Comey: 'The FBI doesn't spy, the FBI investigates'

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn Comey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Trump punts on Stone pardon decision after sentencing MORE on Wednesday took aim at Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrStone judge under pressure over calls for new trial The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Congress eyes killing controversial surveillance program MORE over comments about "spying" that Barr believes targeted President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE's campaign in 2016.

In an appearance on "CBS This Morning," the former FBI chief admonished Barr for his use of the word “spy” and said that is not what the FBI does.

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"Yeah, I have no idea what he's talking about. The FBI doesn't spy, the FBI investigates," Comey said of Barr's use of “spying” to describe potential surveillance measures targeting members of the Trump campaign in 2016.

"We investigated a very serious allegation, that Americans might be hooked up with the Russian effort to attack our democracy."

He also lashed out at Republicans for playing politics with the matter.

"The Republicans need to breathe into a paper bag," Comey continued. "If we had confronted the same facts with a different candidate, say, a Democratic candidate, where one of their advisers was talking to a foreign adversary's representative, about that adversary interfering in our election, they'd be screaming for the FBI to investigate it."

 

Comey's comments come after Barr gave testimony to a Senate committee last month in which he said that he believed that the U.S. government engaged in "spying" on the Trump campaign in 2016 before clarifying that he took no position on whether it was justified or legal.

“I think spying did occur,” Barr told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. “But the question is whether it was adequately predicated, and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”

The comments were swiftly rebuked by former members of the intelligence community, including former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperTrump's nomination of an unqualified DNI undermines bipartisan intelligence reform Free Roger Stone The risk of a politicized national intelligence director MORE, who called them "stunning" and "scary."

"I was amazed at that and rather disappointed that the attorney general would say such a thing," Clapper told CNN last month.