A White House spokeswoman Thursday said the firing of FBI Director James Comey could expedite an end to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
During the daily White House press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a surprising admission that Comey’s removal could affect the investigation.
“The point is we want this to come to its conclusion. We want this to come to its conclusion with integrity, and we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen.”
Her comments in response to a reporter’s question appeared to be in direct contradiction with statements she made earlier in that same briefing.
“Any investigation that was taking place Monday was taking place today,” Sanders said, suggesting Comey’s firing wouldn’t affect the Russia probe.
She also said, “Nobody wants this investigation to go forward and complete and end with integrity more than the president.”
The Tuesday firing of Comey raised questions from Republican and Democratic legislators alike, as the timing seemed to coincide with the FBI ramping up its investigation into whether Trump campaign staffers coordinated with Russia in its election hacking scheme.
Trump has called any connection between his campaign and Russia “a hoax.”
In the letter Trump sent to Comey demanding his resignation, he wrote that the FBI director had noted he was not under investigation on three separate occasions — an inclusion that some reports found suspicious.
A CNN report laid four reasons why it is unlikely Comey ever divulged such information, or why the claim could be misleading — Trump could be trying to distinguish himself from his campaign, for one.
Comey’s associates also reportedly told CNN that if Comey did indeed comment to Trump as to whether or not he was under investigation, it would have violated longstanding FBI protocols for criminal investigations.
“It’s utterly farcical,” an associate of Comey’s reportedly said.