Sarah Huckabee Sanders wants America to "move on" from the Russia investigation

The Deputy White House press secretary said President Trump wanted to fire Comey since "the day he was elected"

Published May 10, 2017 4:04PM (EDT)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders (AP/Susan Walsh)
Sarah Huckabee Sanders (AP/Susan Walsh)

The White House can't get its story straight — once again.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump did not direct Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire FBI Director James Comey, but the president had "lost confidence" in Comey and had been contemplating firing him since "the day he was elected."

In the days leading up to the election, however, Trump praised Comey on multiple occasions. In January just a few days after he took office, Trump also blew the former FBI director a kiss. Sanders said that the situation was "very different" because Trump was a candidate for president at the time.

"Once you take over leading the Department of Justice, that's very different than being a candidate in a campaign," she said.

Sanders said there has been an "erosion" of confidence in Comey after a series of "missteps and mistakes" over the course of "the last several months, and frankly the last year." She added that he had committed "basic atrocities." Sanders insisted that Rosenstein had acted on his own.

But Trump did have a conversation with Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday according to Sanders, where "they had come to him to express their concerns." Trump then asked that "they put those concerns and their recommendation in writing," Sanders said. "Having a letter like the one he received and having that conversation that outlined the basic atrocities in circumventing the chain of command and the Department of Justice."

When asked if Trump intends to shut down the ongoing Russian investigation (which he once called a "taxpayer-funded charade"), Sanders said that the president has "encouraged" Department of Justice officials to continue with what they deem "appropriate and see fit." She also added that the president has encouraged the House and Senate committees to continue probing as well.

Sanders also said she was surprised that the Democrats have expressed concern over Comey's firing. "Frankly, I think it’s startling that Democrats aren’t celebrating this since they’ve been calling for it for so long," she said, adding that she hopes that the investigation can be completed so that the administration can "move on and focus on the things that frankly I think most Americans are concerned with." She reiterated, "There's no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia."

By Charlie May

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Donald Trump Fbi James Comey Russia Investigation Sarah Huckabee Sanders White House Press Briefing