Former FBI Director James Comey on Sunday derided the Republican House Intelligence Committee’s report on meddling by Russia in the 2016 election as “a wreck,” while reaffirming his distrust of President Donald Trump.
“It wrecked the committee, and it damaged relationships with the [U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court], the intelligence communities,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd of the assessment. “It’s just a wreck.”
Comey, who led the investigation into possible collusion before his abrupt firing by Trump in May, said the report by the House committee, helmed by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), does not match what he knew before his ouster.
“That is not my understanding of what the facts were before I left the FBI, and I think the most important piece of work is the one the special counsel’s doing now,” Comey said.
Robert Mueller, Comey’s predecessor as the FBI director, heads the special counsel team created after Comey was fired.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, later disagreed with the “wreck” characterization of the panel’s report. But on CBS’ “Face the Nation” he also said that the probe is not as exhaustive as the one being conducted by the special counsel, which operates as part of the Department of Justice.
“The witnesses we talked to ― no one said that they had any evidence of collusion,” Gowdy said, while acknowledging that “executive branch investigations are just better than congressional ones” because “they get to use a grand jury” and have “investigative tools that we don’t have.”
Gowdy said he is awaiting the results of Mueller’s investigation. “So we found no evidence of collusion,” he said. “Whether or not it exists or not, I can’t speak to because I haven’t interviewed the full panoply of witnesses.”
Trump on Friday praised the House committee’s assessment, calling the ongoing Russia probe a “witch hunt” that’s part of “a big hoax by the Democrats.”
Comey in his Sunday comments repeated his distrust for Trump, saying he has “serious doubts” about the president’s credibility, including if he were to testify under oath as a witness.
“I was concerned about the nature of his commitment to truth-telling, based on some of the things I’d seen during the campaign,” he said of his assessment of Trump before his inauguration.
After meeting him, he said he was further disturbed by Trump’s expressed lack of concern about protecting the country as his top duty.
Comey, in his new book, “A Higher Loyalty,” described Trump as “unethical and untethered to the truth.”
This story has been updated with remarks from Gowdy.