Former FBI Director James Comey has railed against US President Donald Trump, saying he is undermining the rule of law in the United States by lying about the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Comey made the remarks on Monday after his second appearance this month before two House of Representatives committees. He was fired by Trump in May 2017 while he was leading an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
Comey slammed Republican lawmakers for remaining silent and urged them to "stand up and speak the truth" about the president’s behavior.
He said lawmakers had interviewed him about former secretary of state Hillary Clinton's emails and a dossier that the FBI allegedly used to conduct clandestine surveillance of a Trump presidential campaign aide.
"So another day of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Steele dossier,” Comey told reporters after he was grilled for about six hours behind closed doors by the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees.
“This while the president of the United States is lying about the FBI, attacking the FBI and attacking the rule of law in this country. How does that make any sense at all?” he asked.
Comey suggested Republican lawmakers are too weak to stand up for the FBI for fear of political backlash.
"Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matters and the truth matters. Where are those Republicans today?" he asked.
“At some point, someone has to stand up and in the fear of Fox News and fear of their base, and fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement.”
He also slammed Trump for calling his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen a “rat.”
“This is the president of the United States calling a witness who is cooperating with his own Justice Department a ‘rat,’ ” he said, suggesting people at home reflect on “where we have ended up.”
Trump has called the Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller a "witch hunt" and condemned Cohen as a "rat" for cooperating with federal investigators.
Trump repeatedly accused Comey of lying to Congress during his testimony last year when he detailed meetings in which the president asked for his loyalty and demanded he stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn over his alleged contacts with Russian officials.
When Comey was fired last year, the former FBI chief quickly became the chief prosecution witness for Mueller investigating the Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
His written records of several troubling encounters with the president are at the heart of Mueller's investigation into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice in his attempts to shut down the inquiry.