WASHINGTON –FBI Director James Comey said the FBI “did a lot last year that confused people” with announcements about their Hillary Clinton investigation during the 2016 presidential election, but emphasized that the bureau is “not on anybody’s side.”
“We want to find as many ways as possible to show people what we’re really like – and especially in a hyper-partisan country, which we are right now, to have people understand we’re not on anybody’s side. We confused people. We did a lot last year that confused people because they’re seeing the world – and I guess I mean this as a criticism – but they see the world through sides,” Comey said Wednesday at the Newseum during the premiere of “Inside the FBI: New York,” a new TV documentary directed by Marc Levin.
“And if you see the world through sides, the FBI doesn’t make a lot of sense to you because you’re saying, ‘why did they help this person and help them and hurt them?’ We don’t see the world that way. We’re not on anybody’s side. We really don’t care. We’re trying to figure out what’s true, what’s fair, what’s the right thing to do,” he added.
Comey’s comments were made shortly after President Trump said it’s “not too late” to fire Comey as the head of the FBI.
“When Jim Comey came out, he saved Hillary Clinton. He saved her life,” Trump said in a Fox Business Network interview this week. “People don’t realize that. He saved her life. I call it ‘Comey 1’ and I joke about it a little bit. When he was reading those charges, she was guilty of every charge. Then, he said that she was intentionally OK.”
Trump also said Comey was “very, very good to Hillary Clinton. That I can tell you. If he weren’t, she would be, right now, going to trial.”
That’s a shift from when he enthusiastically greeted Comey at a White House reception two days after his inauguration and declared the FBI director “more famous than me.” Last month, Comey confirmed an ongoing FBI investigation into Russia’s influence operation during the campaign, including any potential links with the Trump campaign.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to appoint a “special prosecutor” to look into Clinton’s private e-mail “situation.” Shortly after the election, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said Trump would likely not pursue the Clinton email investigation.
Comey also warned the public about the dangers of fake news spreading on social media.
“The most important thing to be done is people need to be aware of the possibility that what they are reading has been shaped by troll farms looking to push a message on Twitter to undermine our confidence. Again, transparency and inoculation are the most important thing to do,” he said at the screening.
Comey was asked why he decided to allow cameras to access to the FBI’s New York office to film the documentary.
“I worry sometimes that people don’t know us,” Comey said. “We have to care what the people think of us because the faith and confidence of the American people is the bedrock that allows us to be believed and, by being believed, to accomplish the good that they try to do in this country.”