Former FBI director James Comey attacked President Trump and Attorney General William Barr on Monday after the publication of the Department of Justice inspector general’s report on the FBI’s investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign.
Comey was fired by President Trump in 2017, but Trump and his administration gave conflicting reasons for the firing. Comey has been accused by conservatives of mishandling the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s controversial use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
“The Russia investigation was complicated — not surprisingly, the inspector general found mistakes, 17 of them, things the FBI should have done differently, or better,” Comey wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post. “That’s always unfortunate, but human beings make mistakes.”
IG Michael Horowitz concluded that the FBI made “significant errors” in its application for a FISA warrant to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page, and other errors in its investigation into campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and former national-security adviser Michael Flynn.
The FBI investigation into the Trump campaign began after Papadopoulos allegedly bragged to Australian intelligence that the campaign had obtained dirt on rival Hillary Clinton from Russian operatives. Trump and allies have denounced the investigation as a partisan “witch hunt.”
“Those who smeared the FBI are due for an accounting,” Comey wrote. “In particular, Attorney General William P. Barr owes . . . the American people, an acknowledgment of the truth.”
Barr slammed the FBI after the publication of the IG report.
“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said in a statement.
U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is leading a wider investigation into the FBI’s Trump-campaign probe, said in a statement that his office did not concur with IG Horowitz’s conclusions.
“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Durham wrote.