Politics

Trump Tweets Comey’s Early Clearing of Clinton Reveals ‘Rigged’ System

After report of tension with Kelly, president tweets chief of staff ‘doing a great job’

A school group from Illinois touring the Newseum in Washington pauses to watch Comey during his testimony about the Russia-Trump probe. On Friday, President Donald Trump said Comey's actions on Hillary Clinton show a “rigged” system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated at 8:53 a.m. By writing a statement exonerating Hillary Clinton over her use of a private server while secretary of state before concluding his investigation, then-FBI Director James Comey revealed a system “rigged” in her favor, President Donald Trump said Friday.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of Judiciary’s Crime and Terrorism subcommittee, revealed Comey’s actions Thursday. They cited transcripts they reviewed of interviews federal investigators conducted last fall with two FBI officials who were close to Comey: James Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff, and Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general counsel of National Security and Cyberlaw.

“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second — that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy,” Grassley and Graham wrote in a letter sent Thursday to senior FBI officials.

Trump has long concluded that the FBI’s investigation of his campaign and possible nefarious ties to Russia is nothing but a “witch hunt.” Despite recent reports suggesting there were meetings with officials sent by the Kremlin and at least one major attempted business deal in Moscow, the president contends there was “no collusion” with any Russian official during the 2016 campaign, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He continued that defense Friday morning, tweeting an attack on Comey, the FBI director he fired after pressing the top cop to drop an investigation of his first national security adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Trump believes Comey “exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over.” He also suggested, without providing evidence, that Comey did “so much more.”

His conclusion from the Grassley-Graham disclosure is Comey’s actions reveal “A rigged system!”

Meantime, the president appeared to respond to a Washington Post report, citing sources close to Trump, that he is growing frustrated with his new chief of staff. The report paints a picture of Trump being annoyed that retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly is trying to manage him too stringently.

Trump fired back on Friday morning, saying in a tweet that Kelly is “doing a great job,” adding he “couldn't be more happy or impressed.”

In a follow-on tweet to that, the president repeated his claim that his administration is accomplishing things “at a record clip.” He then alluded to his and Congress’ fall agenda, which includes averting a government shutdown, raising the debt ceiling, striking a deal on likely multiple Hurricane Harvey relief packages — and a GOP effort to craft a tax overhaul bill.

Trump tweeted that “many big decisions” are ahead in the next few weeks. And he sent a message to lawmakers by using his governing philosophy as a marker for how the autumn spending, debt and tax bills should be crafted: “AMERICA FIRST!”

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.