President Trump offered up a mixed review of FBI Director James Comey in a new interview with Fox Business.
Trump told the business network’s Maria Bartiromo that he still has confidence in Comey, but he blamed the Obama administration appointee for keeping Hillary Clinton out of jail, and he said “it’s not too late” to fire him.
“No, it’s not too late [to fire Comey], but, you know, I have confidence in him. We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be interesting,” Trump told Bartiromo.
As FBI director, Comey is overseeing an investigation into whether several former Trump advisers had improper ties to members of the Russian government. On Tuesday, it was reported that the FBI and Justice Department obtained a warrant from a secret federal court last summer to conduct electronics surveillance on Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign. (RELATED: FBI Obtained Surveillance Warrant Against Former Trump Adviser)
Trump has said he did not know Page and that neither he nor his campaign had improper relations with the Kremlin.
While Trump says he has confidence in Comey, he also took several overt jabs at the FBI director over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
“When Jim Comey came out he saved Hillary Clinton, people don’t realize that. He saved her life. When he was reading those charges she was guilty of every charge, and then he said she was essentially okay,” Trump said.
He was referring to a July 5 press conference in which Comey announced that he would be recommending that the Justice Department not charge Clinton with any crimes for mishandling classified information on her private email server.
Comey has become unpopular with both parties of late. Many Republicans believe he went too easy on Clinton. They also view him as an enemy of sorts because he is overseeing the Trump-Russia probe.
Democrats are unhappy with Comey because of his decision to re-open the Clinton email investigation late in the presidential campaign after emails were found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Many Clinton campaign officials blame Comey’s late action for swaying the election to Trump.
Asked by Bartiromo why, given Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, Trump has not fired him, the Republican said: “Well, because I want to give everybody a good, fair chance.”
“Director Comey was very, very good to Hillary Clinton, that I can tell you. If he weren’t, she would be right now going to trial,” he added.
And asked if he plans to push for a case against Clinton, Trump demurred.
“I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about positive.”
Trump also doubled down on his claims last month that Obama ordered wiretaps against him.
“Perhaps I didn’t know how right I was, because nobody knew the extent of it,” Trump said.
“You look at the extent of the surveillance, me and so many other people, it’s terrible.”