Former FBI Director James Comey slammed the Justice Department’s handling of the Robert Mueller report on Wednesday, taking issue with Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary and his characterization of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings.
“It struck me, especially after I read the Mueller report, as misleading,” Comey said on “CBS This Morning,” adding, “It was inadequate to summarize that work.”
Comey said that his problem with Barr’s four-page letter to Congress that preceded the report’s release was that it gave the impression that Mueller was staying away from any determination regarding obstruction of justice, “when that’s not what Mueller did.” Comey argued that Mueller presented evidence of obstruction “and signaled to a future prosecutor after this individual is out of office you ought to take a serious look at charging him.”
Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, but Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined the evidence was not sufficient to pursue such a case. Barr, meanwhile, has defended his initial report to Congress on the Mueller investigation as well as subsequent efforts to share details about the report with lawmakers, amid a clash with Democrats who have subpoenaed the unredacted document.
The White House last month also accused Mueller’s team of including “political statements” in its report on obstruction.
Fox News reached out to the Justice Department for comment on Comey’s remarks.
At a press conference at the time of the Mueller probe conclusion, Barr also pointed to the issue of intent, and claimed Trump’s actions were not based on any corrupt motive but stemmed from frustration that even though there had been no evidence of collusion with Russia, the investigation was affecting his presidency.
“I don’t think that’s a fair summary of the evidence,” Comey said about this, claiming that motive does not matter, only whether Trump was “intending to obstruct justice.”
The former FBI director’s termination set the stage for Mueller’s appointment and a probe into possible obstruction of justice. He said that the evidence presented in the Mueller report was “concerning.”
Comey also took issue with Barr’s claim that the FBI may have spied on the Trump campaign.
“I have no idea what he’s talking about,” he said. “The FBI doesn’t spy, the FBI investigates. We investigated a very serious allegation that Americans might be hooked up with the Russian effort to attack our democracy.” Comey stated that Republicans who are worried about FBI spying “need to breathe into a paper bag.”