Washington, May 10 (EFE).- President Donald Trump had been thinking about firing FBI Director James Comey from the first moment he was elected last November, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the daily press briefing on Wednesday.
Sanders, filling in for Press Secretary Sean Spicer, said that Comey committed “atrocities” during his tenure as FBI chief that motivated Trump to fire him on Tuesday.
She said Trump was advised in a letter by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions of “the basic atrocities” Comey had committed “in circumventing the chain of command of the Department of Justice” and this moved him to fire Comey “effective immediately.”
She said that Trump had lost confidence in Comey over the past few months that he therefore decided to fire him, although he had supported the FBI chief’s actions during the campaign with regard to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server.
However, she said that the White House was encouraging the FBI to continue with its investigation into Russian contacts with the Trump campaign, although the administration feels that there is no need for an independent prosecutor, as Democratic and some Republican lawmakers have demanded to guarantee a thorough examination of the facts.
“If Hillary Clinton had won the election – which thank God she didn’t – but if she had and she had been in the same position she would’ve fired Comey immediately. And the very Democrats that are criticizing the president today would be dancing in the streets celebrating, so it’s just the purest form of hypocrisy,” she said.
Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to abruptly fire Comey, saying that he did so because “he wasn’t doing a good job.”
It was the first public comment Trump has made about summarily dismissing Comey, a move that has sparked a political firestorm, and the president made his remarks during a meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office.
“He wasn’t doing a good job. Very simply. He was not doing a good job,” Trump said upon being asked why he had suddenly booted the FBI chief on Tuesday.
When asked if the Comey matter had affected his meeting earlier on Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the president said, “No.”
Trump did not respond to a question about whether the new FBI director – whoever it might be – will be in charge of the investigation the agency is conducting, and which Comey was heading, into Russia’s contacts with the mogul’s election campaign.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump said that both Republicans and Democrats had lost confidence in Comey, and “will be thanking me” for firing him, although he did not mention any repercussions the dismissal might have on the FBI and congressional probes into Russia’s contacts with his campaign.
“The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!” tweeted Trump.
He also said on Twitter that “Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!”A