Former FBI Director James Comey, a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s criticism, said in an op-ed published Tuesday that Trump deliberately told “dumb lies” in an effort to discredit key institutions like the FBI and attack investigations into his 2016 campaign.
In his piece for The Washington Post, Comey points to certain findings about Russian election interference and the involvement of Trump campaign advisers with such efforts, which the President continues to deny despite all the evidence at his disposal.
Comey further stresses that now more than ever it is of vital importance not to ignore Trump’s claims, which he says millions believe even though, he maintains, they are “lies.”
Comey’s comments come at a time when Attorney General William Barr has begun reviewing the beginning of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and President Trump has instructed intelligence agencies to assist Barr in it.
The former FBI director stresses in his op-ed that the bureau conducted its investigation “carefully, professionally and discreetly” as it does with any other probe within its scope, adding that when the attorney general’s review is over it will only have found that “the work was done appropriately and focused only on discerning the truth of very serious allegations.”
He further disputes Trump’s claims that there was “spying” and “treason” by Clinton loyalists determined to prevent him from becoming president.
“We investigated. We didn’t gather information about the campaign’s strategy. We didn’t ‘spy’ on anyone’s campaign. We investigated to see whether it was true that Americans associated with the campaign had taken the Russians up on any offer of help,” Comey writes. “By late October, the investigators thought they had probable cause to get a federal court order to conduct electronic surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser named Carter Page.”
Comey then goes on to detail how the FBI’s investigations and disclosures to Congress only hurt Hillary Clinton, rather than Trump, pointing out several times that the conspiracy allegation made by Trump is not rooted in reality.
He concludes by writing, “go ahead, investigate the investigators, if you must. When those investigations are over, you will find the work was done appropriately and focused only on discerning the truth of very serious allegations. 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.”