'Worst Deep State Conspiracy Ever': James Comey Shoots Down Donald Trump's Campaign Spying Claims About FBI Russia Probe

Ex-FBI Director James Comey derided the "dumbness" of President Donald Trump's conspiracy theory that the bureau sought to use its Russia investigation to take down his 2016 campaign.

Trump claims that Comey and others at the top of the FBI were corrupted by bias against him and in favor of his Demcratic rival Hillary Clinton. He also claims that the FBI conducted generalized spying on his campaign, which is so far unsubstantiated.

The president has in recent weeks called Comey a "dirty cop," and accused those involved in running the FBI's Russia investigation of treason, tweeting: "My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!"

Writing in The Washington Post, Comey called Trump a liar who does not care about the damage his rhetoric and false allegations are doing to America's institutions, such as the FBI.

Comey said the FBI investigated evidence that the Russians were interfering in the 2016 election and potential links to the Trump campaign through its advisers. The investigation was kept secret by the FBI during the election.

"If we were 'deep state' Clinton loyalists bent on stopping him, why would we keep it secret?" wrote Comey, who has clashed repeatedly with the president and was fired by Trump from the FBI in May 2017, ostensibly for competence issues.

"Why wouldn't the much-maligned FBI supervisor Peter Strzok—the alleged kingpin of the 'treasonous' plot to stop Trump—tell anyone? He was one of the very few people who knew what we were investigating.

"We investigated. We didn't gather information about the campaign's strategy. We didn't 'spy' on anyone's campaign. We investigated to see whether it was true that Americans associated with the campaign had taken the Russians up on any offer of help."

The former FBI director said his investigation conducted electronic surveillance of Carter Page, who had advised the Trump campaign and was suspected of being a Russian agent. Page had left the Trump campaign by that point.

"We asked a federal judge for permission to surveil him and then we did it, all without revealing our work, despite the fact that it was late October and a leak would have been very harmful to candidate Trump. Worst deep-state conspiracy ever," Comey wrote.

He also pointed to his letter informing Congress during the election that he had reopened the Clinton emails investigation, which she blamed for her loss, and that Strzok had drafted the letter.

"And there's still more to the dumbness of the conspiracy allegation. At the center of the alleged FBI 'corruption' we hear so much about was the conclusion that Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied to internal investigators about a disclosure to the press in late October 2016," Comey wrote.

"McCabe was fired over it. And what was that disclosure? Some stop-Trump election-eve screed? No. McCabe authorized a disclosure that revealed the FBI was actively investigating the Clinton Foundation, a disclosure that was harmful to Clinton." Comey concluded: "There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup. Those are lies, and dumb lies at that."

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Trump authorized the declassification of documents relating to the FBI's FISA requests to conduct surveillance during its Russia investigation. Those documents will be reviewed by Attorney General William Barr, who launched a probe into surveillance during the 2016 election.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz is also expected to report imminently on his investigation into whether the FBI abused FISA procedures in its targeted Russian-related surveillance operations.

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US President Donald Trump fired ex-FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. Comey lashed out at Trump's Russia investigation conspiracy theory in a new Washington Post op-ed. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
'Worst Deep State Conspiracy Ever': James Comey Shoots Down Donald Trump's Campaign Spying Claims About FBI Russia Probe | U.S.