President Donald Trump said he was deeply disturbed and saddened by the details found in the release of the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) report on Monday.
“This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it and they got caught,” Trump said. “They got caught red-handed.”
The president spoke to reporters at the White House during a roundtable meeting on freedom of education.
The report was received with mixed results from Trump allies and critics, noting that Inspector General Michael Horowitz exonerated the motivations of top FBI officials despite multiple failures in the FISA applications process to spy on members involved with the Trump campaign.
But Trump said he found the report more disturbing than he thought, noting that he would receive a detailed briefing later in the afternoon.
“It’s a disgrace what’s happened with respect to the things that were done to our country. It should never again happen to another president,” Trump said. “It is incredible, far worse than I would have ever thought possible.”
Trump noted that the report showed that FBI officials “fabricated evidence and they lied to the courts” on the FISA applications, which in his mind, was unforgivable.
“It’s a very sad day when I see that, very sad day when a lot of people see that, they had no nothing, it was concocted and you say what you want, that was probably something that’s never happened in the history of our country,” he said.
Special Adviser to the President and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said that the report was an embarrassment for law enforcement officials across the country.
“There are so many of us who are career law enforcement today are outraged and I think that the American people really should be terrified that this could happen to you,” Bondi said, calling it the report’s findings as a “horrible day for our country.”
She criticized the FBI officials for fabricating and falsifying emails, lie, and omitting exculpatory evidence to continue the “witch hunt” against President Trump.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said, referring to the ongoing investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham.
Trump also said he looked forward to the Durham report, which he said would be all of the information released so far “plus” additional embarrassing details.
“It’s an incredible thing that happened and we’re lucky we caught ’em,” Trump said.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham also released a reaction from the White House:
The shocking report from the DOJ Inspector General shows an out-of-control FBI under President Obama and former Director Jim Comey. The report makes clear that the phony Steele Dossier was “central and essential” for the FBI to secure wiretaps from the FISA Court to spy on the Trump campaign. But the FBI repeatedly lied to the FISA Court to make Steele seem credible and to hide information showing that the Dossier was false. The Dossier was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee – but that fact was hidden from the FISA Court. Astoundingly, when evidence was repeatedly uncovered showing no wrongdoing by candidate Trump, that also was hidden from the FISA Court. On top of all that, one FBI lawyer altered an email in an effort to continue and extend the wiretapping – and he has been referred for criminal prosecution. All of this shows a repeated effort to mislead the FISA Court long after the FBI was aware the “Dossier” was false, phony and could not be used justify spying on the Trump Campaign. The American people should be outraged and terrified by this abuse of power. This should never happen to another presidential candidate or any American ever again.