Former FBI Director James Comey slammed President Donald Trump for a tweet Sunday accusing the FBI of breaking into the office of his former attorney, Michael Cohen, earlier this year and called on Republicans to speak out in defense of the agency.
“This is from the President of our country, lying about the lawful execution of a search warrant issued by a federal judge,” Comey tweeted Sunday afternoon. “Shame on Republicans who don’t speak up at this moment — for the FBI, the rule of law, and the truth.”
Trump had lashed out at his estranged former attorney and the FBI in a series of tweets that blasted the Russia investigation.
“Remember, Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’ after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started,” Trump tweeted. “They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE! Why didn’t they break into the DNC to get the Server, or Crooked’s office?”
The FBI executed search warrants on Cohen in the raid, a move that requires the approval of a federal judge.
Last week, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes that included arranging hush payments during the 2016 presidential election to silence women who claim to have had affairs with Trump. Cohen attributed his crimes to “my duty to cover up (Trump’s) dirty deeds.”
Cohen’s sentence is the longest imposed to date on anyone connected to the President or stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election.
Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department in May 2017 to oversee the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and in an order signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller is “authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.”
Mueller’s probe has loomed over Trump’s presidency, and the investigations surrounding Trump by various jurisdictions have expanded to include his campaign, transition, inaugural committee, presidency, the Trump Organization and his defunct charity, the Trump Foundation.
Comey appeared before members of Congress for a closed-door interview earlier this month after he was subpoenaed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and he is set to appear before lawmakers again on Monday.
Comey spoke to reporters after his meeting with lawmakers, saying, “I think the President’s attacks on the Justice Department broadly and the FBI are something that, no matter what political party you’re in, you should find deeply troubling and continue to speak out about.” He also urged the public to “not become numb to attacks on the rule of law.”