Fired FBI Director James Comey on Monday claimed the reputational damage his former agency has suffered over the past year has “nothing” to do with him.
“Somebody has to stand up and speak for the FBI,” Comey said while addressing a pool of reporters on Capitol Hill following his second and final interview with the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.
“The FBI’s reputation has taken a big hit because the President of the United States has lied about it constantly,” the longtime DOJ employee said. “In the face of those lies, a whole lot of good people who watch your network believe that nonsense. That’s a tragedy. That will be undone eventually, but that damage has nothing to do with me.”
The joint panel is wrapping up a yearlong investigation into the department’s decisions before Democrats take the majority in January. Comey’s testimony December 7 revolved around the Clinton email investigation, alleged FISA abuse, and the largely unverified Steele dossier.
Republicans have accused department officials of conspiring against then-candidate Donald Trump as they launched an investigation into President Trump’s ties to Russia and cleared his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton in a separate investigation into her handling of classified information.
Comey, who led both investigations, mocked the congressional probe, saying the questions were about “Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Steele dossier” — two items Republicans point to as flashpoints for bias in the department. The dossier was Democratic-funded opposition research on President Trump’s ties to Russia compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
“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?” Comey asked.
President Trump has repeatedly criticized the FBI and called special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.