Former FBI Director James Comey responds to US President Donald Trump’s allegations of spying on his 2016 campaign, asserting that the so-called Russia probe was triggered by a “legitimate tip.”
“Millions of good people believe what a president of the United States says. In normal times, that’s healthy. But not now, when the president is a liar who doesn’t care what damage he does to vital institutions. We must call out his lies that the FBI was corrupt and committed treason, that we spied on the Trump campaign and tried to defeat Donald Trump. We must constantly return to the stubborn facts ,” wrote Comey in a Washington Post op-ed.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s former chief further reiterated allegations about origins of the investigation to find about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election that yielded President Trump.
“Russia engaged in a massive effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Near as I can tell, there is only one US leader who still denies that fact. The FBI saw the attack starting in mid-June 2016, with the first dumping of stolen emails,” he said. “In late July, when we were hard at work trying to understand the scope of the effort, we learned that one of Trump’s foreign policy advisers knew about the Russian effort seven weeks before we did.”
The president has accused Comey and his department of spying on the Trump campaign in an attempt to defeat the New York billionaire in favor of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
According to Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr, “spying did occur” by the US intelligence community against Trump ahead of Election Day.
“We didn’t know what was true,” Comey wrote. “Maybe there was nothing to it, or maybe Americans were actively conspiring with the Russians. To find out, the FBI would live up to its name and investigate.”
The former FBI chief also denied allegations that his department sided with the Democratic candidate in 2016 against Trump.
“If we were ‘deep state’ Clinton loyalists bent on stopping him, why would we keep it secret? Why wouldn’t the much-maligned FBI supervisor Peter Strzok — the alleged kingpin of the ‘treasonous’ plot to stop Trump — tell anyone? “ he said. “We didn’t gather information about the campaign’s strategy. We didn’t “spy” on anyone’s campaign. We investigated to see whether it was true that Americans associated with the campaign had taken the Russians up on any offer of help.”
In an effort to crack down on the investigation, Trump fired Comey in May 2017 but the probe continued under special counsel Robert Mueller, who ultimately failed to find “collusion” between the president and the Kremlin.
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