Trump again lashes out at sacked FBI chief Comey's handling of Clinton investigation

Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in prior to testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washington, US on June 8, 2017.
Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in prior to testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washington, US on June 8, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - President Donald Trump on Friday (Sept 1) lashed out anew at the FBI director he fired in May, charging that James Comey had "exonerated" Hillary Clinton before fully completing the investigation into her use of a private email server.

In an early morning tweet that appeared to seize on a statement from two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Comey's handling of the inquiry, Trump complained of "a rigged system," returning to his grudge against the former FBI chief.

While the president had initially cited Comey's conduct in the Clinton investigation as the reason for his ouster in May, he later conceded that he had been stewing about Comey's focus on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to sway the election when he decided to dismiss him.

"Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over," Trump wrote on Friday. "A rigged system!"

Two Republican senators said Thursday that Comey had begun drafting his statement recommending not to charge Clinton before interviewing key aides in the investigation.

The president's message came at the end of a week during which Trump and his aides have worked to portray the president as singularly focused on the devastating toll of storms pummeling Texas and Louisiana, and to project a more empathetic image for Trump.

Just before posting his complaint about Comey, Trump used Twitter to praise the response to the storm, although with a trademark spelling error.

"Texas is heeling fast thanks to all of the great men & women who have been working so hard," Trump wrote. "But still, so much to do. Will be back tomorrow!" About an hour later, Trump posted a corrected version, using the word "healing."