Former FBI director James Comey on Tuesday slammed President Donald Trump for perpetuating what he called “dumb lies” about the agency and the origins of the Russia investigation.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Comey wrote:
“There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup. Those are lies, and dumb lies at that. There were just good people trying to figure out what was true, under unprecedented circumstances.”
Comey also pushed back against Trump’s claim that FBI agents were sympathetic to Hillary Clinton, calling the president a liar who doesn’t care about the consequences of his actions.
Trump fired Comey in May 2017 in the hopes of stymieing investigations into his ties with Russia. That dismissal led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller — himself a former FBI director — to look into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, as well as possible obstruction of justice by the president.
“We must call out his lies that the FBI was corrupt and committed treason, that we spied on the Trump campaign, and tried to defeat Donald Trump,” Comey wrote. “We must constantly return to the stubborn facts.”
Comey was responding to Trump’s assertion that the FBI spied on his campaign as part of a conspiracy to sabotage his 2016 candidacy. Attorney General William Barr told Congress during a hearing in April that he believes “spying did occur” by U.S. intelligence figures against Trump in the lead-up to Election Day.
Last week, Trump authorized to declassify intelligence regarding the investigation in a move that garnered fierce criticism from Democrats.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, accused the two of conspiring to “weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies.”
Comey said that the 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign came after a legitimate tip and was the nature of the FBI’s work.
“We didn’t know what was true,” he wrote. “Maybe there was nothing to it, or maybe Americans were actively conspiring with the Russians. To find out, the FBI would live up to its name and investigate.”