President Trump blasted former FBI director James Comey following his disastrous interview Sunday morning with Chris Wallace of Fox News. Despite justifying his actions, Comey buckled under Wallace’s relentless questioning and admitted he was wrong about the FBI’s misconduct in its surveillance of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump responded to Comey’s admission on Twitter, “So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong. Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red-handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”
During his sit down with Comey, Wallace asked, “Would you agree that the FISA court was also given false information by the FBI?”
Comey gave an unusually direct answer when he said, “I think that’s fair. The FBI should have included – or at least pushed to the lawyers, so they could make a decision – information that you just said things like that, that another agency – not a source relationship, but some kind of contact relationship…”
Wallace cut through Comey’s smokescreen saying, “But, you make it sound like you were a bystander, an eyewitness. You were the director of the FBI while a lot of this was going on, sir.”
Comey’s admission was a far cry from the victory lap he took last week when Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s report became public. Seizing on a lack of criminal indictments, Comey tweeted, “So it was all lies. No treason. No spying on the campaign. No tapping Trumps wires. It was just good people trying to protect America.”
In a Washington Post op-end after that interview on Fox News Comey downplayed the FBI’s duplicity in the highly controversial FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Claiming it took two years for “the truth” to finally come out but the IG had made it clear that Comey’s FBI acted in “good faith.”
However, IG Horowitz made it plain that none of the actors in the handing of the FISA warrant on Carter Page, including James Comey, were cleared of wrongdoing. During Senate Judiciary Committee hearings last week, Senator Lindsey Graham asked Horowitz, “The former FBI Director James Comey said this week that your report vindicates him. Is that a fair assessment of your report?”
Horowitz’s abrupt answer was, “I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anyone who touched this.”
Last year, when a reporter asked Comey if he had confidence in the Steele dossier used to secure a FISA warrant he replied, “I have total confidence that the FISA process was followed. That the entire case was followed in a thoughtful, responsible way by DOJ and the FBI. I think the notion that FISA was abused here is nonsense.”
Comey’s admission was far less of an honest admission than it first appeared. When Wallace accused him of minimizing the relevance of Steele’s information, Comey simply said if he was then he was sorry.
Kudos to Wallace to at least get Comey to admit to anything, even if all he said was: “Sure. I’m responsible. … and it’s important that a leader be accountable and transparent.”
But it’s no wonder President Trump says that’s just not enough.