According to the Mueller report, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted to investigators that she misled reporters when she claimed that “countless” members of the FBI had lost confidence in former FBI Director James Comey before he was fired by President Trump, The Hill reports.
In regards to Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s inquiry into whether or not Trump obstructed justice, the report cites multiple false statements Sanders made to the press, which, according to Sanders’ words to investigators, were just a “slip of the tongue.”
According to Mueller, the day after Trump fired Comey in May of 2017, Sanders went in front of reporters and said that Trump “lost confidence in Director Comey.”
“The DOJ 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,” Sanders said.
When a reporter countered that they’d heard from an FBI agent who thought highly of Comey, Sanders replied that the White House “heard from countless [other] members of the FBI that say very different things.”
As The Hill points out, Sanders doubled down on her claims in another press conference that took place on May 11 of 2017. When New York Times reporter Michael Shear asked if her claim of “countless” agents disparaging Comey was really true, Sanders replied, “Between, like, email, text messages, absolutely. Yes.”
“We’re not going to get into a numbers game,” she continued. “I mean, I have heard from a large number of individuals that work at the FBI that said that they’re very happy with the president’s decision.”
But in statements to Mueller’s investigators, Sanders admitted that her claims were a lie.
“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 Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything.”
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