Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders faced a press corps packed with questions Wednesday surrounding President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Here are the highlights from Wednesday’s briefing, Sanders’ second on-camera briefing in fill-in duty for press secretary Sean Spicer, who is on U.S. Navy Reserve duty for the remainder of the week:
Trump has considered firing Comey since Nov. 9. “He’d been considering letting Director Comey go since the day he was elected,” Sanders said. “But he did have a conversation with the deputy attorney general on Monday where they had come to him to express their concerns. The president asked that they put those concerns and their recommendation in writing.”
Sanders said Trump lost confidence in Comey “over the last several months.” “The DOJ lost confidence in Director Comey. Bipartisan members of Congress made it clear that they had lost confidence in Director Comey,” she said in her opening statement. “And most importantly, the rank-and-file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.”
Comey threw “dynamite” into DOJ, Sanders said, explaining why Comey was dismissed just days after Spicer said Trump had confidence in him. “I think one of the big catalysts that we saw was last week on Wednesday,” she said. “Director Comey made a pretty startling revelation that he had essentially taken a stick of dynamite and thrown into the Department of Justice by going around the chain of command when he decided to take steps without talking to the attorney general or the deputy attorney general when holding a press conference and telling them that he would not let them know what he would say, and that is simply not allowed.”