Former FBI director James B. Comey on Sunday called the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election “a wreck” and its report a “political document.”
In a conversation about his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” Comey said the report, released by House Republicans on Friday, did not represent his “understanding of what the facts were” before he left the FBI. Comey was fired by President Trump in May.
“The most important piece of work is the one the special counsel is doing now,” Comey told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd. “[The House committee report] strikes me as a political document.”
Comey said he did not think the House Intelligence Committee served a useful investigative purpose with regard to the probe of Russia’s influence operation.
Partisanship “wrecked the committee,” he said. “And it damaged relationships with the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court, the intelligence communities. It’s just a wreck.”
Trump has praised the report, saying it proved that “there’s no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.” Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a rebuttal to the report and charged that their Republican colleagues ended their work prematurely in a “systematic effort to muddy the waters and to deflect attention away from the President.”
The redacted version of the committee’s final report accuses the intelligence community of “significant intelligence tradecraft failings.” It details contacts among Trump campaign officials, Russians and Russian intermediaries but concludes that investigators found “no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.” The report also accuses the FBI of failures in responding to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is pursuing its own investigation.
Trump and Comey continue to snipe at one another publicly. During an appearance Thursday on “Fox and Friends,” Trump called him “leaking, lying Comey.” In a tweet Friday, Trump called Comey “either very sick or very dumb.” At a campaign rally in Michigan on Saturday night, Trump referred to Comey and “the way he lies. “
“I did you a great favor when I fired this guy,” Trump told his supporters at the rally.
In response to a question from Todd about whether Trump would be a credible witness in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, Comey said, “I have serious doubts about his credibility.”
“The president of the United States?” Todd asked.
“Yes,” Comey responded.
“Whether he were under oath or not?” Todd asked.
“Correct,” Comey said.