Former FBI director: Trump spreading distrust of agency is 'not American'

Retired judge Bill Webster, the only person to serve as director of both the FBI and the CIA, is blasting President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate's racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE's ongoing criticism of the FBI, saying it is “not American.”

In a Tuesday interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Webster said Trump’s description of the bureau as a “broken system” was “not true” and “could adversely affect the confidence the American people have in one of the most important agencies in government.”

“I hate to use that term. I was shocked to hear that he had used it. It’s so inappropriate,” said Webster when asked about Trump’s description of FBI personnel as “scum” at a recent Pennsylvania rally.


“This kind of talk, people think, ‘Well, they must know what they’re talking about,’ but they don’t. They really don't. Take the FBI for a moment. I don’t know of any organization that I have worked with ... that tries harder to do the right thing in the right way,” he said.

Webster also said he believed his longtime friend Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report Davis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November Black Lives Matter, protesters sue Trump admin over aggressive crowd clearing MORE was mistaken about bias against Trump in the intelligence community.

“We’re all human beings. We all vote. We all take our positions. But I think that these organizations try harder not to let their decisions, their recommendations or their behavior undercut the rule of law that we’re trying to protect,” he said.

Distrust of the FBI, Webster said, “does affect the ability of organizations like the FBI that we love and cherish and the CIA that’s done so much to gather intelligence for us. It affects their ability to do their job and their willingness to do their job, and it shouldn’t be. It’s not American, it's not our way of life, and it’s not the rule of law.”

Following a watchdog report released earlier this month that detailed errors and improper actions in the FBI's 2016 investigation of Trump campaign associates, the president has doubled down on his claims that many in the bureau are biased against him.

Webster published an op-ed in The New York Times Monday saying he was “deeply disturbed” by Trump’s comments about the FBI and Director Christopher Wray, whom Trump described as the bureau’s “current director.”

“The president’s thinly veiled suggestion that the director, Christopher Wray, like his banished predecessor, James ComeyJames Brien ComeyGraham postpones Russia probe subpoena vote as tensions boil over GOP votes to give chairman authority to subpoena Obama officials GOP chairmen stake out turf in Obama-era probes MORE, could be on the chopping block disturbs me greatly,” Webster wrote.