White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders said that FBI Director James Comey’s inability to control leaks out of the bureau was “one of many” reasons why President Donald Trump decided to fire him.
“I think that’s probably one of the many factors,” Sanders said in response to a question from Breitbart News during the White House press briefing. “I mean you can’t deny somebody that that wasn’t a problem, and so I think that was just another one of many reasons that he no longer had the confidence of the president or the rest of the FBI.”
Trump has repeatedly called attention to FBI leaks to the media about the investigation into his campaign for any collusion with Russia in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Sanders said that director Comey had “essentially taken a stick of dynamite” to the Justice Department after commenting publicly on the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email investigation.
When asked if the president was prepared to fire more officials from the Justice Department, Sanders replied, “Not that I’m aware of today.”
Sanders described a gradual “erosion of trust” surrounding Comey since Trump was inaugurated, and that the president wanted to give him a chance despite the reservations he had about the director. She asserted that it was not true that Trump asked the Justice Department to put together a rationale for Comey’s firing.
“I did speak directly to the president and heard directly from him that he, again, had been considering letting Director Comey go pretty much since the day he took office, but that there was no request by him to have a review at the Department of Justice,” she said.
She said she was “surprised” by Democrats rushing to defend Comey, despite their insistence that he directly contributed to Hillary Clinton’s failure to win the presidency.
“If Hillary Clinton had won the election, which thank God she didn’t, but if she had and she had been in the same position, she had have fired Comey immediately and the very Democrats that are criticizing the president today would be dancing in the streets celebrating.”