The Trump administration has offered some “nothing to see here” spin in response to the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. But President Trump and White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have twisted some facts to fit that narrative:
- Sanders wrongly claimed that former director of national intelligence James Clapper said there was “no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” Clapper said he was not aware of any evidence, but added that he was not privy to the FBI’s ongoing investigation.
- Trump misleadingly tweeted that Sen. Chuck Schumer “stated recently” that he had no confidence in Comey. But those comments from Schumer came before the election — not recently.
- Trump said that Comey told him “on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.” We don’t know what Comey told Trump, but we do know that Comey said the FBI is investigating “whether there was any coordination between the [Trump] campaign and Russia’s efforts” to influence the election.
- It has been quite a start to the week for the Trump administration. On May 8, former acting attorney general Sally Yates told a Senate subcommittee that she provided early warnings to the Trump administration that its national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had provided deceptive information about his conversations with a Russian official. Yates and Clapper talked about how that could have made Flynn, who was later fired, vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.
Then, the following day, the president made the surprise announcement that he had fired the head of the agency that is investigating possible links between Trump campaign associates and Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.