White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders now admits that she lied to reporters after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in 2017. But in both special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and then Thursday night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, she wouldn’t use the L-word.
She claimed it was just a “slip of the tongue.”
After Trump fired Comey, Sanders told reporters that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in the director. She also claimed to have heard from “countless” members of the agency who were “grateful and thankful” to Trump for firing the director. However, she later told Mueller’s investigation that neither statement was true:
“Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from ‘countless members of the FBI’ was a ‘slip of the tongue.’ 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.”
On Thursday, she used the “slip of the tongue” line again with Hannity.
“I acknowledge that I had a slip of the tongue when I used the word ‘countless,’” Sanders said. “But it’s not untrue… that a number of both current and former FBI agents agreed with the president.”
She also called firing Comey “one of the best decisions that the president made.”
According to data obtained by the Lawfare blog, an internal survey by the FBI found that rank-and-file confidence in the agency’s senior leadership plunged in the year after Comey was fired.