6 Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweets about the FBI that are very awkward now

“When you’re attacking FBI agents because you’re under criminal investigation, you’re losing.”

CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took the extraordinary step of firing FBI director James Comey while his campaign is under active FBI investigation. His administration then spent the next three days telling a shifting story about why Trump decided to fire Comey when he did.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was responsible for sharing the administration’s elusive official line of reasoning during the White House news conferences. She characterized Trump’s decision to fire Comey amid an active investigation into his campaign as somehow consistent with the “drain the swamp” message Trump used in the last weeks of the campaign.

“Frankly, I don’t think it matters what this president says. You’re going to have Democrats come out and fight him every single step of the way,” she said on Wednesday. “I think that’s one of the things that’s wrong with Washington, and I think that’s one of the reasons that we’ve got to get back to focusing on those issues and frankly draining the swamp a little bit further.”

But Huckabee Sanders, who served as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, operated with a different notion of “drain the swamp” in late October, when she suggested via Twitter that the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails meant Trump was a better choice.

Huckabee Sanders spent time on Wednesday and Thursday attacking Comey for allegedly losing the confidence of FBI rank-and-file — an assertion contradicted by acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe during his sworn testimony on Thursday, when he said Comey enjoyed “broad support within the FBI and still does to this day.”

On Wednesday, Huckabee Sanders accused Comey of committing “atrocities” during the Clinton email investigation. On Thursday, she said, “I’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision.” She had a very different view about the implications of attacking the FBI during the campaign, however.

Candidate Trump commended Comey’s handling of the email investigation. When Comey made public his decision to revive the probe in late October, Trump said “it took guts for director Comey to make the move that he made… It took a lot of guts.” Nonetheless, Trump this week had the audacity to cite Comey’s handling of the case as a reason he fired him.

That’s quintessential hypocrisy. And yet in October, Huckabee Sanders accused Clinton of the H-word after her campaign criticized Comey for going public about the revived probe.

Huckabee Sanders also accused Clinton of undermining Michelle Obama’s “when they go low, we go high” dictum by criticizing Comey — something she spent a good chunk of this week doing — and characterized such attacks as “off message.”

Huckabee Sanders isn’t the only White House official who has posted tweets about FBI investigations that are very awkward in hindsight.

According to numerous reports, Trump fired Comey in part because the FBI director refused to pledge personal loyalty to him during a dinner that took place on January 27. But Trump once had a very different view about the importance of an independence Justice Department.

In late October, Huckabee Sanders asked people to imagine a world in which a Republican presidential candidate was under FBI investigation.

Turns out we didn’t have to imagine — as Comey publicly disclosed in March, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia began last July. Suffice it to say Comey’s decision not to alert the public about that investigation wasn’t among the list of grievances included in the Justice Department memo Trump cited as justifying his termination.

Despite the fact that she was a senior adviser in a campaign that is currently the subject of an active probe, Huckabee Sanders said this week she’s in touch with “countless members of the FBI” who gave her feedback about Comey’s job performance. Trump, meanwhile, raised his own obstruction of justice concerns by saying he personally called Comey and asked him if he was being investigated.