lie),....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2019
....the FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey?s poor leadership and the way he handled the Clinton mess (not to mention his usurpation of powers from the Justice Department). My firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2019
.....who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller, & the 13 Angry Democrats - leaking machines who have NO interest in going after the Real Collusion (and much more) by Crooked Hillary Clinton, her Campaign, and the Democratic National Committee. Just Watch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2019
I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2019
Lyin? James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter S and his lover, agent Lisa Page, & more, all disgraced and/or fired and caught in the act. These are just some of the losers that tried to do a number on your President. Part of the Witch Hunt. Remember the ?insurance policy?? This is it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2019
Tweeting in response, Comey quoted former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”
?I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.? ? FDR— James Comey (@Comey) January 12, 2019
The president also slammed familiar targets including special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“The mere hint — if true — that the FBI had suspicions about Trump being a Russian agent is mind-boggling,” Greg Valliere, chief global strategist for Horizon Investments, said in a telephone interview. “You have to think that Trump is eager to keep the government shutdown in the limelight, because he knows the imminent Mueller report will be explosive.”
Later Saturday, Trump supplemented the tweets by telephoning in to Fox News Channel’s ‘‘Justice with Judge Jeanine’’ Pirro to continue his public relations blitz for the wall. Pirro pressed Trump on why he had yet to declare a national emergency. He said he’s giving Congress a chance to ‘‘act responsibly.’’
Trump also said he has ‘‘no idea’’ whether he can get a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who opposes spending money on an ‘‘ineffective, wasteful wall.’’
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in an interview that will air Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” termed the notion that Trump is a national security threat “absolutely ludicrous.”
“The idea that’s contained in the New York Times story that President Trump was a threat to American national security is — is silly on its face and not worthy of a response,” Pompeo said in a transcript provided by the network.
The federal government is now into the fourth week of a partial shutdown with no clear end in sight over Trump’s demand for funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border. Trump has suggested over the past week that he may declare a national emergency and redirect other funds to begun building the wall, but on Friday said he wasn’t rushing to use that option.
The New York Times reported late Friday that in the days after Trump fired Comey as FBI director in May 2017, the US began investigating whether the president had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests. The paper cited law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation whom it didn’t identify.
US counterintelligence investigators attempted to assess whether Trump’s actions constituted a possible threat to national security, and agents also tried to determine whether Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unknowingly come under Moscow’s influence, the Times reported.
Trump returned to Twitter with a fifth tweet, describing various former FBI officials as “just some of the losers that tried to do a number on your President.”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.