Conservatives praised the Justice Department inspector general's report Thursday that found former FBI director James Comey violated FBI policies over memos of private conversations with President Donald Trump before he was fired, with Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., bashing Comey as a "meathead" and "political hack."
"Power does not change you," Kennedy told Fox News. "It unmasks you. I believed for a long time — and this report confirms it. He hurt the FBI badly.
"Do FBI agents and FBI directors have political beliefs? Sure they do, but they aren't supposed to act on them. The FBI should not be a political body."
Kennedy added, "Mr. Comey acted like a political operative while he was FBI director and every day since, and it is just sleazy."
President Donald Trump also chimed in Thursday afternoon.
“Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey in the just released Inspector General’s Report. He should be ashamed of himself!” Trump tweeted.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called the report by inspector general Michael Horowitz "a stunning and unprecedented rebuke of a former director of the FBI."
"This is the first of what I expect will be several more ugly and damning rebukes of senior DOJ and FBI officials regarding their actions and biases toward the Trump campaign of 2016," said Graham, who referenced Comey's "off-the-rails behavior."
Andy McCarthy, a former U.S. Attorney, also told Fox News that he has known Comey for "many years," but that he was "very disappointed" the former FBI director "managed to avoid indictment."
He called this "a moment to be introspective — and I hope he thinks about that and maybe now is the time to think about his own behavior."
"If somebody in Comey's agency had done what he did, he would have terminated them in nothing flat," McCarthy added.
The Twittersphere quickly lit up with comments from across the spectrum on the inspector general's report — and Comey received virtually no praise for his actions.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, tweeted: "Now we know why Comey didn't want to prosecute [Democrat Hillary] Clinton: He didn't see a problem mishandling sensitive information.
"After clearing her, he did it too. Comey, like Clinton, thinks he's above the law."
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairs the House Freedom Caucus and tweeted: "James Comey constantly described himself as acting in favor of a thorough process and transparency — even as he routinely hid information from President Trump about the dossier's shoddy credibility and Clinton paid-for origins."
Meadows was referring to a dossier on unsubstantiated allegations of the Trump campaign's Russian activities that had been prepared during the 2016 contest by former British spy Christopher Steele. He was paid in part by Clinton's campaign.
The FBI cited the dossier in obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to secretly conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
In one of several tweets, Matt Wolking, deputy communications director for Trump's 2020 campaign, said: "Every American should thank @realDonaldTrump for getting rid of the cancer on our democracy that was FBI Director James Comey."
Wolking also tweeted: "This DOJ IG report is the second report exposing Comey as someone who believed he was above the law, and was justified in breaking the law 'if I love this country.'
"This is a truly dangerous mentality for an FBI director to have."
Benjamin Wittes, editor-in-chief of Lawfare.com, whom Comey once described on Twitter as a "good friend," retweeted a post from consultant and MSNBC analyst Matthew Miller, whom he called a "famed Comey apologist."
"This is perhaps the stupidest investigation the IG has ever done, and one of its dumber conclusions," Miller's post reads. "Talk about fiddling while Rome burns."
Wittes later highlighted four pages of the IG report, alleging that "Deep State coup plotting conspirators" Lisa Page and Peter Strzok — former FBI staffers who were later found to have exchanged negative Trump texts during the campaign — and ex-FBI general counsel Jim Baker were "retroactively reviewing Comey memos for potentially classified material and protecting the president at Comey's expense."
In his own tweet, Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel and former Republican Senate candidate from Louisiana, said he was "sad but not surprised Comey not prosecuted, confirms dual justice system, one for us serfs and one for the elites."
Tom Fitton, president of the Judicial Watch oversight group, retweeted his Aug. 7 comments: "Comey's illegal leaking these FBI files as part of his vendetta against President @realDonaldTrump (directly resulting in the corrupt appointment of Robert Mueller) ought to be the subject of a criminal investigation."
Jeff Pritchard, who maintains two police-focused Twitter feeds, said: "On behalf of every honorable oath-upholding FBI agent I'll say what they can't.
"A dirty cop who's articulate, well educated, and highly placed is still just a dirty cop. This is the new uniform of the day, thanks to you Comey — and you couldn't care less."
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