The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board claimed that FBI director James Comey “took revenge” on President Trump for claiming Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower by publicly discrediting the claim in his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Monday.
The editors also argued that Trump “blundered” by keeping Comey on as FBI director after the election.
The suggestion as to Comey’s motives came in a column, which will run in Wednesday’s paper, that hammered Trump for making the unsupported claim.
“He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence,” the editors write.
“Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. Sean Spicer — who doesn’t deserve this treatment — was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence,” they continue.
“FBI director James Comey also took revenge on Monday by joining the queue of those saying the bureau has no evidence to back up the wiretap tweet. Mr. Comey even took the unusual step of confirming that the FBI is investigating ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia,” the editors go on to say.
“Mr. Comey said he could make such a public admission only in “unusual circumstances,” but why now? Could the wiretap tweet have made Mr. Comey angry because it implied the FBI was involved in illegal surveillance? Mr. Trump blundered in keeping Mr. Comey in the job after the election, but now the President can’t fire the man leading an investigation into his campaign even if he wants to.”
The WSJ’s sharp critiques of Trump’s tweets are noteworthy in part because the paper has generally taken a less confrontational stance than the New York Times or Washington Post in covering Trump’s claims.
WSJ editor in chief Gerard Baker previously told his reporters to quit if they don’t like the paper’s commitment to objectivity in covering Trump.