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Trump admits his White House spokespeople can’t be trusted

“It is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy…”

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

The morning after President Trump acknowledged everything the White House has been saying about why he fired FBI Director James Comey was a lie, he told us not to expect truthfulness from his official spokespeople.

Comey was fired Tuesday evening amid an active and escalating FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties with Russia. During the White House news conference on Wednesday, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to answer questions about why Trump included a bizarre self-exoneration in the letter he wrote to Comey announcing his firing.

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“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” Trump wrote.

Asked about that, Huckabee Sanders told reporters that providing information about Trump’s rationale is “above my pay grade.”

“Look, I think it was something that was far above my pay grade, was decided to be included, and again, I’m not going to get into the specifics of that,” she said, before abruptly ending the presser and walking away from the podium.

At that time, the White House’s story was that Trump fired Comey after receiving a recommendation to do so from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Sessions broke his promise to recuse himself from any Trump campaign-Russia investigations.) But just before the White House news conference on Thursday, Trump did an interview with NBC where he insisted he had decided to fire Comey on his own.

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During that same interview, Trump acknowledged his dissatisfaction with Comey was based, at least in part, on Comey’s decision to pursue an investigation into potential collusion between his campaign and Russia — a revelation that could open him up to impeachment proceedings.

During Thursday’s news conference, Huckabee Sanders contradicted the acting FBI director about whether Comey’s firing was broadly supported within the bureau. She was left flat-footed trying to defend Trump’s admission to NBC that he called Comey and asked him whether he’s under investigation.

“We’ve talked to — again, several legal scholars have weighed in on this and said there was nothing wrong with the President asking that question,” she said, without naming names.

Trump’s interview left Huckabee Sanders unsure what position she’d be defending until the very last minute, according to Politico:

Sanders, the White House deputy press secretary, was forced to change her planned answers for Thursday’s press briefing just minutes before. She watched as Trump interviewed with Holt, unsure exactly what he’d say. Trump admitted that he asked Comey whether he was under investigation at a dinner where Comey made clear he was seeking to keep his job — and the president changed his entire explanation for why he let Comey go, calling him a “showboat.”

“Nobody was in the dark,” Sanders said Thursday, seconds after saying she gave an incorrect answer the day before because she had been in the dark.

Later Friday morning, Trump suggested he may cancel future White House news conferences if reporters continue to be hard on Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Huckabee Sanders.

Despite his tweets, two unnamed White House officials told Politico that Trump has been pleased by Huckabee Sanders’ performance this week.