Comey: Trump tried to 'burn down an institution of justice because he saw it as a threat'

Former FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBiden is the least electable candidate — here's why Top Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann lands book deal Trump to appear on 'Meet the Press' for first time as president MORE accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump campaign buys full page ads in Miami newspapers ahead of Dem debates Trump administration's 'forced diplomacy' with Iran isn't working Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama MORE on Wednesday of trying to damage the reputation of the U.S. justice system "because he saw it as a threat."

"I don't think that we've seen in the history of our country, the president try to burn down an institution of justice because he saw it as a threat," Comey told NBC's Lester Holt. "And the lies he told, forget about me, the lies he told about the agents of the FBI, 'storm troopers,' the lies he told about Bob Mueller, were terrible."

But Comey added that any "damage" to the Justice Department's reputation, particularly the FBI, had been worth it.


"[I]n the long run, the institutions will be fine, because the American people know them and also know this president, know what he's like," he continued, referring to Trump.

Comey also told Holt that he believes his 2017 firing by Trump was "potentially obstruction of justice."

"I thought that's potentially obstruction of justice and I hope somebody is going to look at that," Comey said. "Again, the president appears to be saying, I don't know what's in his head — which is why I can't reach the conclusion — what he appears to be saying is, 'I got rid of this guy to shut down an investigation that threatened me.'"

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE was appointed to his role in 2017, eight days after Comey's firing. Comey was leading the FBI's investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Mueller submitted the conclusions of his report on Friday, but found no evidence of coordination between Trump and the Kremlin. 

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? Top Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Mueller to testify publicly on July 17 MORE said Mueller's report did not provide sufficient evidence for an obstruction of justice charge. Mueller's report, however, did not exonerate Trump.

Comey said Mueller's conclusion about there being no collusion was "good news no matter what party you're associated with."