There’s ample evidence to suggest Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team are taking a close look at Donald Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey in May. The president desperately wanted Comey to say he wasn’t under investigation, which ironically led to a series of events that prompted an investigation into the president.
And with that in mind, Trump World has an incentive to trash Comey – or at least try to – since it’s the former director’s version of events that help paint a picture that looks an awful lot like obstruction of justice. Two weeks ago, for example, we learned Trump’s lawyers have met with Mueller and made the case that Comey is not to be believed, “calling him prone to exaggeration, unreliable in congressional testimony and the source of leaks to the news media.”
As recently as 12 days ago, the president himself was still going after Comey by name.
All of which led to yesterday’s White House press briefing, in which Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders continued to focus on the former FBI chief.
“[O]n the Comey firing, I think that we’ve been pretty clear what our position is. And certainly, I think that that has been shown in the days that followed, that the president was right in firing Director Comey. Since the director’s firing, we’ve learned new information about his conduct that only provided further justification for that firing, including giving false testimony, leaking privileged information to journalists, he went outside of the chain of command, and politicized an investigation into a presidential candidate.”
In response to follow-up questions, Sanders would not elaborate on the details of these allegations.
Which is a shame, because they may not be entirely true. For example, we are aware of mistaken testimony Comey made to Congress, but that was a story before Trump fired him, not after, and it’s a little late for the White House to pretend this was a factor in the president’s decision.
I can appreciate why this is a touchy subject for Team Trump. After all, the president already admitted to a national television audience that he fired the then-director of the FBI in the hopes of undermining an investigation into Trump’s political operation – a decision that appears to now be of interest to the special counsel.
But given the circumstances, the White House should probably be more worried about bolstering Trump’s credibility than tearing down Comey’s.