Of Course Trump Is Using the Inspector General’s Report to Attack the Russia Probe

The president previews his new line of argument against Mueller’s investigation.

Yang Chenglin/ZUMA

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As widely expected, President Donald Trump seized upon a newly released report by the Justice Department’s inspector general to attack James Comey and commend his own decision to fire the former FBI director in May 2017. “Good instincts,” Trump wrote of himself Friday morning.

The self-admiration comes despite Trump having said in a television interview shortly after the explosive firing that he got rid of Comey because of “this Russia thing.” Trump reportedly followed up on the startling admission by telling Russian officials the dismissal had relieved pressure on the White House.

The president on Friday also blasted two FBI agents cited in Thursday’s much-anticipated report, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. The inspector general criticized anti-Trump text messages they exchanged, concluding they had “cast a cloud” over the bureau. But Trump failed to mention that the report did not find any evidence of political bias in the actions of Comey or the two FBI agents. Trump instead retweeted a string of Fox & Friends clips featuring Jason Chaffetz, in which the former Republican congressman from Utah claimed the report undermined special counsel Robert Mueller’s entire investigation.

“Anything Mueller is doing with his investigation is tainted by the fact that you had these people who had a political objective to take down Donald Trump,” Chaffetz claimed.

The president’s tweets, which are his first public response to Thursday’s report, preview what is expected to be the newest line of attack against the ongoing Russia probes. 

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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