Trump Makes False Statements About DOJ A.G. Report
Donald Trump has falsely claimed a report issued on Thursday by a Department of Justice watchdog “totally exonerates” him of allegations of collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice.
The president also claimed to have the support of “the real FBI. Not the scum on top.”
Trump was responding to the inspector general’s review of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state – not alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Nonetheless he attempted to conflate the two, telling reporters at the White House: “I think the report yesterday, maybe more importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me. There was no collusion, there was no obstruction, and if you read the report you’ll see that.”
Trump added: “What you’ll really see is you’ll see bias against me and millions and tens of millions of my followers that is really a disgrace and yet, if you look at the FBI, and you went in and polled the FBI, the real FBI, those guys love me and I love them.”
The investigation of Russian election interference and links between Trump aides and Moscow by special counsel Robert Mueller has, Trump claimed, been “totally discredited”.
The DoJ inspector general’s report found no evidence that the former FBI director James Comey was motivated by political bias and did not fault his decision that Clinton should not face prosecution. It did conclude that he was “insubordinate” in failing to follow protocol and that he himself used a personal email account to conduct official business.
FBI agents were also criticised for making politically charged remarks in text messages. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were having an affair at the time, showed a “willingness to take official action to impact” Trump’s election chances, the report said.
Trump rejected the inspector general’s conclusion that there was no political bias in the FBI’s actions. “The end result was wrong,” he said. “There was total bias. That was the most biased set of circumstances I’ve ever seen in my life. Comey was the ringleader of this whole, you know, den of thieves. It was a den of thieves.”
Asked if Comey should be jailed, the president said: “What [Comey] did was criminal. What he did was a terrible thing to the people. What he did was so bad in terms of our constitution, in terms of the wellbeing of our country. What he did was horrible. Should he be locked up? Let somebody make the determination.”
Trump held the impromptu question-and-answer session after appearing on Fox & Friends, the reverently pro-Trump morning show which conducted its broadcast from the North Lawn of the White House.
In a basic and blatant mischaracterisation of the report, Trump said it had shown the FBI was biased against him “at the top level” and was “plotting against my election”. He added: “I’m actually proud because I beat the Clinton dynasty, I beat the Bush dynasty. Now, I guess, hopefully I’m in the process of beating very dishonest intelligence.”
Discussing his supporters, Trump told Fox: “I have the real FBI. Not the scum on top, not Comey and that group of people.” He then repeated a threat to “get involved” with the Department of Justice, a possible move which, though never defined, has prompted alarm among constitutional experts.