President Trump began his Thursday remarks on his impeachment acquittal by criticizing the “dirty cops” and “bad people” who investigated his 2016 campaign for alleged Russian collusion, and claimed he would have been already removed from office if he had not removed former FBI director James Comey.
“A tremendous thing was done over the last couple of months, but really if you go back to it, over the last number of years — we had the witch hunt, that started from the day we came down the elevator, myself and our future first lady,” Trump declared
The president then explained how impeachment was a continuation of the same attempt, saying “it never really stopped.”
“We’ve been going through this now for over three years,” Trump stated. “It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was leakers, and liars, and it should never ever happen to another president ever.”
Trump also insinuated that Comey had been directly involved in attempting to remove him. Reports broke last month that Comey was being investigated by the Department of Justice for possible leaks of classified information.
“It was a disgrace — 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 claimed. “We caught them in the act, dirty cops, bad people. If this happened to President Obama, lot of people would’ve been in jail for a long time already — many, many years.”
Comey has attempted to distance himself from a December report drafted by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which detailed how the FBI made “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in its FISA application to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page.
Horowitz explained how “FBI officials at every level” — including Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe — presented Christopher Steele’s dossier as a reliable source to the FISA court, despite concerns from CIA officials, who “believed that the Steele election reporting was not completely vetted” and viewed the dossier as a “internet rumor.”
Comey said in an interview after the Horowitz report that the errors amounted to “sloppiness” and that he “didn’t know the particulars of the investigation,” but attorney general William Barr disagreed, saying such a claim was “simply not true.”
“One of the problems with what happened was precisely that they pulled the investigation up to the executive floors, and it was run and birddogged by a very small group of very high-level officials,” Barr said. “The idea that this was seven layers below him is simply not true.”