Trump blasts FBI ahead of speech at bureau but tells graduating class he 'has their back'
President Trump told a graduating class of law enforcement officers at the FBI Academy on Friday that he “has your back 100 percent” and pledged his White House will always stand behind police.
“The president of the United States has your back 100 percent,” Trump said in a 17-minute speech to state and local law enforcement officers who competed a special training course at the bureau.
"There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time."
Trump's support for law enforcement has been no secret, but the comments at the FBI Academy came as bad blood between the White House and bureau has reached an all-time high. Trump has blasted the bureau’s senior leadership and its reputation, calling it “in tatters” and “the worst in history.”
"It's a shame what's happened with the FBI," Trump said Friday, moments before he left for Quantico. "But we're going to rebuild the FBI. It'll be bigger and better than ever.
"Everybody -- the level of anger at what they've been witnessing with respect to the FBI is certainly very sad," he added.
But during his speech, the president praised agents who keep the country safe and whom he does not blame for the investigations that have dogged his administration.
He did, though, take aim at the growing violence in Baltimore and Chicago.
“What the hell is going on in Chicago? What the hell is happening there?” he asked, which was followed by an awkward silence and then mild applause.
The White House said Friday newly revealed FBI records show there is an “extreme bias” against Trump among senior leadership at the FBI.
Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News that edits to former FBI Director James Comey's statement on Hillary Clinton's private email server and text messages from a top agent critical of Trump are "deeply troubling."
"There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time," Gidley charged, as special counsel Robert Mueller pushes on with a probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia.
Gidley says Trump maintains confidence in the FBI's rank-and-file.
Edits to the Comey draft appeared to soften the gravity of the bureau's finding in its 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state.
Gidley said the disclosure of politically charged text messages sent by one of the agents on the Clinton case, Peter Strzok, were "eye-opening." Strzok, who was in the room as Clinton was interviewed, was later assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller's team to investigate potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. He was re-assigned after the messages were uncovered this summer.
About 200 leaders in law enforcement from around the country attended the weeks-long FBI National Academy program aimed at raising law enforcement standards and cooperation. Coursework included intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.