Speaking in the East Room of the White House a day after the Senate voted to acquit him on two articles of impeachment, Trump tore into Comey, calling him “a sleazebag,” and said he was “caught in the act.”
“Had I not fired James Comey, who was a disaster, by the way, it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now,” Trump said. “We caught him in the act. Dirty cops. Bad people.”
Trump added: “If this happened to President Obama, a lot of people would have been in jail for a long time already.”
Comey, who came under fire during his tenure as FBI director for his handling of the Clinton email probe and for investigating whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia, was fired by Trump in May of 2017. The president told Comey in a brief letter at the time that he could not “effectively lead” the bureau and called for “new leadership that restores public trust and confidence” in law enforcement.
More recently, an inspector general report last August found that Comey had violated FBI policies by drafting, leaking and retaining memos documenting private discussions with Trump.
The 83-page document outlined a series of violations, including that he broke FBI policies and the bureau’s employment agreement “by providing one of the unclassified memos that contained official FBI information, including sensitive investigative information, to his friend with instructions for the friend to share the contents of the memo with a reporter.”
Further, the IG determined that Comey kept copies of four memos (out of the total seven he drafted) in a personal safe at home after his removal as director — and in doing so “violated FBI policies and his FBI Employment Agreement by failing to notify the FBI that he had retained them.”
The IG said Comey again violated the rules “by providing copies … of the four memos he had kept in his home to his three private attorneys without FBI authorization,” and by failing to alert the FBI once he learned one of the memos contained sections later deemed classified at the confidential level.
Comey admitted to Congress during testimony in June 2017 that, after he was fired, he purposefully leaked several memos through an intermediary to ensure that a special counsel would be appointed. Comey specifically leaked his memos to a friend, Columbia Law School Professor Daniel Richman, who now serves as Comey’s legal counsel. Richman ultimately leaked the contents of the memo to The New York Times.
Public outrage centered on the news that Comey wrote in one of his memos that Trump had told him, “I hope you can let this go,” amid reports that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI and senior White House officials about his contacts with Russia’s government.
Flynn recently withdrew his guilty plea for one count of lying to the FBI in the White House.
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.