“Attacks on our character and demeaning comments ... will not deter agents” from continuing to protect the American people, said a Saturday tweet from the FBI Agents Association, a nongovernmental organization that says it represents 14,000 current and former agents.
“Just look at what is now being exposed in our Department of Justice and the FBI. Look at what’s going on. You have some real bad ones. You see what’s happening at the FBI — they’re all gone, they’re all gone, they’re all gone,” he said, an apparent reference to former FBI Director James Comey and other top agency officials.
“But there’s a lingering stench, and we’re going to get rid of that, too,” he added.
In that reference, Trump was apparently referring in part to a New York Times article Friday that, citing unnamed sources, said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested last year secretly recording Trump. Rosenstein also talked about recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to oust Trump as unfit for office, according to the Times. Rosenstein denied the story.
Trump has long battled with FBI leaders. When Trump fired Comey last year, he called him a “showboat” and claimed he was unpopular within the FBI, despite an outpouring of support expressed for Comey after his departure. The president also railed repeatedly at Andrew McCabe, who was fired earlier this year as FBI deputy in part because of the release of information to the media, which McCabe has said he had every right to do.
The tweet Saturday by the FBI group linked to an earlier statement on its website it issued late last year after Trump said the FBI’s reputation was in “tatters.”
“The true story of the FBI cannot be reduced to partisan talking points,” the group’s December statement. “Special Agents are focused on the Constitution and protecting the public. Their work should be recognized, not denigrated.”
Association president Tom O’Connor appeared to slap at Trump after the president told The Hill news outlet in an interview published Wednesday that he aimed to expose the “cancer” of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
O’Connor on the same day called for more attention to federal agents whose health was harmed as the agency responded to the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Let’s talk about real cancer — cancers that have killed 15 FBI heroes who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks with more falling sick each year,” he said.