President Donald Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to blast former FBI Director James Comey for clearing former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of wrongdoing months before she became the subject of an investigation into her misuse of a private email server.
“Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over… and so much more,” Trump wrote to his 37 million followers. “A rigged system!”
Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over…and so much more. A rigged system!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2017
The allegation stems from a letter sent from Senate Judiciary Committee members Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to FBI Director Christopher Wray that claimed that Comey “had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton… long before FBI agents finished their work.”
“Mr. Comey even circulated an early draft statement to select members of senior FBI leadership,” the letter read. “The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts.”
Citing transcripts obtained from Comey’s Chief of Staff Jim Rybicky and Principal Deputy General Counsel of National Security and Cyberlaw Trisha Anderson via the Office of Special Counsel, the letter pointed to multiple testimonies indication that Comey had already made up his mind about Clinton’s innocence prior to a full investigation taking place.
“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second – that’s no way to run an investigation,” the letter read. “The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.”
“It is unclear whether the FBI agents actually investigating the case were aware that Mr. Comey had already decided on the investigation’s outcome while the work was ongoing,” the letter later noted. “However, it appears that the answer the that question may be underneath some of the extensive redactions that the Department made to the transcripts.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered another take on the story during Thursday’s press briefing: “If it is as accurate as they say it is, that would certainly give cause and reason that Jim Comey was not the right person to lead the FBI.”