Sarah Sanders lied to the press about FBI chief James Comey's firing, says Mueller report
Sanders, in May 2017, had insisted that 'countless' FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey, leading to his dismissal
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report has revealed that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders acknowledged in the investigations with Mueller's team that she lied to the press about former FBI chief James Comey's firing.
Sanders, in May 2017, had insisted that "countless" FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey, leading up to his dismissal. The Mueller probe, in its review of whether President Trump obstructed justice in firing Comey, cited multiple false statements made by Sanders to reporters.
The White House press secretary, while talking to investigators, claimed that her false statements were a "slip of the tongue" and that they were not based on anything.
President Trump, in a draft termination letter intended for Comey, had, on May 9, 2017, cited low morale within the bureau in his reason for firing the former FBI Director. Sanders, before the press briefing the next day, spoke to Trump about his decision.
"The president, over the last several months, lost confidence in Director Comey," Sanders said in her opening statement during the press briefing. "The [Department of Justice] lost confidence in Director Comey. Bipartisan members of Congress made it clear that they had lost confidence in Director Comey. And most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director."
"Accordingly, the President accepted the recommendation of his Deputy Attorney General to remove James Comey from his position," she added.
During the briefing, when a reporter noted that an FBI agent had expressed his disappointment over Comey's firing, Sanders insisted that "we've heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things."
Sarah, after the briefing, then spoke to Trump who in turn praised her work "and did not point out any inaccuracies in her comments," the Mueller team wrote in the report.
"Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from 'countless members of the FBI' was a 'slip of the tongue'," Mueller wrote. "She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Corney was a comment she made 'in the heat of the moment' that was not founded on anything."