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Comey admits he was wrong in defending the Russia investigation's FISA warrant process


He was running a victory lap less than a week ago

Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Less than a week after running a victory lap, Former FBI Director James Comey now says he was wrong to defend the FBI's use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process.

Comey recently claimed he had been vindicated by the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report on the investigation into the origins of the 2016 Russia investigation, but the former FBI director changed his tune Sunday morning when Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed him on his past comments, according to the Washington Times.

"He is right, I was wrong," Comey told Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

"I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice have built over 20 years years. I thought they were robust enough. It's incredibly hard to get a FISA. I was overconfident in those because he's right, there was real sloppiness," Comey said.

Comey said in 2018 he had 'total confidence' in FISA process

Comey's admission follows Horowitz's report stating that while political bias did not lead to the opening of the investigation into whether President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russia, there were in fact 17 "significant errors or omissions" by FBI officials in obtaining FISA warrants to surveil Carter Page, a former Trump campaign operative.

In 2018, Comey claimed that he had "total confidence that the FISA process was followed and that the entire case was handled in a thoughtful, responsible way by DOJ and the FBI." He now says the FBI was sloppy.

"[Horowitz] also found things we were never accused of, which is real sloppiness, and that's concerning. As I've said all along has to be focused on. If I were director, I'd be very concerned about it and diving into it," Comey conceded.

Comey ran a victory lap as recently as a week ago

Comey was far more contrite on Sunday than he was less than a week ago. In a Dec. 9 Washington Post opinion article, Comey declared that "the truth is finally out" after the release of the IG report. He also blasted Attorney General William Bar and accused him of acting like a Trump spokesman.

"Well, the wait is over, and those who smeared the FBI are due for an accounting," Comey said at the time. "In particular, Attorney General William P. Barr owes the institution he leads, and the American people, an acknowledgment of the truth."

"Unfortunately, it appears that Barr will continue his practice of deriding the Justice Department when the facts don't agree with Trump's fiction," he added. "The FBI fulfilled its mission — protecting the American people and upholding the U.S. Constitution. Now those who attacked the FBI for two years should admit they were wrong."

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