Trump's "Birthday Present" Looks Like Bad News For James Comey
President Trump knows what he wants for his birthday — and it's not another red tie. Trump hinted his birthday present could be a Justice Department report from the inspector general, which is expected to be released Thursday, the day the president turns 72. The report is expected to be critical of former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired in May 2017, and his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state.
While speaking to reporters last week, President Trump said the report could be something of a "birthday present" to him if it were to be critical of Comey.
"It seems it's coming out on my birthday. Maybe that's appropriate, let's see [if] it is," Trump told reporters, according to a BuzzFeed transcript, before departing the White House for the G7 summit in Canada on June 8. "Look, he's a very dishonest man. I've been saying it for a long time. I think I did our country a great fire, a really great favor when I fired him."
Trump went on to say that we'd all have to wait and see what the report says: "It's coming out on June 14th. So that will be maybe a nice birthday present, who knows."
The inspector general's report reportedly claims Comey "deviated" dramatically from procedure norms while investigating Clinton's emails, and so negatively impacted people's perception of the FBI, according to Bloomberg News. The news outlet obtained an early copy of the 500-page report's conclusions.
"While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey's part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice," Inspector General Michael Horowitz writes in the report's conclusions, as quoted by Bloomberg.
According to CBS News, the report is expected to describe Comey as "insubordinate."
Former President Barack Obama nominated Comey to serve as FBI director in 2013. As head of the FBI, Comey oversaw the agency's controversial investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state during the 2016 presidential election. Comey was criticized throughout the investigation by both Democrats and Republicans.
Many Democrats and Clinton supporters have faulted his decision to publicly reopen the FBI's investigation into Clinton's emails roughly two weeks before Election Day as the cause of Clinton's subsequent election loss. Republicans had criticized him for drafting a statement recommending "no charges" for Clinton months before the FBI's investigation had officially fully concluded.
In May 2017, President Trump fired Comey, citing his handling of the Clinton email probe as the reason for the FBI director's abrupt and shocking termination. At the time of his dismissal, however, Comey was also overseeing an investigation into claims of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. What's more, Trump later told NBC News that he'd been thinking about "this Russia thing" when he'd made the decision to fire Comey.
According to CBS News, Horowitz announced his investigation into how the FBI and the Justice Department had handled the Clinton email investigation on Jan. 12, 2017, roughly five months before Comey was fired.
As a vocal critic of Comey, President Trump has recently appeared to be growing increasingly impatient to see the results of Horowitz's review. "What is taking so long with the Inspector General's Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey," the president tweeted earlier this month, adding that there had been "numerous delays."
"Hope [the] Report is not being changed and made weaker!" Trump went on to write. "There are so many horrible things to tell, the public has the right to know. Transparency!"