WASHINGTON - Pushing his own interpretation of a new report on the origins of the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to threaten FBI Director Christopher Wray for drawing different conclusions.
"I don't know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn't the one given to me," Trump tweeted about the Justice Department findings.
"With that kind of attitude," Trump added, Wray "will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!"
Responding to the report by the Justice Department's inspector general released Monday, Wray implicitly disputed Trump's claims that federal authorities mounted a "coup" attempt against him by investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
"I think it's important that the inspector general found that, in this particular instance, the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization," Wray told ABC News.
Asked if he thought Trump's campaign was unfairly targeted in the Russia investigation, Wray said: "I do not."
In a report issued Monday, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz sharply criticized the FBI's surveillance of a Trump campaign aide but also said the overall investigation into Russian election interference was justified.
The Russia investigation included claims Trump sought to obstruct justice in the investigation - in part by his 2017 decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, Wray's predecessor.
Like Trump, Attorney General William Barr also disagreed with the central findings in the inspector general's report which concluded that the Russia inquiry was justified, but he offered strong support of Wray.
"I have full confidence in Director Wray and his team at the FBI, as well as the thousands of dedicated line agents who work tirelessly to protect our country," Barr said in a written statement following the release of Monday's report.
In his statement, Barr noted that the FBI director is proposing a "comprehensive set of proposed reforms" for the agency, and "I look forward to working with him to implement these and any other appropriate measures."
The Horowitz report said prosecutors did not reach a legal conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice. But it did criticize many of the president's actions as "unusual," and said that "many of the president's acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, took place in public view."
In the wake of the new IG report, Trump and his allies are focusing on the criticism of the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Trump's critics, meanwhile, pointed to Horowitz's finding that the FBI was legally justified in launching its inquiry into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, and that it was not driven by political bias against Trump.
I don't know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn't the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019
There was no "documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI's decision to conduct these operations," the report said.
In morning tweets, Trump also noted the origins of the Russia investigation are still being investigated by Connecticut federal prosecutor John Durham, whose work is being overseen by Barr. That review is now proceeding as a criminal investigation.
In his ABC interview, Wray also disputed another Trump contention by saying there is no evidence that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election the way Russia did.
Trump's dealings with Ukraine are at the root of fast-moving impeachment investigation.
On Tuesday, House Democrats unveiled articles of impeachment, accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, setting up a constitutional clash between the two branches of government that has only happened three times before.
The accusations closely track the Intelligence Committee's findings that Trump withheld a meeting and military aid from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky while pressuring his counterpart to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump attacks FBI Director Christopher Wray over IG report, Russia