Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday appeared to question the timing of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s decision to release fired FBI Director James Comey’s prepared opening statement nearly 20 hours ahead of his scheduled testimony.
“I did find the timing of the release a little bit interesting,” Sanders told reporters on Air Force One, according to a travel pool report.
She cited testimony earlier Wednesday by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats when pressed to explain: “I just thought it was interesting after the testimony from this morning.”
According to Comey’s prepared testimony, he will confirm news reports that Trump asked him to swear “loyalty” and to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Sanders said she is “not aware” whether President Donald Trump has reviewed “any of the specific details” of Comey’s prepared statement, and did not say whether the White House disputes any part of Comey’s account.
“I think they’re reviewing that now. Keeping us posted,” she said. “It was just released a few minutes ago.”
Asked whether Trump still stands by his contradicted claims that he did not ask Comey for a loyalty pledge or to drop the investigation into Flynn, Sanders referred specific questions to Trump’s outside counsel, but said she “can’t imagine the President not standing by his own statement.”