×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

White House: Trump Considered Firing James Comey Since Election Day

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, insisting that he considered letter him go “since the day he had been elected.”

Trump expressed support for Comey last month, saying in an interview with Fox Business that he had “confidence” in him.

But Sanders said that there had been an “erosion of confidence” in the way that Comey had handled his job over a period of weeks and months. In October, during the presidential campaign, Trump actually praised Comey’s decision to go public with his decision to reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

“The president was wearing a different hat back then,” Sanders said. “He was a candidate.”

Sanders also said that Department of Justice officials came to Trump to express concerns about Comey, and the president asked for a memo. The result, she said, was the Tuesday memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in which he faulted Comey for Clinton’s investigations.

Sanders even referred to the way that Comey handled the investigation as “atrocities in circumventing the chain of command.”

She also took aim at Democrats who have sharply criticized Trump for firing Comey as he was leading an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Sanders said that it was “startling” that Democrats were not “celebrating” Comey’s firing given their criticisms of him.

She also rejected calls for a special prosecutor to look into Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying that they do not think it’s necessary. She did say that the FBI should complete their investigation, but that the administration was anxious to “put it behind us.”

Sanders suggested that Comey’s testimony before a Senate committee last week was a breaking point, when Comey said that he had no regrets over how he handled the Clinton investigation. Sanders said that what Comey did was to take “a stick of dynamite” and thrown it into the Justice Department chain of command.

All news networks carried her briefing, and ABC and NBC broke into regular programming to air her remarks.

She said that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was absent because he was on previously scheduled reserve duty and that he would be gone the rest of the week.

More Biz

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Dropped by Sony Music

    Sony Music has decided to dissolve its working relationship with R. Kelly, Variety has learned. No external announcement of the move is planned in the immediate future, says a source, who added that the company took its time to wade through the issues “responsibly” and avoid legal ramifications. R. Kelly was removed from the RCA [...]

  • CAA HQ LA

    Ex-Agent Stuart Manashil Ordered to Repay CAA in Fraud Case

    Former literary agent Stuart Manashil was ordered on Thursday to repay a $23,975 commission to CAA, which he admitted he had illegally diverted to a friend. Manashil, who now runs his own management company, pleaded guilty in March 2018 to a federal wire fraud charge. In a letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, Manashil [...]

  • "The Continent," directed by Chinese racer

    Alibaba Pictures Buys Into Chinese Director Han Han's Film Studio

    Alibaba Pictures confirmed that it has invested an undisclosed amount in Chinese celebrity blogger-turned-film director Han Han’s Shanghai Tingdong Film. Han’s upcoming “Pegasus” is one of the most anticipated films of the year in China. Alibaba Pictures, part of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is now the second-largest stakeholder in Tingdong. It has a 13.1% stake, according to Chinese [...]

  • Phil McIntyre Steps Down as Roc

    Phil McIntyre Steps Down From Roc Nation Management, but Remains Affiliated With Company

    Phil McIntyre has stepped down as president of Roc Nation Management, but his PhilyMack management company remains affiliated with Roc, a source close to the situation tells Variety. PhilyMack, which McIntyre founded in 2006, partnered with Roc Nation in 2015. The source stressed that McIntyre’s role at Roc Nation Management  — whose clients include Rihanna, [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial

    Ben Brafman Drops Out of Harvey Weinstein Rape Case

    Harvey Weinstein has officially parted ways with defense attorney Ben Brafman, releasing a joint statement Thursday announcing the move. Weinstein had clashed with his defense attorney over strategy in his rape and sexual assault case. The pair issued a statement saying their parting was amicable, and that Brafman would cooperate fully with Weinstein’s new attorneys. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content