- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 12, 2019

President Trump blasted former FBI leaders Saturday over a report that the agency launched an investigation of the president to determine if he was a Russian asset after he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in 2017.

“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!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

The Times reported Friday night that FBI officials opened a probe of Mr. Trump immediately after he fired Mr. Comey in May 2017.

The report, citing former officials and others familiar with the probe, said law enforcement officials “became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” Part of the probe was criminal in nature, looking at whether the president obstructed justice.

Special counsel Robert Mueller took over the probe several days later upon his appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The president said he has been “FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President.”

“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!” he tweeted.

Mr. Trump said of Mr. Comey, “Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike.”

“After the rigged & botched Crooked Hillary investigation, where she was interviewed on July 4th Weekend, not recorded or sworn in, and where she said she didn’t know anything (a lie) …the FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey’s poor leadership and the way he handled the Clinton mess (not to mention his usurpation of powers from the Justice Department),” he tweeted, referring to the probe of Mrs. Clinton’s private email server.

He added, “My firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop.”

“He was a Crooked Cop who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller, & the 13 Angry Democrats - leaking machines who have NO interest in going after the Real Collusion (and much more) by Crooked Hillary Clinton, her Campaign, and the Democratic National Committee,” the president wrote.

Referring to Mr. Comey, Mr. McCabe and former anti-Trump FBI investigators Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, “These are just some of the losers that tried to do a number on your President. Part of the Witch Hunt.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the development “absurd.” She said, unlike former President Barack Obama, Mr. Trump “has actually been tough on Russia.”

Mrs. Sanders said Mr. Comey was fired for being a “partisan hack” and that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was “a known liar” who also was fired.

Rep. Devin Nunes of California, ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the Times’ report is “yet more evidence that FBI leaders actually had no real evidence against the Trump team.”

“Instead, they were simply trying to undermine a president they didn’t like and avenge Comey’s firing,” said Mr. Nunes, who as chairman of the panel in the previous Congress issued a report clearing the Trump campaign of collusion with Russia. “By relying on the Steele dossier—a fraudulent document funded by Democrats and based on Russian sources—FBI leaders were either complicit or too oblivious to notice they were being used in a disinformation operation by the Democratic Party and Russian operatives.”

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, indicated that he plans to look into the development.

“In the coming weeks, the Judiciary Committee will take steps to better understand both the president’s actions and the FBI’s response to that behavior, and to make certain that these career investigators are protected from President Trump’s increasingly unhinged attacks,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement.

“There is no reason to doubt the seriousness or professionalism of the FBI, as the president did in reaction to this story. Indeed, his go-to complaints—about former Director Comey and Secretary Clinton—do nothing to address the incredibly serious nature of these allegations.”

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