One excerpt of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 400+ page report about White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has attracted lots of attention.
Government auditor Matt Separa tweeted the excerpt on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the report was released to the public. In the report, Mueller talked about sworn testimony Sarah Sanders gave him following her claim to the media during a White House press briefing that “countless” FBI agents had confided to the White House that they “are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision,” suggesting many agents lost confidence in then-FBI Director James Comey.
That press briefing came not long after Trump fired him — which, according to an interview Trump gave to NBC’s Lester Holt, he did specifically because of the Russia investigation.
“The evidence does not support those claims,” the report read. “The President told Comey at their January 27 dinner that “the people of the FBI really like [him],” no evidence suggests that the President heard otherwise before deciding to terminate Comey, and Sanders acknowledged to investigators that her comments were not founded on anything.”
In which the Press Secretary tells the Special Counsel she was just lying from the podium: pic.twitter.com/cEHOLCjGxP
— Matt Separa (@MattSepara) April 18, 2019
Claims Sarah Sanders made from the lectern at the White House press briefing about the circumstances surrounding Comey’s firing were already evaluated, and no evidence that FBI morale was so low ever came to light. That’s according to former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who told Congress under oath that “Director [James] Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI, and still does to this day.”
“We have a diversity of opinions about many things, but I can confidently tell you that the majority — the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey,” McCabe said.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Sarah Sanders has had one of her statements debunked. In October of 2017, for example, Sanders suggested that Chicago’s gun violence problem was evidence that them having the “strictest gun laws in the country” didn’t work. Politifact Illinois gave that statement a “pants on fire” rating, citing evidence that Illinois does not require gun owners register their weapons, and prohibits local jurisdictions from imposing their own firearm regulations.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.