Former FBI Director James Comey on Sunday, Dec. 15, finally admitted he was wrong about how his agency handled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process in obtaining a warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, prompting the president to ask for the consequences for his “unlawful conduct.”
“So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong. Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?” President Trump wrote in a tweet.
So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong. Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2019
“He’s right, I was wrong,” Comey told Fox News Sunday’s host Chris Wallace, referencing Inspector General Michael Horowitz who released his report this week detailing 17 “significant errors and omissions” by the FBI’s investigative team in applications for a FISA warrant and its subsequent renewals.
“I was overconfident as director in our procedures,” and that what happened “was not acceptable,” Comey added.
When asked by Wallace about the reliance on information gathered by former British spy Chirstopher Steele, Comey downplayed the role of Steele’s information in obtaining the FISA warrant against Page, claiming that it was “not a huge part of the presentation to the court,” just part of the information included in the warrant application.
Wallace then read the IG report, which said Steele’s information “played a central and essential role” in establishing probable cause and changing the court’s decision. Comey insisted he did not “see the disconnect” between his stance and Horowitz’s.
Following the release of the Horowitz report, James Comey essentially claimed vindication, declaring that the criticism of FBI’s actions “was all lies.” However, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 11, Horowitz stated, “The activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this FISA.”
Comey explained on Sunday that his claim of vindication was not in reference to the issues identified in Horowtiz’s report.
“What I mean is that the FBI was accused of treason, of illegal spying, of tapping Mr. Trump’s wires illegally, of opening an investigation without justification, of being a criminal conspiracy to unseat, defeat and then unseat a president. All of that was nonsense,” he said.
Comey also claimed that the FBI did not intentionally commit wrongdoing, but portrayed the agency’s failures as “real sloppiness.” He said the IG report “did not find misconduct by any FBI people,” rather just “mistakes and negligence.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley reacted to Comey’s remarks, saying “This should worry everyone as to the errors that were made” by the FBI and Comey’s interview “will send a chill up your spine.”
Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) suggested that a hearing before his committee would be held to “determine whether the FBI’s actions in 2016 are systemic.”
Comey’s claim that there were mistakes made far “more consequential” further proves the need for @HouseJudiciary to hold a hearing to determine whether the FBI’s actions in 2016 are systemic.
We must ensure what happened at our premier law enforcement agency NEVER happens again.
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) December 15, 2019