Intelligence and DOJ officials who played a starring role in the origins of the Russia probe are surfacing to antagonize President Trump anew — as they publicly endorse former Vice President Joe Biden, who looks increasingly likely to be Trump's opponent in the 2020 election.
Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates is the latest to offer her support to Biden.
“I am supporting Joe Biden for President because I trust him,” Yates said in a statement on Thursday. “I trust him to always put the country’s interests before his own; to tell us the truth; to appeal to our best, not our worst instincts; to unite rather than divide us; and to always treat the presidency as a privilege rather than an entitlement.”
Yates went on to say that she is “not a political person,” but said “there is too much at stake now for any of us to sit on the sidelines.”
“While our country can survive four years of our current president, at the end of eight years, I fear that we will not recognize the nation that we have become. But the future of our country is up to us. We have a choice,” she continued.
“And my choice is Joe Biden,” she said, touting his record and experience. “Our allies will trust us again, and our adversaries will not doubt our strength. He will put an end to the chaos and recklessness that is inflicted on us every day, and bring steady, thoughtful leadership to our nation.”
Yates served as deputy attorney general under former President Barack Obama, and was among several officials to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. She also was involved in the FBI interview of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, which later led to his guilty plea in the Russia probe.
Yates is just the latest to endorse Biden. Last week, ahead of Biden sweeping most of the Super Tuesday contests, former FBI Director James Comey tweeted his support—which the Biden campaign quickly “returned.”
“Voted in first Dem primary to support party dedicated to restoring values in WH. I agree with @amyklobuchar: We need candidate who cares about all Americans and will restore decency, dignity to the office,” Comey tweeted. “There is a reason Trump fears @JoeBiden and roots for Bernie. #Biden2020.”
But Biden campaign rapid response director Andrew Bates essentially rejected the endorsement from a figure who remains polarizing within the Democratic Party, despite his outspoken criticism of Trump.
”Yes, customer service? I just received a package that I very much did not order. How can I return it, free of charge?" Bates tweeted.
Comey was FBI director under the Obama-Biden administration. He was fired by Trump in May 2017.
Bates’ comment reflected lingering resentment among Democrats toward the former FBI boss over his role in the 2016 election.
"James Comey committed malfeasance of historic proportions in 2016, and that's how any Democratic campaign would react," an Obama administration alum and Democratic campaign strategist told Fox News last week.
Comey, just days before the 2016 presidential election, famously announced that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information and her use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.
The move came after Comey and the Justice Department decided months earlier not to pursue charges over Clinton's email practices, saying at the time that the investigation was finished. Democrats, including Clinton herself, have claimed Comey’s decision to reopen the probe contributed to her loss.
Former CIA Director John Brennan, a frequent and extremely vocal critic of Trump, also voiced his strong support for the former vice president on Twitter earlier this month.
“Joe Biden is one of the most honest, decent, practical, & experienced individuals with whom I have ever worked,” Brennan tweeted on March 2. “If nominated & elected, he is capable of unifying our country & restoring America’s standing around the world.”
Last year, Attorney General Bill Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut to review the events leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the origins of the Russia probe, through Trump’s January 20, 2017 inauguration. As Fox News first reported, Durham has since expanded his probe to cover a post-election timeline spanning the spring of 2017—when Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to investigate Russian meddling and potential collusion with members of the Trump campaign during the last presidential election.
Durham has investigated CIA officials and others throughout the intelligence community. Brennan has said that Durham has plans to interview him and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Those interviews have yet to take place, a source familiar with the investigation told Fox News last month.
Meanwhile, while not directly involved in the Russia investigation, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice also offered her endorsement of Biden.
“I’m proud to endorse @JoeBiden for President,” she tweeted earlier this month, along with a photo of the two hugging. “Here he is comforting me on 1/4/17 just after my mother passed away.”
“There is no one kinder, more empathetic and caring than @joebiden,” she continued. “He will lead America with the same deep compassion and decency.”