Former FBI Director James Comey leveled harsh criticism against President Trump and congressional Republicans on Monday, and said it was “shameful” that the legislators remain silent about Trump’s attacks against the agency.
“So another day of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Steele dossier. This, while the president of the United States is lying about the FBI, attacking the FBI and attacking the rule of law in this country,” Comey told reporters after a closed-door session today with the House Judiciary and Oversight committees. “How does that make any sense at all? Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matters, the rule of law matters and the truth matters. Where are those Republicans today? At some point someone has to stand up, and in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement, but stand up and speak the truth.”
It was Comey’s second round of testimony since appearing in front of the committees on Dec. 9. The session was the last chance for Republicans to investigate Clinton’s emails for the foreseeable future, as a Democratic majority will take over in the lower chamber next month.
Comey said that Trump’s Sunday tweet against his former attorney Michael Cohen undermines the rule of law. “Remember, Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’ after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started. They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE! Why didn’t they break into the DNC to get the Server, or Crooked’s office?” Trump tweeted.
Cohen was sentenced last week to three years in prison for lying to the FBI over making hush-money payments to women accused of having affairs with Trump before his election. Federal agents, armed with search warrants, raided his home and office in April.
“This is the president of the United States calling a witness who has cooperated with his own Justice Department a rat,” Comey said. “Say that again to yourself at home and remind yourself where we have ended up. This is not about Republicans and Democrats. This is about what does it mean to be an American. What are the things that we care about above our policy disputes, which are important. There’s a set of values that represent the glue of this country and they are under attack because of things just like that. We have to stop being numb to it. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you need to stand on your feet, overcome your shame and say something.”
Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, claiming the move was for his handling of the investigation into the email server of then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Since his firing, the former director has repeatedly criticized the president’s responses to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling, testified numerous times before Congress and written a best-selling book about his career and interactions with the president.
“We had to make very serious decisions in 2016. I knew we were going to get hurt by it,” Comey said. “The question was how do we reduce the damage. What I’m doing now is not what I love to do. I’d rather not be talking to you all, but somebody has to speak up for the FBI and the rule of law, and I hope there’s a whole lot more somebodies out there than just me.”