President Trump said Wednesday night that former FBI officials and Democrats who drove the phony Russia allegations against him should be investigated for their “treasonous” actions.
In an interview with Fox host Sean Hannity, Mr. Trump said his opponents who pushed special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation “wanted to do a subversion” of his election.
“It was treason, it was really treason,” the president said. “This was an attempted takeover of our government of our country, an illegal takeover.”
Mr. Mueller’s report, which has yet to be made public, concluded that nobody in the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. The probe took more than two years, starting with the FBI in the midst of the campaign, and included wiretaps on a Trump campaign adviser.
Among those Mr. Trump said should be investigated are former FBI Director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and former FBI agent Peter Strzok and his paramour, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. He also accused former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper of lying about possible Russia collusion.
“We know Clapper lied, and perhaps the statute of limitations ran out of that one,” Mr. Trump said. “But it didn’t run out on Comey. It didn’t run out on [former CIA director William] Brennan or Strzok or Page or [former FBI deputy Director Andrew] McCabe.”
The president cited an infamous meeting between Ms. Lynch and former President Bill Clinton in a plane on the tarmac at the airport in Phoenix, Arizona, in June 2016, at a time when the Justice Department was investigating Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“You have to find out what happened in the back of that plane,” Mr. Trump said. “So many things took place after that incident that meeting between the Attorney General Lynch and Bill Clinton, a lot of bad things happened right after that, you have to find out. There’s so many different things, and it’s important for our country that those things be determined and found out.”
The president said he intends to leave it up to Attorney General William P. Barr and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, to determine the course of any investigations into how the Russia probe came about.
“I’m just going to let them do whatever they’re going to do,” he said. “I purposely didn’t want to involve myself in this whole thing. But it’s very important for our country to know. We can never allow these treasonous acts to happen to another president.”
He said Mr. Brennan, a vocal critic of Mr. Trump, “is a sick person.”
“There’s something wrong with him,” the president said. “He lied to Congress.”
The president also said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, California Democrat, “should be forced from office” for constantly pushing the Russia allegations.
“He knew he was lying,” Mr. Trump said. “You could say it’s a crime, what he did. He was making horrible statements that he knew were false. He should be forced out of office.”
Earlier this week, the California Democrat flatly rejected the conclusions of the Mueller report and said his committee will plow ahead with its own Russia investigation.
“Undoubtedly there is collusion,” Mr. Schiff told The Washington Post. “We will continue to investigate the counterintelligence issues. That is, is the president or people around him compromised in any way by a hostile foreign power? It doesn’t appear that was any part of Mueller’s report.”
The president said he plans to declassify and release the documents in which the FBI sought a secret court’s permission for surveillance of the Trump campaign.
“I do, I have plans to declassify and release,” Mr. Trump said, adding that his lawyers had cautioned him against it during the probe, fearing that the action would be interpreted as possible obstruction.
Mr. Trump wouldn’t say whether he plans to pardon anyone convicted in the Mueller probe, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“I don’t want to talk about pardons now,” Mr. Trump said. “Many people were incredibly hurt by this scam. It’s a very very dark period. I think maybe we’re shedding a lot of light.”
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday night that a special investigation similar to the Church committee in the 1970s is needed to probe the actions of the FBI and the CIA.
“I think we have to, in a bipartisan way, look at what these investigations were, particularly look at the start of the Trump investigation,” he said, “and I think really seriously question some of the FBI counterintelligence, and some of the CIA, and maybe even foreign intelligence services. And I think this is for the good of the country and for the good of the FBI and the CIA too. But I would hope that that would be the next phase of investigations here.”