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

Former FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyNadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime We've lost sight of the real scandal Former Obama officials willing to testify on McCabe's behalf: report MORE accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest 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 MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation 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 BarrClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Democrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt 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."