Trump, defending himself after Flynn Culpable Plea, says F.B.I. It’s in & # 39; Tatters & # 39; –

Trump, defending himself after Flynn Culpable Plea, says F.B.I. It’s in & # 39; Tatters & # 39;


But on Sunday, the president condemned Mr. Comey as a liar, saying that "I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn" and that Mr. Comey had damaged the office and its employees. He also accused agency agents of spending years investigating a "false and dishonest" investigation on the email server of his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump's fury for those who were investigating him surprised even those with recent memories of his repeated attempts over the past year to belittle intelligence agencies, the State Department and other parts of his government. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the chief Democrat of the Judiciary Committee, said the frantic nature of the president's tweets suggested that he knew Mr. Mueller was building a case of obstruction of justice against him.

"I see it in the hyper" frantic attitude of the White House, the comments every day, the continuous tweets, "said Feinstein on Sunday on NBC's" Meet the Press "

Eric H. Holder Jr. , who was the first attorney general of President Barack Obama, responded to the tweets of the president with one of his own defending the agency. "You will find integrity and honesty at the headquarters of the FBI and not at 1600 Penn Ave at this time", Mr. Holder wrote .

While seeking to discredit the Russian investigation, which for a long time called a "witch hunt" policy, Mr. Trump took advantage on Sunday of reports that Mr. Mueller had removed a veteran FBI agent because he sent text messages that seemed to express critical views with Trump.

In several tweets, the president harshly criticized the agent, Peter Strzok, who had previously helped lead the 2016 investigation into If Clinton had mishandled clbadified information about your private email account. Mr. Strzok is considered one of the most experienced and trusted counterintelligence investigators in the cabinet.

"Report: & # 39; FBI AGENT ANTI-TRUMP LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE & # 39; Mr. Trump said in his tenth tweet on Sunday, that in the early afternoon he had been retweeted more than 24,000 times. "Everything starts to make sense now!"

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Most presidents enter the Oval Office with the instinct to defend and promote the integrity and capabilities of the country's law enforcement agencies. Mr. Trump arrived with a different compulsion, fueled by the belief that intelligence and law enforcement officials were raising questions about the legitimacy of his electoral victory.

By suggesting, as it did before, that the F.B.I. and other agencies are motivated by politics, Mr. Trump again embraced the kind of suspicions that feed conspiracy theories about a "deep state" that operates with a secret bias against him.

Still, although Mr. Trump's attacks against government agencies are now a familiar issue, former FBI officials and veteran observers of the agency said they were surprised at how easily the president tried to defend himself by attacking Mr. Comey, Mr. Mueller, Mr. Strzok and the 35,000 people who work in the FBI

"If you imagine you can protect yourself by trying to attack and destroy Mueller, Comey and the FBI" as an institution, you are committing an act of political suicide, "said Tim Weiner, author of the FBI and CIA stories and a former reporter for The New York Times." It is a death wish, because ultimately, the law, the Constitution and the courts are stronger than this president. "

Robert E. Anderson Jr., former high-ranking spy scout in the office, said that the president's comments would have a discouraging effect on the moral FBI, especially among those that are not involved in political investigations.

"There are men and women working tirelessly in every corner of this world to protect the United States and its people," Anderson said. "When he says what he says, it is insulting and demeaning to the men and women who are sacrificing their lives to protect this great nation."

Mr. Anderson also came out in defense of Mr. Strzok, calling him "one of the most methodical, meticulous and hardworking counterintelligence experts in the entire intelligence community in the United States." Anderson said Mr. Strzok "never showed political prejudice." "

The president retweeted a Twitter post urging Christopher A. Wray, the current FBI director, to" clean the house "at the agency In a statement on Sunday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions He said that he had ordered Mr. Wray to "review the available information on this and other matters and make the necessary changes promptly."

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Mr. Trump has repeatedly described the F.B.I. as an agency in crisis, often blaming Mr. Comey – a "showboat" and a "great spectator" – for losing support among rank and file agents. He cited such alleged confusion when he fired Mr. Comey in May. But several years of internal employee surveys by F.B.I. undermine that claim, showing that employees gave Mr. Comey high marks for his leadership.

And since taking power four months ago, Mr. Wray has repeatedly praised the office's work force. In a speech delivered in October, Wray described the office's employees as "outstanding and dedicated"

"I get up every day on fire to come to work, to be part of this extraordinary group, and to see where we can go next, "he said.

Mr. Trump's efforts to divert attention from Mr. Flynn's guilty plea began Saturday night, when he badaulted the Justice Department for his handling of Clinton's email inquiry and questioned the department's dedication to honor to his name

"Many people in our country are asking what the Department of Justice is going to do about the fact that Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress , deleted and "wiped with acid" 33,000 emails? " he wrote referring to the messages that Ms. Clinton's lawyers considered foreign to her government work. "There is no justice!"

In another tweet on Saturday night, Mr. Trump accused the F.B.I. of destroying Mr. Flynn's life for his lie to the agents, while leaving "Crooked Hillary Clinton" out easy for what he said were his own lies to the agents. "Armed system, or just a double standard?" He said.

But Mr. Trump seems to remain especially obsessed with Mr. Comey, who testified before Congress in June that the president had asked him to withdraw the investigation of Mr. Flynn's activities one day after Trump fired the Mr. Flynn. Mr. Comey refused to do so, and the president fired Mr. Comey several months later.

In a tweeted on Sunday, Mr. Trump blamed "the Comey years" at the head of the FBI for what he sees as damage to his reputation.

"After years of Comey, with Clinton's dishonest and dishonest investigation (and more), running the FBI, his reputation is in the rags, the worst in history!" Mr. Trump wrote "But do not fear, we will return it to greatness".

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The tweet provoked a sharp reprimand from Mr. Holder. "The FBI's reputation is not in shreds," wrote Holder on Twitter. "It's made up of the same dedicated men and women who have always worked there and who do a great apolitical job."

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