In a stream of tweets published early Saturday, President Donald Trump railed against James Comey, calling the former FBI director "a total sleaze" and alleging that his decision to fire him had made for "a great day for America." Trump's latest attack on Comey came hours after The New York Times reported that Comey's firing had spurred the FBI to investigate whether Trump was a Russian agent or some other threat to national security.
"Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin' James Comey, a total sleaze!" the president tweeted.
According to The New York Times, FBI officials became "concerned" about the president's behavior after he fired Comey in May 2017 and launched an investigation to determine if the president was knowingly or unknowingly working against American interests on behalf of Russia. The paper claims that counterintelligence investigators were tasked with looking into whether the president's actions "constituted a possible threat to national security."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the New York Times report "absurd" in a statement provided to Politico. "James Comey was fired because he's a disgraced partisan hack, and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in charge at the time, is a known liar fired by the FBI," she said.
On Saturday, Trump claimed, without providing evidence, that "everybody" had wanted Comey fired. "Funny thing about James Comey," he tweeted. "Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike." The president then went on to imply that the FBI had "rigged & botched" its investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of State. In his tweet, the president also alleged that Clinton had lied during a voluntary interview with FBI investigators on July 5, 2016.
He then went on to claim the FBI "was in complete turmoil" as a result of "Comey's poor leadership and the way he handled the Clinton mess (not to mention his usurpation of powers from the Justice Department)."
"My firing of James Comey was a great day for America," Trump tweeted.
According to The New York Times, the 2016 campaign had already made FBI officials "suspicious" of Trump's Russian ties. However, officials reportedly held off launching an investigation into the matter until Trump linked Comey's firing to the Russian investigation. Ultimately, the investigation launched into the president's behavior had counterintelligence and criminal aspects, the latter of which has been public knowledge since the summer of 2017.
The president continued his Twitter rant Saturday with claims that Comey had been "a Crooked Cop" and was now being "totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller, & the 13 Angry Democrats." The president also alleged that Clinton, Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were also protecting Comey.
Trump then went on to claim that he has been "FAR tougher on Russia" than former President Barack Obama, George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton.
"Maybe tougher than any other President," he tweeted, without providing any evidence to support his claim. "At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!"