James Comey has been a sore spot for the administration.
The former FBI director was fired by the president last spring and has conducted his own round of political rehabilitation since. Part of that process involved releasing his private memos to the press and testifying before Congress. The White House has alluded to Comey's actions as potentially illegal, as has the outside counsel that the president has retained.
Today in the press briefing, Sarah Sanders was asked about what exactly Comey did that was illegal. The reporters in the room were not prepared for her response. Sanders dismantled Comey's leaking of private memos to the press piece by piece:
“The memos that Comey leaked were created on an FBI computer while he was the director. He claims they were private property. They clearly followed the protocol of an official FBI document. Leaking FBI memos on a sensitive case, regardless of classification, violates federal laws including the Privacy Act, standard FBI employment agreement, and non-disclosure agreement all personnel must sign. I think that is pretty clean and clear that that would be a violation.”
Sanders was asked again if the actions of Comey were illegal. She said that the DOJ will make that assessment, but that the facts of the case were "very clear”:
“The Department of Justice has to look into any allegations of legality, whether or not something is illegal or not. That’s not up to me to decide. What I’ve said and what I’m talking about are facts. James Comey leaking of information, questionable statements under oath, politicizing investigation, those are real reasons for why he was fired and the president’s decision was 100 percent right, which we’ve said multiple times over and over. In fact, I think the more and more we learn, the more and more that’s been vindicated.”
The internet exploded at the remark:
Comey's memos weren't classified, so no law violated in leaking them. Sanders is suggesting DOJ pursue political retaliation, plain & simple
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) September 12, 2017
— Politics Newz (@PolticsNewz) September 13, 2017
'An outright assault' on an 'independent DOJ': White House doubles down on Comey attacks https://t.co/Mx4cp8cxYu
— Tom Flowers 🎧 (@TomFlowers) September 13, 2017
And Hillary had this to say:
— The View (@TheView) September 13, 2017
Seems we have not seen the end of the administration's fight with James Comey.