Donald Trump has had a love-hate relationship with FBI Director James Comey. The new president alternately criticized and praised the chief of the FBI during the campaign and post-election Russian hacking scandal, but now it seems that all is forgiven. Numerous sources are reporting that President Trump plans to keep Director Comey on the job in the new administration.
Back in July, after the FBI declined to recommend an indictment for Hillary Clinton, Trump accused Director Comey of corruption on Twitter, “FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem.” He also tweeted, “The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very [sic] unfair! As usual, bad judgment.”
In October, when Comey sent a letter to Congress advising them of newly discovered emails in the Clinton case, Trump praised the director. “I have to give the FBI credit,” Trump said in Politico, “It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution. You know that. It took a lot of guts.”
A few days later, Trump reversed course again when Comey excused Clinton a second time. Trump accused Comey of lying to cover Clinton, telling The Sun, “You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days. You can’t do it, folks.” Trump added, “Right now she’s being protected by a rigged system. It’s a totally rigged system. I’ve been saying it for a long time.” Trump even explicitly accused the FBI of covering for Hillary saying, “Hillary Clinton is guilty, she knows it, the FBI knows it….”
After the election, Trump also had sharp words for the FBI over the agency’s conclusion that Russia purposefully worked to help Trump win the election. “I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News. “I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it… No, I don’t believe it at all.”
Now, four days into the Trump Administration, President Trump is apparently past all his concerns about Director Comey’s competence and integrity. Although the Trump Administration has not publicly confirmed that Comey will continue his 10-year term which began in 2013, the New York Times reports that Comey told top agents at the FBI that he had been asked to stay in his position. If true, there may be future chapters in the love-hate saga between President Trump and his FBI head.