Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was harshly criticized by CNN viewers on Monday after she defended President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey with old talking points that the White House had already abandoned.


"The American public, the bureau, the Attorney General, so many senators, members of Congress -- on both sides of the aisle -- had lost confidence in Director Comey, in his ability to do his job," Rutledge told CNN's Kate Bolduan.

Rutledge referenced a letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Jay Rosenstein that was originally cited by White House staff as the reason for Comey's firing, but Trump later said that he had independently made the decision to fire Comey.

"That is a line that the White House gave right after the firing was announced," the CNN host pointed out. "That reasoning though, just hours later, was contradicted by the president."

"The president himself said that he had the Russia investigation on his mind," Bolduan added. "His campaign is the subject of that Russia investigation and Comey was in charge of that Russia investigation. That doesn't smell funny to you?"

Rutledge said that she was "confident" that the Russian investigation would continue.

"Do you support the president's reasoning if it was all because of the Russia investigation?" Bolduan pressed, leaving Rutledge momentarily speechless.

"I've not been convinced that is his reasoning," the Arkansas attorney general replied, sidestepping the question. "He stated immediately thereafter receiving Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein's memorandum to him, after recieving the letter from Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, that those were the reasons for firing Comey."

"He said he was going to do it regardless of Rod Rosenstein," Bolduan remarked.

CNN viewers on Twitter were not impressed with Rutledge's performance.