Sean Spicer undercut President Donald Trump’s claim that former FBI director James Comey lied earlier this month during his congressional testimony.
Spicer appeared Friday morning on Fox News, where he flatly denied that Trump intended to intimidate Comey by claiming to have recordings of their private White House meeting, where the former FBI director claims the president asked him to scale back the Russia investigation.
“Quite the opposite, I think the president made it very clear that he wanted the truth to come out, he wanted everyone to be honest about this and he wanted to get to the bottom of it,” Spicer said. “And I think he succeeded in doing that.”
Trump accused Comey in a tweet of making false statements to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the president’s personal attorney in the Russia probe essentially accused the former FBI director of perjury.
Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2017
But Spicer told Fox News that Trump forced Comey to tell the truth by hinting he might have recordings, which the president said Thursday he personally did not make or have.
“He wanted to make sure the truth came out, and by talking about something like tapes, (it) made people have to — made Comey in particular think to himself, ‘I’d better be honest, I better tell the truth about the circumstances regarding this situation,” Spicer said.
Spicer pointed out that Comey had told Trump three times he was not under investigation, which the press secretary said had turned out to be true.
“Despite the false reporting that had come out saying Comey was going to do it, he came and testified under oath that, in fact, he did do exactly as the president had said so,” Spicer said. “He had been honest and told the president on three separate occasions that he wasn’t under investigation, and what we know now is there was no collusion and that the only person who leaked was, in fact, director Comey.”