White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that she believed special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and other matters was “getting closer to conclusion.” She did not cite any new evidence to back up the claim, instead referring to vague “reporting” on “more details about why the President has been right all along.”
“I certainly think he has confidence that they are going to close this up soon,” Sanders told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer.
Hemmer asked what made her think Mueller’s probe would conclude.
“I think we are seeing more and more evidence that shows, look, they’ve been working on this and investigating this for well into a year through various committees,” Sanders said.
Mueller’s probe is independent from the congressional probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and indeed has a much broader scope. Mueller was appointed special counsel on May 17.
Sanders did not respond to TPM’s questions about her remarks. Peter Carr, a spokesperson for Mueller, declined to comment.
“Every day we find out more and more details about why the President has been right all along and why the Democrats have been wrong all along and I think that each day we’re getting closer and closer to closing the loop on this on our front,” Sanders added.
“Is that based on news reports or is that based on something else?” Hemmer asked. “Some other channel there at the White House?”
“I think it’s based on fact — the fact that there has been no wrongdoing by the Trump campaign and a lot of the reporting that we’re seeing coming out, day in, day out with the collusion you’ve got.”
Sanders was referring two stories, mentioned earlier in the interview, which the White House has said shift suspicion away from President Donald Trump and toward Democrats.
First, the Washington Post’s report this week that the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign paid for part of a dossier on Trump created by the former British intelligence official Christopher Steele (Republicans had previously funded the research). And second, the years-old story of Hillary Clinton’s State Department’s seat on a nine-member board that approved uranium sales to Russia.
Hemmer pressed: “To be clear now, no one from the Department of Justice have told you or anyone at the White House that it should be wrapping up soon. I just want to be clear on that.”
“I have not spoken with anybody at the Department of Justice on that front, but I think that we are seeing that it is getting closer to conclusion,” Sanders said, failing to provide support for the claim.
In fact, far from appearing to reach its conclusion, various reports in recent days have pointed to past efforts by an organization linked to the Trump campaign to gain access to private Democratic emails obtained by Wikileaks.
The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that the head of a data analytics firm that worked closely with the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, had reached out to Julian Assange during the campaign to help with the release of the leaked emails. Assange said the offer was rejected by Wikileaks. The Wall Street Journal reported later in the day that the group had offered to help organize the emails.