James Comey Pushes Back on AG Barr’s Spying Comments: ‘The FBI Doesn’t Spy,’ They Investigate


Former FBI Director James Comey rebuked Attorney General William Barr‘s allegation that the Trump campaign was spied upon, telling CBS This Morning today that the “FBI doesn’t spy,” it “investigates.”

“The attorney general said he believed spying occurred in looking at the president’s then campaign. what you do think of that?” co-host John Dickerson asked.

“I have no idea what he’s talking about,” Comey replied. “The FBI doesn’t spy, the FBI investigates. We investigated a very serious allegation that Americans might be hooked up with the Russian effort to attack our democracy.”

“Republicans need to breathe into a paper bag,” he continued. “If we had confronted the same facts with a different candidate, say a Democrat candidate, where one of their advisers was talking to a foreign adversary’s representative, about that adversary’s interference in our election, they would be screaming for the FBI to investigate and that’s all we did.”

Comey went on to agree his disagreement with Barr “is a semantic one and added that people should look into about the “opening of that investigation — we should have been fired if we didn’t investigate this.”

Earlier in the segment, Comey also hit Barr for his four-page letter detailing the Mueller report prior to its release.

“It struck me — especially after I read the Mueller report — as misleading. It was inadequate to summarize that work,” he said. “It certainly gave the impression that Bob Mueller that he was not going to rule on this question of obstruction of justice. That’s not what Mueller did. Mueller laid it out and signaled to a future prosecutor, after this individual is out of office, you ought to take a serious look charging him.”

When asked about Barr’s “spying” accusation, FBI Director Chris Wray said earlier this week “that’s not the term I would use” and added that “I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort” in response to claims of illegal surveillance of Trump’s campaign in 2016.

Watch above, via CBS.

Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com

Filed Under:

Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: caleb@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma