Donald Trump and those in his corner have consistently slammed James Comey as a liar and a leaker, even painting him as someone that Comey’s own FBI wanted fired. But is that entirely true?
A FOIA request reveals hundreds of internal FBI emails that show the inside of the real reactions of the FBI to Comey’s termination, which point to the opposite of the sentiment that Donald Trump promotes.
Benjamin Wittes is a Senior Fellow at Brookings who filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act and had this to say about what was given to him in the documents:
Benjamin Wittes says…
According to that report, which you can read here, while Trump and his supporters tried to frame the firing as good for the FBI and show that agents wanted a change in leadership, these emails obtained through the FOIA request paint a picture of an agency that was devastated by the news.
Here are some of the reactions from FBI agents:
-“I just saw CNN reporting that Director Comey has been fired by President Trump. I have no notification from HQ of any such thing. If I receive any information from HQ, I will advise. I’d ask all to stand by for clarification of this reporting. I am only sending this because I want everyone to know I have received no HQ confirmation of the reporting. I hope this is an instance of fake news.”
-“Unexpected news such as this is hard to understand but I know you all know our Director stood for what is right and what is true!!! . . . He truly made us better when we needed it the most.”
-“I need for all of you to make sure our/your folks are doing OK. Check with them today, tomorrow ….you get the idea.”
A writer for the above blog, who also used to work for the FBI and spoke with over 20 agents around the time of Comey’s firing, said this:
“Nearly everyone loved him. The degree of consensus on this point … has been incredible.” She went on: “All of the people I talked to described having the same reaction when they heard that the director had been fired: complete shock, followed by deep sadness.”
These comments are a stark contrast to the story that Donald Trump tells about James Comey.
Lawfare sums it up like this: The bottom line is that the documents tell a remarkably consistent story about the reaction inside the FBI to Comey’s firing, and it is not the story the White House has told about an agency in turmoil. It’s very much the story, rather, that McCabe told the Senate a few days after Comey’s dismissal. Someone, the documents show, stood before the American people the week of the firing and told the truth about the FBI. It just wasn’t Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Donald Trump.