White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday defended President Donald Trump’s assertion that he had decided to fire former FBI Director James Comey regardless of recommendations from the Department of Justice, a claim that is at odds with official reasons earlier given by the White House.
In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt on Thursday, Trump had contradicted Vice President Michael Pence and White House spokespersons who said that Comey was fired for actions he took against Hillary Clinton last July. Trump, however, insisted that he had planned to fire Comey “regardless” of the opinions offered by leadership at the Department of Justice.
“He’s a showboat, he’s grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil,” Trump told Holt. “You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.”
At Thursday’s White House press briefing, Sanders defended Trump’s decision to breach protocol and discuss the investigation with Comey.
“Isn’t it inappropriate to ask the FBI director if he’s under investigation?” ABC correspondent Jon Karl asked.
“I don’t see that as an issue,” Sanders insisted.
Karl also pointed out that the White House’s rationale for the firing of Comey had shifted in the last 24 hours, from blaming the Justice Department to later claiming that it was the president’s decision.
“Nobody was in the dark,” she argued, and then blamed Democrats for not supporting Comey’s firing. “Democrats want to play partisan games.”
Watch the video below.