President Donald Trump lambasted former FBI director James Comey on Friday and said that FBI official Peter Strzok should have been fired “a long time ago.”
“I am amazed that Peter Strzok is still at the FBI, and so is everybody else that read that report. And I’m not even talking about the report,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Friday. “I’m talking about long before the report. Peter Strzok should have been fired a long time ago. And others should have been fired.”
The president made the comments on the White House lawn on Friday morning, the day after the release of the highly anticipated report by the Justice Department inspector general. The report concluded that Comey usurped the power of his boss, the attorney general, and that Strzok texted his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, that he will “stop” Trump from becoming president.
A total of five employees sent messages expressing bias against Trump and support of Hillary Clinton, according to the report. Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz referred all five to the FBI to determine whether their conduct violated the bureau’s code of conduct.
Horowitz began investigating the FBI’s handling of the Clinton-email case 18 months ago. The resulting report, which is nearly 600 pages, is extremely detailed. Despite discovering a pattern of bias by key officials handling the probe, Horowitz did not find evidence that the officials’ often questionable choices in the investigation were motivated by their political opinions.
Trump disagreed with the IG’s conclusion of the report, saying it was similar to the handling of the Clinton-email probe.
“The end result was wrong,” Trump said. “There was total bias.”
“It was a pretty good report and then I say that the IG blew it at the very end with that statement,” the president continued.
“Because when you read the report—it was almost like Comey—he goes point after point about how guilty Hillary is and then he says, ‘but we’re not gonna do anything about it.’ The IG report was a horror show,” Trump added. “I thought that one sentence of conclusion was ridiculous.”
Strzok was the lead agent in both the Clinton-email probe and the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign. He was also part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before being reassigned when text messages between Strzok and Page were brought to light.
Trump fired Comey last year for his handling of the Clinton-email probe. After his termination, Comey leaked his notes—at least one of which was classified—to the media through a friend. The notes led to the appointment of the special counsel.
Lisa Page resigned from the FBI early last month.
Horowitz is still investigating two other allegations related to the 2016 election. The Justice Department watchdog is looking into alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against the Trump campaign. The IG is also investigating whether anyone from the Obama administration involved in the FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign had improper motivations.
The Obama administration used at least five forms of spying against the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, including at least one spy who engaged with several campaign advisors.