Former FBI director James Comey claimed Monday that a damning Justice Department report about the genesis of the lengthy Russia probe exonerated the role of the powerful federal agency he led at the time.
The report, released by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, described FBI agents ignoring the flimsiness of evidence they took to judges who green-lighted the surveillance of an adviser to Donald Trump's campaign in the final months before the 2016 election.
But Comey focused on a secondary point, Horowitz's conclusion that the probe itself was not launched as part of a politically biased attempt to railroad Trump as he sought the presidency.
He wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that 'the allegation of a criminal conspiracy was nonsense. There was no illegal wiretapping, there were no informants inserted into the campaign, there was no "spying" on the Trump campaign.'
The essay appeared on the Post's website less than 2 and 1/2 hours after the DOJ released the 476-page report. It's unclear whether he wrote it beforehand or afterward.
Former FBI Director James Comey, pictured in October, calimed in an op-ed Monday that a 476-page inspector general report cleared him and the FBI of wrongdoing related to the launch of the lengthy Russia probe that dogged President Donald Trump for nearly three years
Comey's name appears in the report's text more than 100 times. DOJ policy would typically allow him pre-release review of only the portions that concerned him directly.
Cindy Andreade, a publicist who promoted the op-ed Monday afternoon, declined to say when Comey sent his op-ed to the newspaper.
Comey said in an MSNBC interview that the Fox News Channel's morning show cancelled a planned interview shortly after the report's release.
'I offered to go on "Fox & Friends," which I gather is a very important program for supporters of the president. And they agreed last night to book me at 8:00 tomorrow,' he claimed, adding that 'after the report came out they canceled my appearance. I guess they must have read the report.'
A Fox News spokesma fired back: 'James Comey was not booked and was never confirmed to appear on Fox & Friends.'
Two Fox News hosts, Marth McCallum and Bret Baier, tweeted