Donald Trump: Comey 'Probably One of the People Leading Effort on Spying'
President ties former FBI director to AG Barr's recent comments that 'spying occurred'
President Donald Trump says that former FBI Director James Comey was "probably was one of the people leading the effort on spying" on his 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump highlighted Attorney General William Barr's claims that "spying did occur" on his 2016 campaign.
The president tied Barr's remarks to Comey, who he fired from the FBI in May 2017.
"I would say he probably led some kind of an effort. The word 'spying' has been used. He probably was one of the people leading the effort on spying," Trump told Fox News's Catherine Herridge.
"I know, we will find out whether it was it could very well be true. We are going to find out pretty soon."
According to The Washington Examiner: Trump said he would be allowing the declassification of documents "very soon" that could shine a light on potential misconduct by federal officials.
Trump already ordered certain documents to be declassified last year that relate to the federal Russia investigation, including text messages from Comey.
The prospect of improper "spying" has been a renewed subject of debate since Barr said during a hearing last month that he believed Trump's campaign was subject to surveillance.
"The question is whether it was predicated — adequately predicated," Barr testified.
"I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated, but I need to explore that. I think it's my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane."
Democrats raged at the suggestion, and Comey disagreed with the assessment.
"When I hear that kind of language used, it’s concerning because the FBI, the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance,” Comey said at the Hewlett Foundation's Verify Conference.
“I have never thought of that as spying.”
Although Comey said, he gave Barr the benefit of the doubt, citing his long career, his talk of "spying" made it more difficult.
"I have no idea what the heck he's talking about," Comey added
Comey's faith in Barr appears to have weakened after the attorney general testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In a New York Times op-ed, Comey expressed his surprise at Barr's defense of the president in the aftereffect of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report on his Russia investigation.
“Proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and [Deputy Attorney] Rod Rosenstein.
Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump, and that adds up to something they will never recover from,” he said.
Asked to respond to Comey's opinion piece, Trump disparaged his former top cop, saying he was a "terrible director" who leaked and lied to Congress.
Comey oversaw FBI when the bureau launched a counterintelligence investigation into possible links between Trump's campaign and Russia in the summer of 2016.
He testified to Congress that the operation began as an investigation examining a possible "connection" between four Americans and Russia.
Although Comey acknowledged that at least some of these individuals were affiliated with the Trump campaign, he said Trump was not a subject of the investigation.
That counterintelligence was wrapped into special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which recently wrapped up.
Mueller said in his report that his team could not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin but did not make a conclusion about whether Trump obstructed justice.
Barr said he and Rosenstein determined that there was inconclusive evidence to establish an obstruction crime took place, but Democrats argue Mueller left the question open to Congress to investigate and decide.