A group representing more than 14,000 active and retired FBI agents has fired back following President Donald Trump’s assertion earlier this month that the agency’s “reputation is in tatters.”
“Attacks on our character and demeaning comments will not deter Agents from continuing to do what we have always done—dedicate our lives to protecting the American people,” the FBI Agents Association, FBIAA, said in a statement on Tuesday, without mentioning Trump by name.
President Trump tweeted on Dec. 3 about the FBI, saying: “After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.”
He followed up with a similar theme while answering reporters’ questions on Dec. 15 at the White House, just before speaking at an F.B.I graduation ceremony. “It’s a shame what happened with the FBI but we’re going to rebuild the FBI, it’ll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump said, according to CNN.
Trump was referring to former FBI Director James B. Comey, who the president fired in May. His dismissal ultimately led to the appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to look into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election.
Thus far the investigation has led to charges against former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former aide Rick Gates, former foreign-policy aide George Papadopoulos, and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Both Flynn and Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to charges that they lied to FBI agents.
Trumps tweets came after news that the top agent assigned to Mueller’s investigation was removed over the summer due to alleged text messages he sent during the campaign that were critical of Trump, as reported by the New York Times and Washington Post.