President Trump took to Twitter Wednesday to defend his firing of FBI Director James Comey and attack his critics amid a furious backlash that has roiled Washington.
Democrats and many in the media have cast the firing as a “constitutional crisis,” accusing the president of seeking to bury an FBI investigation into alleged collusion between Trump campaign officials and Moscow.
The administration rationalized the Tuesday firing by saying that Comey, whose handling of the investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE’s use of a personal server while secretary of State infuriated Democrats during the campaign, had the lost the confidence of the FBI, lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the public at large.
Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
The White House had grown increasingly frustrated by the investigations into alleged Russian ties and Comey’s news-making testimony on Capitol Hill, believing that his law enforcement agency should be focusing more on leaks from government agencies.
Trump took those frustrations out on his political enemies Wednesday morning.
The president blasted Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.), who told Trump that he was making a “big mistake" by firing Comey, according to an Associated Press report.
Schumer has called for a special prosecutor to investigate potential connections between Trump's camp and Russia and told reporters at a hastily arranged press conference that the firing appeared to be political. Those remarks provoked a furious response from Trump.
Cryin' Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE stated recently, "I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer." Then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
The president then got personal with Sen. Richard Blumenthal after the Connecticut Democrat hit the cable news circuit to warn of a “looming constitutional crisis.”
Trump attacked Blumenthal over a 2010 controversy in which he admitted to exaggerating his military service.
Blumenthal once said he served “in” the Vietnam War, but admitted under pressure during his reelection campaign that he had only served “during” the war as a reservist in the U.S.
Trump called for an investigation into those claims and said Blumenthal “cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness” when he got caught.
Watching Senator Richard Blumenthal speak of Comey is a joke. "Richie" devised one of the greatest military frauds in U.S. history. For....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
years, as a pol in Connecticut, Blumenthal would talk of his great bravery and conquests in Vietnam - except he was never there. When....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
caught, he cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness...and now he is judge & jury. He should be the one who is investigated for his acts.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
Trump also went after the media for what he said was false reporting. He singled out CNN after political reporter Gloria Borger claimed that longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, who has admitted contact with alleged Russian hacker front Guccifer 2.0, advised Trump to fire Comey.
Trump has a tempestuous relationship with Stone. He brought Stone into his campaign in the early days but has since downplayed their relationship.
Stone is among the former Trump aides who has attracted attention from lawmakers and law enforcement agencies for alleged ties to the Russian hacking.
The Roger Stone report on @CNN is false - Fake News. Have not spoken to Roger in a long time - had nothing to do with my decision.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
Trump also accused Democrats of faking their outrage over the Comey firing, saying that they would have jumped at the chance to fire the FBI director on their own for his handling of the investigation into Clinton’s emails.
During the campaign, Trump reveled in the problems Comey caused for Clinton.
Trump’s critics now say it is the height of hypocrisy for him to use that case as an excuse to fire Comey at a time when he is investigating alleged ties between Trump campaign officials and Moscow.
But Trump sought to cast his critics as the hypocrites.
The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
The president then kicked the former FBI director, who found out he had been fired from television as he was speaking with bureau agents in Los Angeles, on his way out the door.
Administration officials have argued that Comey had “lost the confidence” of the administration and the FBI and was “incapable of doing the job.”
In the immediate aftermath of the firing, the White House circulated a document that highlighted negative stories about Comey.
On Wednesday, Trump retweeted a story from conservative news aggregator Drudge Report titled “10 major FBI scandals under Comey’s watch.”
10 SCANDALS ON DIRECTOR'S WATCH... https://t.co/dnGY08wTBP— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) May 10, 2017
James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017