Former FBI director James Comey tore into Republican efforts to declassify a memo they claim proves that the FBI utilized false information in the course of obtaining a warrant to investigate ties between the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump and the Russian government.
In a tweet posted Thursday evening, Comey — who was fired last year by Trump for refusing to end the agency's probe — hailed the FBI's recent statements that the GOP-written document is incomplete and misleading and should not be released.
"All should appreciate the FBI speaking up," Comey wrote. "I wish more of our leaders would. But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up."
Comey compared the agency's Republican critics to Joe McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator went on a search for widespread communist activity within various government agencies — literally coining the term "McCarthyism."
"Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy," the former FBI director wrote.
Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted on Monday to release their report and have been working with the Trump administration to get it formally declassified. They also voted against releasing a response memorandum drafted by committee Democrats which criticizes the majority for allegedly taking information out of context in an effort to distract from the ongoing congressional and Department of Justice Russia investigations.
Conservative media outlets have tried to frame the Republican criticism of the FBI and DOJ as motivated by concern for the civil liberties of former Trump official Carter Page, who was one of several former Trump campaign aides whose communications were monitored after they were found to have had extensive contacts with people working for the government of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Republicans have accused U.S. government investigators of relying upon information compiled by a former British spy named Christopher Steele which was funded by the Democratic National Committee in order to obtain a warrant to spy on Page. They have not responded to reports from several news organizations that a federal court had authorized surveillance of Page months before Steele began his work.