President Trump's angry swearing after the Justice Department declined to charge former FBI Director James Comey with a crime last year was reportedly the talk of the White House for days.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred Comey for possible criminal prosecution after an investigation into the former FBI chief's handling of his memos, after which the agency quickly determined there was little on which to build a case.
Upon hearing the news, Trump spiraled into frequent tirades, raising his voice and swearing in the Oval Office, according to the Washington Post. "Can you [expletive] believe they didn’t charge him?” Trump said the night of the decision.
Aides were said to have talked about the outbursts for days.
Comey has become a vocal Trump critic since being fired in May 2017, appears to be the subject of another leak investigation into a dubious Russian intelligence document that factored into how he handled the FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email server.
Trump also has complained about FBI Director Christopher Wray in recent months and believes it was unacceptable that Comey's former deputy, Andrew McCabe, has not been charged with a crime.
McCabe was fired in March 2018, less than two days before he was set to retire, prompted by a DOJ watchdog investigation that found he lied to investigators about his role in authorizing leaks to the media. The Justice Department denied McCabe's appeal to avoid criminal charges, but the case still appears to be in limbo despite a judge's protestation. McCabe sued the Justice Department for wrongful termination in August.
More recently, Trump got frustrated with former U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu, whose office in Washington handled cases related to Comey and other FBI officials. He pulled her nomination to a Treasury Department post this week.
Trump often openly attacks perceived rivals such as Comey and McCabe, but his Twitter missives in recent days about the Roger Stone case prompted a backlash from Attorney General William Barr.
Barr told ABC News on Thursday that Trump’s constant public commentary on the Justice Department makes “it impossible for me to do my job” and claimed that his work would remain independent from the president’s political desires.
Barr’s gripes about Trump followed the president criticizing prosecutors' initial seven-to-nine-year sentencing recommendation for Stone, his longtime friend who was convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress.
Trump denied his tweets, which called the guidance a “miscarriage of justice,” were interfering in the case. Barr has also claimed the decision to scale back Stone’s sentencing recommendation was made before Trump slammed the guidance. The four prosecutors who made the initial recommendation dropped from the case after the Justice Department intervened.