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WATCH: Former FBI agent schools pro-Trump lawyer on ‘Deep State’ conspiracy theory

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Josh Campbell, Anderson Cooper, and Jim Schultz (Image credit: CNN)

On Tuesday’s edition of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” former FBI Director James Comey’s assistant Josh Campbell clashed with President Donald Trump’s former Associate White House Counsel Jim Schultz over Comey’s sharp pushback on right-wing claims about an attempted FBI “coup” on the president.

“Jim, do you believe this was a coup attempt against the president?” asked Cooper.

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“Look, I think as American citizens, we all hope there was no coup attempt against the president, that there was no spying that was going on in the campaign,” said Schultz. “And I believe that officials are looking at that now and are going to come to their own determinations. It gets a little tiresome with the self-adulation and Comey trying to portray himself as the paragon of ethics in this country.

Schultz added that, “Michael Horowitz, the person who’s been the longtime inspector general at the Department of Justice was very critical of how he handled things during the Clinton administration. Calling him things like insubordinate and serious errors in judgment were made. So for him to be on his high horse on this, if I were advising Jim Comey, I would tell him not to do it.”

“Josh, Jim makes the accurate point that the inspector general was critical of Comey in how he handled the press conference and the Clinton stuff,” said Cooper. “Would it be logistically possible, given how long of a bureaucracy the FBI is, to get that many agents, who, you know, have taken an oath to defend the Constitution, to conspire to carry out an attempted coup as the president is alleging?”

“Well, you hit on it,” said Campbell. “And as James Comey has said, as I’ve said, as other people have said, anyone with a brain can understand, this notion that there was this deep state cabal that was out to get the president, the President-elect of the time, doesn’t survive the first contact with logic. All it takes is one iota of critical thinking to understand just how ridiculous this is.”

“As Comey mentions in his op-ed, if you were to believe there was a cabal out to get him, why didn’t they leak that his campaign was under investigation for alleged ties to a hostile foreign intelligence service?” said Campbell. “They didn’t do that. They conducted their investigation in secret.”

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“One other point he makes … which I think a lot of people accept now, is that if you go back and look at the FBI’s actions in 2016, they were almost universally detrimental to Hillary Clinton,” said Campbell. “These were the same people working the investigation. If their goal was to get Donald Trump, why did they take actions that then cost Hillary Clinton the election? The whole thing is a house of cards. The worst thing about it is that this campaign of attack is meant to manipulate the public, nothing more. It’s shameful.”

Confronted with this logic, Schultz floundered.

“Look, I’m not an FBI investigator. I don’t know what the FBI knows and doesn’t know. And quite frankly, none of us do at this point in time, as to what was going on,” said Schultz, adding that Mueller’s report found “no collusion” and that “it’s a good thing” that the Russian plot to interfere with the election was uncovered, so everyone should want an investigation into the investigators as well. “And I just don’t understand — why, now, does Comey come out?” he complained.

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