Trump says Comey knew he was going to exonerate Clinton

In this June 8, 2017 photo, former FBI director James Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Trump is again tweeting about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation. The latest burst came Wednesday morning in response to the FBI’s release of a heavily blacked-out draft memo by then-Director James Comey in preparation of closing the investigation without criminal charges. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to revive his long-standing complaint about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation, alleging that then-Director James Comey had protected the Democratic presidential nominee by prematurely “exonerating” her before the 2016 election.

“Comey stated under oath that he didn’t do this — obviously a fix?” Trump wrote. “Where is Justice Dept?”

Trump’s latest online burst came in response to the FBI’s release of heavily blacked out draft statements from May 2016 by Comey in preparation for closing the Clinton investigation without criminal charges.

Trump tweeted that the draft statements, whose existence was previously known, show the FBI had exonerated “Crooked Hillary Clinton” long before the investigation was complete. He tweeted: “James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!”

In interview excerpts released in August by the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI officials said Comey and investigators had determined by the spring of 2016 that charges weren’t warranted, and had begun thinking of how the public should be informed of that decision. Clinton was interviewed by the FBI in early July, just days before Comey announced the investigation’s conclusion. That timing has prompted criticism that FBI leadership had prejudged the conclusion before completing the investigation.

When Comey announced the end of the case last year, he said the FBI had found no evidence that anyone intended to violate laws governing classified materials, which it considered a prerequisite for bringing a case.

Trump, as both a candidate and now president, has long complained about the FBI’s handling of the email case, though his criticism has varied.

He initially cited Comey’s actions in the investigation as a basis for Comey’s firing in May, though Trumo later acknowledged that he was determined to replace the FBI director even before the Justice Department had recommended that he do so.

The president complained again after the Senate Judiciary Committee released excerpts of interviews with FBI officials close to Comey. Those interviews were conducted by officials from the Office of Special Counsel who were trying to determine if Comey’s actions had violated a federal law that bars government officials from using their positions to influence an election

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