Former FBI Director James Comey responded to a tweet from President Donald Trump with an image of pop star Mariah Carey asking, “Why are you so obsessed with me?”
As of Thursday, the president had directly mentioned Comey in tweets 189 times since the day after Trump fired him on May 9, 2017, and only six times before that. The latest tweet accuses Comey of lying to Congress and leaking “classified information,” as compared to the criminal deeds of former Trump adviser Roger Stone.
“‘They say Roger Stone lied to Congress.’ @CNN … OH, I see, but so did Comey (and he also leaked classified information, for which almost everyone, other than Crooked Hillary Clinton, goes to jail for a long time), and so did Andy McCabe, who also lied to the FBI! FAIRNESS?” tweeted Trump, prompting the response from Comey.
Stone was sentenced to three years and four months in prison on Thursday. Prosecutors in the case had initially recommended guidelines of between seven and nine years out of a possible 50, but the Department of Justice controversially stepped in and demanded a lower sentence after the president took to Twitter express his displeasure at the “miscarriage of justice.”
Stone was convicted on seven felony counts related to the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The investigation was initially led by Comey until his dismissal, then taken up by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who preceded Comey as director of the FBI.
The Mueller investigation eventually found that Russia did interfere in the election to benefit Trump, although it did not find sufficient evidence for collusion by Trump. Although the president often claims otherwise, the investigation did not exonerate him of colluding with Russia.
Trump has frequently targeted Comey on social media and at rallies, often claiming that he was part of an unfair “witch hunt” against him. A December 2019 report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the FBI and Comey had not acted with any bias against Trump.
Before the Stone tweet, Trump’s most recent mention of Comey falsely claimed that he was involved in the prosecution of disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was granted clemency by Trump on Tuesday.
The former governor was convicted in 2011 of multiple federal corruption charges including attempting to sell the vacant senate seat of former President Barack Obama.
“Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat. He served 8 years in prison, with many remaining,” tweeted Trump Wednesday. “He paid a big price. Another Comey and gang deal!”
Comey was not involved in the Blagojevich case and was not part of the FBI or the Justice Department during the time the former governor was investigated and convicted.
Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of Blagojevich was accompanied by clemency for several other controversial figures, including pardons for “junk bond king” Michael Milken and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
Speculation over whether Trump could also grant a pardon to Stone has been widespread in recent days. The president has not publicly weighed in on the issue but remarked that his longtime friend has a “very good chance of exoneration” during a speech in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday.