In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, former FBI Director James Comey ripped into Attorney General William Barr for suggesting that the bureau acted in bad faith during its investigations into President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, reports Mediaite.
Discussing "irregularities" during FBI investigations into Trump, Barr said that the lack of satisfactory explanations for them "leaves open the possibility to infer bad faith."
"Does Attorney General Barr have a point?" host Chris Wallace asked Comey.
"No," the former FBI director responded, describing Barr's statements as "irresponsible" and arguing that not a single FBI agent acted in bad faith.
"He does not have a factual basis as the Attorney General of the United States to be speculating that agents acted in bad faith," Comey said.
"The facts just aren't there. Full stop. That doesn't make it any less consequential, any less important, but that's an irresponsible statement."Comey also addressed the president's disparaging remarks about the bureau. Trump, who has long been criticizing the FBI over what he claims is partisan bias, recently called the agents who investigated his 2016 campaign "scum."
According to Comey, the FBI is an "apolitical" organization, and Trump is guilty of spreading false information and damaging the FBI's credibility through outlets such as Fox News.
"Remember the 'treason,' remember the 'spying,' all of us 'going to jail,' it was false information that your viewers and millions of others were given," Comey told Wallace.
During his appearance on Wallace's show, Comey also acknowledged that the FBI was "sloppy" in its handling of the FISA application to surveil Trump campaign official Carter Page.
The president, who was apparently watching the interview, immediately took to Twitter, demanding an apology and suggesting that Comey could spend "years in jail" for allowing the bureau to handle the Page investigation inappropriately.
Although Trump has been partially vindicated by the inspector general report, which revealed that the FBI manipulated documents and concealed evidence to obtain a FISA warrant, the report did not reveal partisan bias in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.Barr is nevertheless determined to intervene in U.S. Attorney John Durham's followup investigation, according to former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne. In an interview on Saturday, the former prosecutor urged Justice Department officials to revolt against Barr, arguing that the attorney general is not dedicated to serving the country, but to protecting the president.
Legal experts such as former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance have argued that a Democratic victory in 2020 would not only lead to Barr's ousting but also ensure that Trump administration officials are investigated over alleged wrongdoings.