President Donald Trump spent part of his early Sunday morning criticizing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, its handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server and its former director, James Comey.
He followed up on news that special counsel Robert Mueller had removed agent Peter Strzok from the investigation after his partisan text messages in favor of Clinton were found. Strzok worked on the probe into Clinton’s servers, prompting Trump to tweet, “Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI ‘agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.’ Led Clinton Email probe.
@foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge.”
“Report: ‘ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE’ Now it all starts to make sense,” he added.
Trump doubled-down, calling the probe “phony and dishonest.” He also said the agency’s reputation was in “Tatters – worst in History” under the direction of Comey.
At another time in the morning, Trump directed his attention to ABC News, insinuating that the network should be sued for damages from “bad reporting.”
A few days prior to the tweet, ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross was suspended for four weeks after incorrectly reporting that as a presidential candidate, Trump directed former national security adviser Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russian government.
The FBI’s reputation has already come into question this year by another source: the former director himself.
During a congressional hearing in May, Comey explained his decision to keep information about the probe into Clinton’s server away from then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Lynch met with former President Bill Clinton on a tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport just days before an important FBI meeting with his wife. Lynch said the pair spoke of their grandchildren but later admitted regret for the optics of the meeting.
Comey criticized the meeting during the congressional hearing, fearing the ramifications it could have, regardless of what was actually discussed.
Comey worried that the Department of Justice “could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system.” That’s when he made the decision to tell Lynch he was scheduling a key press conference and refused to give her any further details.
Trump fired Comey shortly after the hearing, citing concerns about his handling of the investigation into Clinton’s email server investigation. Comey reportedly didn’t know about the news until he saw it on a television in an FBI office based in Los Angeles.
Both the timing of the announcement and Trump’s reasoning raised questions, considering Trump was vocal in his support of Comey’s actions while on the campaign trail.
In response, the administration later said that Trump considered Comey’s firing for several months before making the final decision.