Trump’s blast also comes on the day his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will be sentenced after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.
‘Biggest outrage yet in the long, winding and highly conflicted Mueller Witch Hunt is the fact that 19,000 demanded Text messages between Peter Strzok and his FBI lover, Lisa Page, were purposely & illegally deleted. Would have explained whole Hoax, which is now under protest!,’ the president tweeted.
President Trump began his Tuesday with an attack on the FBI
His tweet comes a day after former FBI director James Comey blasted Republicans for not standing up to the president
Trump has been relentless in his criticism of the bureau in days after his former personal attorney Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in jail for multiple crimes – including bank fraud, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.
Comey has been one of his favorite targets but, on Tuesday, he focused on two others he has long criticized: former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
He also got in another use of his favorite term for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation: ‘witch hunt.’
The two agents – who were working on the Russia investigation and having an affair – had texted of their hopes Trump would lose the election.
Trump has accused the bureau – without proof – of deleting messages between the two.
However, the Justice Department’s inspector general, in a report released Thursday, found no evidence the FBI intentionally destroyed text messages between Strzok and Page.
The inspector general faulted an FBI-wide software failure that has resulted in large portions of FBI text messages not being archived, the Associated Press fact checker found.
The report examined a gap in messages from December 2016 through May 2017 from Strzok and Page’s phones. The FBI ultimately managed to recover thousands of the messages.
Some congressional Republicans had suggested the messages were intentionally deleted. The report from DoJ said there was no evidence of that.
Trump’s latest attack on the bureau comes after Comey went after the GOP.
After testifying for five and a half hours on Capitol Hill Monday, Comey did not hide his frustration and fury when he spoke with reporters afterward.
He slammed Republicans for not standing up to the president.
‘Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president mattered, the words of matter, the rule of law matters and the truth matters. Where there are those Republicans today?,’ he asked.
‘At some point, someone has to stand up and in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement, but stand up and speak the truth,’ he added.
Former FBI Director James Comey savaged President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers on Monday
Trump railed against the text messages between former FBI agent Peter Strzok (left) and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page (right)
Several of the Republican lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee – the panels that questioned him – are retiring at the end of the year.
Comey also took the opportunity to criticize the president for calling Cohen a ‘rat’ – an attack Trump used on Sunday when he went on a Twitter rant about the investigation.
‘It undermines the rule of law,’ Comey said of Trump’s attacks. ‘This is the president of the United States calling a witness, who has cooperated with his own justice department a rat. Say that again to yourself at home and remind yourself where we have ended up.’
‘We have to stop being numb to it, whether you’re Republican or Democrat, stand on your feet, overcome your shame and say something,’ he added.
Trump went on a twitter attack in the days after Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison. He also attacked the FBI and claimed they illegally searched Cohen’s office and home.
The agents had a series of search warrants when they conducted the raid that resulted in evidence used against Cohen.
But it was Republican lawmakers that felt the weight of Comey’s wrath as the former FBI director repeatedly went after them for not standing up the president.
‘People who know better, including Republican members of this body, have to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, not be cowed by mean tweets or fear of their base. There is a truth and they’re not telling it. Their silence is shameful,’ he said.
Comey slammed Trump for calling Michael Cohen (above) a ‘rat’
President Trump (left) and his former lawyer Michael Cohen (right) have traded blows since Cohen pleaded guilty to crimes that implicate the President
Comey also blamed Trump for harming the FBI’s reputation.
‘The FBI’s reputation has taken a big hit because the president of the United States has lied about it constantly,’ he said. ‘That’s a tragedy. That will be undone eventually but that damage has nothing to do with me.’