Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Sanders claimed Thursday that “legal minds,” “legal scholars” and attorneys has said that it was not improper for President Donald Trump to ask the FBI director whether or not he was under investigation.
Trump admitted in an interview Thursday that he asked now-ousted FBI Director James Comey that very question. Trump said Comey told him on three occasions he was not the target of a probe.
During the daily White House press briefing Thursday, CBS News’ Major Garrett asked Sanders why she thought it was proper for Trump to have asked Comey whether he was under investigation given that the Justice Department’s own protocols advise against the President communicating with the FBI about anything that might involve him.
Comey has never said that he told the President he wasn’t under investigation, and one unnamed associate of Comey’s told the Wall Street Journal Wednesday that Trump’s claim that Comey told him he wasn’t under investigation was “literally farcical.”
“Why is it appropriate if that’s not consistent with the guidelines at the Justice Department to avoid that very encounter?” Garrett asked.
“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,” Sanders responded.
“So the Justice Department should change their protocol?” Garrett asked.
“I haven’t seen their protocol. I’m only speaking to the information I have — ” Sanders said.
“Is that what you think, or the President thinks?” Garrett interjected.
“No, it’s not what I think,” she said, noting television pundits’ analyses of Trump’s admission after the interview excerpt aired Thursday afternoon. She didn’t name anyone who supported her argument.
“I’m not an attorney. I don’t even play one on TV, but what I can tell you is what I’ve heard from legal minds and people that actually are attorneys and that’s their opinion, so I have to trust the justice system on that fact, too,” she said.