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Comey "can't imagine" he's a target of internal DOJ probe on Russia investigation

Comey "can't imagine" he's a target of internal DOJ probe
Comey "can't imagine" he's a target of internal DOJ probe on Russia investigation 10:21

Washington — Former FBI Director James Comey said Sunday that he is not concerned about an ongoing examination by the Justice Department into the origins of the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and "can't imagine" he is a target of the probe.

"Given that I know what happened during 2016, which was a bunch of people trying to do the right thing consistent with the law, I'm not worried at all about that investigation of the investigation," Comey told "Face the Nation."

Comey said he has not been in contact with U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was selected by Attorney General William Barr to spearhead the wide-ranging investigation into the FBI's handling of the Russia probe, and said, "I can't imagine that I'm a target."

For more than a year, Durham has been conducting a review of the origins of the FBI's investigation into Russian interference and possible ties between members of the Trump campaign and Russia, including examining the intelligence community's analytic assessments of Moscow's intentions. 

As part of his investigation, Durham interviewed former CIA Director John Brennan for more than eight hours at CIA headquarters Friday, a spokesperson for Brennan said. During the interview, the spokesperson said Brennan learned he was "not a subject or a target" of a criminal investigation, but was being questioned as a "witness to events that are under review."

The investigation led by Durham is one of several that have focused on the FBI's probe. Last year, the Justice Department's inspector general found there was no "political bias" by the bureau, but did identify "significant inaccuracies and omissions" in each of the four warrant applications to surveil Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.

While Comey said he is not worried about Durham's probe, he did predict the results will not satisfy President Trump or his allies, who have repeatedly attacked the FBI for launching a "witch hunt" and called the investigation into Russian meddling a "hoax." The president has claimed without evidence that former President Barack Obama and the Justice Department were spying on his campaign.

"Next I'm sure will be an investigation of the investigation of the investigations," the former FBI director said. "They just want to have an investigation to talk about."

Comey also defended the FBI's investigation and said a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee released last week disproves the president's attempts to undercut the bureau's probe. The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump's campaign chairman, "represented a grave counterintelligence threat" because of his close ties to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national labeled a "Russian intelligence officer."

"Let that sink in and then ask yourself, so there was nothing to investigate here, as Bill Barr says, it was a hoax? The Republicans have exploded that nonsense," he said.

Comey also warned that as the 2020 presidential election draws near, the U.S. is still vulnerable to foreign interference, including by the Russians.

"I'm sure the Russians will use different tactics because we've figured out what they were last time. They achieved their objectives in the last election. They've done incredibly well under President Trump. They want him to stay in office. They'll be coming again," he said. "And the problem for us as Americans is you can't effectively stop a threat that the president won't even acknowledge exists. And so, sure, they're going to be in our house again, messing with us."

Pressed on how the intelligence community missed the extent of Russia's campaign to meddle in the election, Comey said "the simple answer is because it had never happened before."

"I don't know why it didn't occur to us that the Russians were doing something that they had never done before, which is to weaponize and actually fire stolen material at our democratic process," he said. "And, look, looking back in hindsight, it seems obvious. I don't know the answer as to why nobody in the intelligence community, none of the analysts, saw this coming. And it ought to be something that we're asking ourselves."

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