New documents make it evident that Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied about the FBI’s lost faith in former Director James Comey.
Last May when President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, then-Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that they had heard from rank and file FBI agents who had lost faith in their director, but newly discovered documents tell a different story.
Monday morning, Lawfare blog wrote, “Over the next few days, a wealth of evidence emerged to suggest that Trump and Sanders were playing fast and loose with the truth. But we now have the documents to prove that decisively.” Taking aim at the Trump White House’s whining about leaks, they noted that the disclosures were “not a leak but an authorized action by the FBI, which released to us under the Freedom of Information Act more than 100 pages of leadership communications to staff dealing with the firing.”
They tell the story of a much respected Chief, not a “nut job,” as Trump called Comey. The documents reveal “‘shock’ and ‘profound sadness’ at the removal of a beloved figure to whom the workforce was deeply attached. It also shows that no aspect of the White House’s statements about the bureau were accurate—and, indeed, that the White House engendered at least some resentment among the rank and file for whom it purported to speak. As Amy Hess, the special agent in charge in Louisville put it: ‘On a personal note, I vehemently disagree with any negative assertions about the credibility of this institution or the people herein.'”
At the time, Sanders claimed the President had “countless conversations” with FBI members, and that the “the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.” Sanders doubled down the next day, claiming she had personally “heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision.”
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) May 10, 2017
The point here is, as Benjamin Wittes wrote, “this is a factual dispute with a large body of objective evidence behind it.”
The facts prove that the White House made false claims about the reasons for firing Comey, the question arises again- why was James Comey fired.
Trump fired Comey days after he asked for more resources in the Trump Russia probe.
Sanders can’t claim the “FBI” feels this way when the majority of the emails reviewed by Lawfare demonstrate the opposite. Will she be able to refer to a few people? Probably. No boss is universally liked. But a few outliers do not represent an agency. A few outliers do not justify the President firing Comey because the FBI was in chaos and had lost faith in him.
The White House’s justification for firing James Comey has been blown to bits by these Lawfare FOIA documents, which are a bombshell not because we didn’t already suspect this, but because they prove there was no loss of faith.
So why did Trump fire James Comey.
Today when Sarah Huckabee Sanders stands before the press corps to deliver her daily dose of Trump propaganda that can be seen first on Fox and Friends, the press needs to ask her to be specific about the “countless” FBI members from whom she and the President supposedly heard.