President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on how investigators dealt with allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections and any links to his campaign, as he again charged that top officials at the FBI had committed misconduct, led by former FBI Director James Comey.
“The FBI is a fantastic institution but some of the people at the top were rotten apples,” the President said. “James Comey was one of them.”
“How is he going to explain to his grandchildren all of the lies, the deceit, all of the problems he has caused for this country?” the President said in a recorded interview aired on the Fox News morning program, “Fox and Friends.”
“I’ve done a great service for this country by getting rid of him,”
Mr. Trump and his allies have been on a public blitz in recent days against the Russia probe, trying to cast the actions of the FBI – and the Obama Administration – as an effort to infiltrate his campaign, in order to dummy up charges of collusion against his campaign and top aides.
Democrats though point out that while the FBI was investigating the Trump Campaign during the 2016 election, news of it never leaked, even as Comey was publicly inserting himself into the campaign with announcements about Hillary Clinton and her email troubles.
On Thursday afternoon, officials at the Justice Department will brief lawmakers in both parties about how the FBI used an informant to check out reports of ties between Russia and the Trump Campaign in 2016.
Originally, only House GOP lawmakers were going to be involved, but protests from Senators forced that to change; the briefings will involve the FBI Director, the Deputy Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence.
Those three officials met earlier this week with President Trump at the White House, as Mr. Trump has charged the FBI basically planted a ‘spy’ in his campaign, an allegation that has so far gained little traction outside a group of more conservative House Republicans.
As for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, his office provided an update of sorts on the investigation while submitting documents to a federal judge handling criminal charges against Paul Manafort, once the head of the Trump Campaign in 2016.
“The Special Counsel’s conduct of the investigation remains ongoing,” the Mueller team reported, saying the probe continues to look at “links and/or coordination between Russia and individuals affiliated with the campaign of President Trump.”
“The investigation is not complete and its details remain non-public,” the Special Counsel’s office stated, in arguing against the public release of search warrants involved in the Manafort case.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Mueller’s office started moving toward the final stages in the guilty plea of one-time foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos.
“The parties respectfully request that the Court refer this case for the preparation of a presentence investigation report, and that the parties provide a joint status report within thirty days, no later than June 22, 2018,” the two sides agreed in a court document.
Legal experts said that showed the feds were ready to have Papadopoulos sentenced, and that he likely had no more information to offer to investigators.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to investigators, when asked about Russian contacts who had told him they had negative information on Hillary Clinton.
The Special Counsel’s office outlined their indictments and guilty pleas this way in their Manafort case submission: