Spicer Won’t Account For Dramatically Shifting Explanations Of Comey Firing

White House Press secretary Sean Spicer gestures while speaking to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, March 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday brushed off questions about the deluge of shifting, contradictory explanations the Trump administration offered this week for the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, saying the decision had always rested with the President.

“Why were the American people given incorrect information that night?” Time reporter Zeke Miller asked in the daily briefing, noting that the Trump administration attributed the firing to a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein days before President Donald Trump told NBC News he’d made the decision unilaterally.

“I don’t necessarily believe that that’s true, Zeke,” Spicer insisted. “There was a decision-making process. The President explained it in the interview process. The bottom line is that the director of the FBI serves the President. The President made a decision to replace him, as he has stated very clearly now publicly.”

Another reporter pressed Spicer to explain the “discrepancy” in the statements coming out of the White House about who prompted the decision.

“It’s always the President’s decision. That’s it, final,” Spicer said. “As I mentioned to Zeke, this is always going to be the President’s decision. Everybody who serves for the President, it’s always going to be his decision to hire someone or fire someone.”

Spicer’s replies overlooked that White House communications staff first told reporters that Rosenstein’s memo, which criticized Comey’s handling of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, was the impetus for the firing. The administration then said Trump had mulled ousting Comey ever since he won the November election.

And on Thursday night, Trump himself told NBC News that he was thinking about the FBI’s ongoing investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russian officials to influence election when he decided to move forward with firing Comey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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