Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s office found that a comment made by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to reporters about former FBI Director James Comey was “not founded on anything.”
According to the special counsel’s report, on May 10, 2017, Sanders lied to reporters at a White House press briefing about how FBI agents felt about Comey.
From the Mueller report:
“Sanders told reporters that the President, the Department of Justice, and bipartisan members of Congress had lost confidence in Comey, ‘[a]nd most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director. Accordingly, the President accepted the recommendation of his Deputy Attorney General to remove James Comey from his position.'”
Sanders was challenged by a reporter later in the press conference that FBI agents were largely in support of Comey.
“Look, we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things,” Sanders replied.
This statement, Sanders admitted to the special counsel’s office, was a lie
From the Mueller report (emphasis added):
“Following the press conference, Sanders spoke to the President, who told her she did a good job and did not point out any inaccuracies in her comments. Sanders told the Office that her reference to the hearing from ‘countless members of the FBI’ was a ‘slip of the toungue.'” She also recalled her statement in a separate interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ and was not founded on anything.”
Watch the video of the press conference below:
(The first set of comments cited in the report start around 2:35, the second set of comments start around 19:13)
The special counsel’s office interviewed Sanders about the matter on July 3 of last year, over a year after she made the false statement.
The report later added that even President Trump himself admitted “the people of the FBI really like” Comey before launching his attack on the former FBI director that he fired.