Former FBI Director James Comey maintained that he would be willing to answer questions if an investigation were opened. | Alex Wong/Getty Images
Former FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday condemned President Donald Trump’s calls for a possible investigation into how special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry started, adding that it creates a troubling precedent.
During an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Comey was asked about whether he feared possible counterinvestigations.
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“I don’t fear it personally. I fear it as a citizen,” he said. “Right? Investigate what? Investigate that investigations were conducted? What would be the crime you’d be investigating? So it’s a terrible cycle to start.”
Several days after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of Mueller’s report, Trump and his team have called for investigations into how the probe began.
“Hopefully, somebody is going to look at the other side,” Trump told reporters late last month. The president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has also made similar statements.
On Tuesday, Trump continued to advocate for an examination of how the FBI and Mueller investigations began.
“I hope they now go and take a look at the origins of the investigation, the beginnings of the investigation,” the president told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “You look at the origin of the investigation, where it started, how it started, who started it.”
“Whether it‘s [former FBI Deputy Cirector Andrew] McCabe or Comey or a lot of them, where does it go? How high up in the White House did it go?“ Trump continued, calling on reporters to investigate the origins of Mueller‘s probe, even dangling the prospect of a Pulitzer Prize to journalists in the room.
Barr, in his four-page summary, wrote that Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election. In addition, Barr wrote that Mueller did not fully exonerate Trump in an obstruction of justice inquiry, but the attorney general added that he did not believe there was enough evidence to bring charges on the matter.
Comey condemned the president’s rhetoric of “calling for the locking up of his political opponents, including people like me.”
“It will just be more of that dangerous step, and would I hope, although he’ll continue to disappoint me, the Republicans would finally stand up and say that kind of thing,” he said.
The former FBI director, however, maintained that he would be willing to answer questions if an investigation were opened.
“Me, personally, ask me questions,” Comey said. “Go ahead. I would like to answer them in the daylight, if I could.”