If you haven’t seen it by now, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and CNN’s Anderson Cooper squared off in a tense interview Tuesday night over President Trump’s decision to fire James Comey as director of the FBI.
Conway defended the president against charges that he fired Comey for reasons other than those outlined in the letter Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sent Attorney General Jeff Sessions recommending his termination—namely, because of the Russia investigation.
In discussing the Russia angle, Cooper noted that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Comey’s firing was a “cover-up.”
“Well he’s wrong, it’s not a cover-up,” Conway replied. “In fact, the president makes very clear in his letter the fact that Mr. Comey on at least three occasions assured him he is not under investigation.”
“This had nothing to do with Russia,” she insisted during the interview. “[It] has everything to do with whether the current FBI Director has the president’s confidence and can faithfully and capably execute his duties. The deputy attorney general decided that was not the case. He wrote a very long memorandum about it, he presented that to the attorney general, the attorney general presented it to the president. The president took the recommendations, as he says in his brief, very powerful letter today.”
In the letter, Rosenstein said the “FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage” and outlined Comey’s “handling of the conclusion of the investigation” of Clinton’s emails as the reason for recommending the director’s removal.
Cooper wanted to know why “all of a sudden the White House is concerned about James Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails,” especially considering Trump praised his actions on the campaign trail.
After showing a series of clips from the presidential campaign of Trump speaking highly of Comey, Conway said, "Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I was on your show often last fall saying we were going to win Michigan and how we were going to do it, so that was fun."
Then, casting aside any semblance of professionalism and objectivity, Cooper rolled his eyes.
Check out the rest of the tense interview below: