Former President Donald Trump said that, while in the Oval Office, he did not know everything the Central Intelligence Agency was doing.

During an interview with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, in response to a question of whether he was confident in knowing everything the CIA was doing, former President Trump said, “No, I’m not.”

“It’s a very interesting group of people,” he said. Although he said he had good relationships with CIA personnel, “I was a little surprised.”

The interview was posted on Aug. 23 on Mr. Carlson’s page on X, formerly Twitter, in what is an effort by the Trump campaign to counter-program the GOP presidential primary debate on Fox News, moderated by anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

President Trump credited the CIA for taking part in killing bad actors, including Qasem Soleimani, who led the Quds Force, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Gen. Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad Airport in Iraq in January 2020.

“We did some very good work with the CIA,” he said.

President Trump said it was “us,” not the CIA, that took him down, though he did not specify who was responsible for taking him out. He also noted the United States’ eliminating ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October 2019.

Asked by Mr. Carlson what he would do to keep the FBI and CIA “under control,” President Trump responded that he had done that by firing FBI Director James Comey.

“I fired Comey. That was a great thing. If I didn’t fire Comey, maybe I wouldn’t be talking to you, or I’d be talking to you about real estate or something else other than politics, right?” President Trump said.

“That was a coup. In my opinion, that was a very sick deal.”

The former president also praised Special Counsel John Durham’s report released earlier this year that found how the FBI opened its probe into candidate Trump ahead of the 2016 election by relying on unverified information from Australia and detailed how the treatment of the Republican candidate differed dramatically from how the bureau acted after it received derogatory information regarding his rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The FBI misled the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, failed to corroborate any substantive allegations in the Clinton-funded anti-Trump dossier in part because top officials displayed a “serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received,” and ignored hundreds of exculpatory statements made by Trump aides who were being secretly recorded by FBI informants, according to Mr. Durham’s report.

“It was fairly good. It could have been a lot tougher,” President Trump said of the report. “It explained how corrupt it was.”

Mr. Comey, an Obama appointee who was the FBI’s director from 2013 until 2017, defended the bureau after the release of the Durham Report.

There were “definitely” mistakes made in the bureau’s probes, Mr. Comey said in May. “But in complex investigations, there’s always going to be mistakes. It doesn’t mean the FBI isn’t competent, honest, and independent.”

President Trump said Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s report on the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016 was even better.

“I’ll tell you who did a great job was the Inspector General Horowitz. He did a phenomenal report,” he said. The report identified 17 “significant errors or omissions” in the spy applications.

“It was basically a true report [about] how bad they are.”

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Rating: 4.0/5. From 4 votes.
Please wait...