Trump Called The Inspector General's Report A "Horror Show"
The president commented off-the-cuff on the inspector general report on the FBI in a surprise interview with Fox and Friends Friday morning.
President Trump called the 500-page inspector general report on the FBI a "horror show" and "full of bias" in a live interview with Fox and Friends' Steve Doocy on Friday morning.
The report, released Thursday, concluded that political bias did not play a role in the Justice Department's decision to clear Hillary Clinton of criminal wrongdoing, though it called former FBI director James Comey "insubordinate" in his handling of the investigation.
In a surreal breaking of the fourth wall, Trump first tweeted about the possibility of making a surprise appearance on Fox and Friends early Friday, then walked onto the White House lawn where he met up with the Fox News crew.
At one point, the president called Comey the "ringleader of a whole den of thieves," and said that he would be very popular if a poll of the staff of the FBI were held, that it was just the "scum at the top" who were critical of him.
"I would bet if you took a poll in the FBI, I would win that poll by more than anybody's won a poll, but the top people were horrible," Trump said. "You look at what happened. They were plotting against my election. Probably never happened like that in terms of intelligence and in terms of anything else."
Prior to the interview, the president tweeted about the report, "The IG report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI."
The report concluded that while Comey was "insubordinate" in his handling of the investigation, political bias did not play a role. Comey responded to the report Thursday via an op-ed in the New York Times, saying "I do not agree with all of the inspector general’s conclusions, but I respect the work of his office and salute its professionalism."
The president then bragged about "beating the Clinton dynasty" and said that "hopefully I'm in the process of beating very dishonest intelligence because, what they did was incredible — and a real insult to millions of people that voted in that election."
Although the report found mistakes were made in the investigation of former secretary of state Clinton's use of a private email server, it found no evidence that the FBI favored Clinton's campaign or aimed to hurt Trump's chances at winning the election.
Commenting further on the report, the president said it was "almost like Comey ... goes point [by] point [to say] how guilty Hillary is ... and then he said, 'But we're not going to do anything about it.'"
Trump said he found the report's conclusion that the investigation was impartial "ridiculous."
Asked about whether he would sit down with special counsel Bob Mueller to talk about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the president said, "They're getting people who say something a little bit off. ... People are afraid of it. I would like to talk, but it seems to be very biased."
Continuing his unscripted remarks on CNN, the president later added, "If you read the IG report, I've been totally exonerated."
The IG report, however, was not directly related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and did not address any potential obstruction of justice from the White House that Mueller is said to be looking into.
He also criticized chief investigator Peter Strzok, who he said made "horrible statements" and "should have been fired a long time ago."
“I’m amazed that Peter Strzok is still at the FBI,” he said. “And so is everybody that read the report."
The president was referring to newly revealed text messages that Strzok sent to then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page in August 2016. One text read, "No. No he won't. We'll stop it," he wrote referring to Trump becoming president. Republicans focused on these messages as evidence that the investigation may have been tainted by political bias.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in the report that he "found no evidence in emails, text messages, instant messages, or documents that suggested an improper purpose” in Strzok's handling of the investigation.
On both Fox and Friends and CNN, the president also commented on his recent summit with North Korea, new trade tariffs, his birthday, and the G7 summit.
To the White House pool's knowledge, this is the first time a sitting president has walked the distance from the Oval Office to the front lawn to give a live TV interview.
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.