Following the release of the Department of Justice's inspector general report on Thursday, Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., called former FBI Director James Comey a "political hack" and said he has damaged the agency's reputation.
The report found Comey to be responsible for violating policies with regard to memos, documenting private conversations with President Trump and accused him of leaking information that should never have been made public.
"Power does not change you, it unmasks you," Kennedy told "America's Newsroom." "I believed for a long time – and this report confirms it – Mr. Comey is a meathead. He's a political hack. He hurt the FBI badly."
Kennedy said leaders in government are allowed to have political leanings, but should refrain from acting on them for the sake of the country.
"Do FBI Agents and FBI directors have political beliefs? Sure they do. But they're not supposed to act on them," he continued. "The FBI should not be a political body. And Mr. Comey acted like a political operative while he was FBI director and every day since."
"And it's just sleazy," he added. "I think [current FBI Director] Chris Wray has a lot of work to do to regain... the confidence of the American people for the FBI."
Kennedy said he worries Americans will begin to doubt the sincerity of federal agents and refrain from sharing vital information with them, for fear of being politically persecuted.
"Ninety-nine percent of the men and women of the FBI... are just professionals," he said. "I don't want Americans, if an FBI agent knocks on their door, to have to be worried about well, is he a Democrat or a Republican? He's an FBI agent. His politics [are] not supposed to matter."
Comey tweeted about the report following its release on Thursday and wrote: "I don't need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a 'sorry we lied about you' would be nice. And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me 'going to jail' or being a 'liar and a leaker' — ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long, including the president."
Comey should never have been picked to lead the FBI and his supreme confidence in erroneous beliefs have led to his downfall, Kennedy added.
"I think it's pretty apparent to the American people at this juncture that Mr. Comey is not exactly Mensa material — he never should have been appointed head of the FBI," he said. "And his problem is that he's often wrong but he's never in doubt. And this is just one more example."