Ousted FBI Director James Comey was so underwhelmed — and yet angered — by the Republican memo criticizing the bureau’s surveillance of a member of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that Comey tweeted Friday: “That’s it?”
“That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what?” Comey asked.
The four-page memo, written by staffers directed by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), was declassified and released Friday with Trump’s approval, despite objections by the FBI and the Justice Department. It claims the Justice Department and FBI inappropriately spied on campaign adviser Carter Page.
The memo contends that law enforcement officials misled the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that approved — and renewed three times — a warrant for electronic surveillance of Page.
The memo insists the Page surveillance “raises concerns” because it was based in part on information from former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier on Trump’s alleged Russian connections for Fusion GPS. The company was under contract to the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to gather opposition research on Trump, though it had initially launched the project for Republican operatives who also opposed Trump.
The Nunes memo claims Steele talked to the press and didn’t like Trump, and it implied his information was faulty because it was ultimately being gathered for the Democrats. The memo doesn’t mention the initial right-wing clients.
The memo, however, also points out that the FBI began looking into the Trump campaign months earlier, in July, because of information linked to former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. In October, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to officials investigating Russian interference in the presidential election.
Comey has taken the gloves off this week after generally calmer tweets over the last few months quoting Martin Luther King Jr., Bruce Springsteen and the Bible. On Thursday, he ripped unnamed “weasels and liars,” declaring that they “never hold the field, so long as good people stand up.”
He also on Wednesday praised the FBI for speaking up against the Nunes memo. He was referring to a statement the bureau issued saying the FBI had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
And on Monday, Comey tweeted in support of Andrew McCabe, who resigned that day as the FBI’s deputy director after attacks by Trump. Comey said McCabe “stood tall” while “small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on.”