By Eric Mack
President Donald Trump rebuked the FBI investigation of his campaign for potential ties to Russia as a “disgrace to our country” and an attempted “overthrow of government,” Trump told reporters during a Cabinet meeting Monday.
“This was an overthrow of government, an attempted overthrow, and a lot of people were in on it and they got caught, they got caught red-handed, and I look forward to the Durham Report which is coming out in the not-too-distant future,” Trump said, referring to special prosecutor John Durham’s criminal investigation stemming from Monday’s report of potential Justice Department wrongdoing.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Monday issued his long-awaited report on the origins of the Russia investigation, concluding the FBI was justified in opening its probe into ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia and did not act with political bias, despite “serious performance failures” up the bureau’s chain of command.
“They fabricated evidence, and they lied to the courts, and did all sorts of things to have it go their way, and this was something that we can never allow to happen again,” Trump said. “The report when you’re looking at it, and the details of the report, are far worse than anything I would’ve imagined. What they were doing and what they would’ve done if I didn’t make a certain move that was a very important move because it would have been even worse, if that’s possible, and it might’ve been able to succeed.”
Attorney General William Barr rejected the inspector general’s conclusion there was sufficient evidence to open the investigation, saying it came on the “thinnest of suspicions.”
“I think the American people really should be terrified that this could happen to you,” former Florida Attorney General Pam Biondi said during Trump’s Cabinet meeting, lamenting U.S. investigators “could fabricate, falsify email, lie, and omit exculpatory evidence in order to continue this witch hunt.”
Trump said Biondi and White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway had read some of the IG report Monday. The president expected to be briefed on it later.
“I was a campaign manager, and I would ask a simple question: why no defensive briefing?” Conway asked.
“You can’t blame people for feeling it was unfair, and to think that perhaps people lied and spied and tried to subvert democracy just because they wanted someone else to win or just because they have a different political point of view – that is not the way the world’s greatest democracy has been formed and can survive at a time such as this.
“I will just repeat something that Attorney General Barr said today, Mr. President, that this was an intrusive investigation of U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicion, and that is chilling language for any of us who want our government to work for us and not against us. I only wish they had come and could have informed us, and we would’ve had the knowledge on the wherewithal to act at that time.”