Sarah Huckabee Sanders Embarks on Media Tour to Defend Her Lies

“I had a slip of the tongue…but it’s not untrue.”

Among the string of explosive and damaging revelations that emerged from the Mueller report Thursday was White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ admission that she had lied to reporters in order to damage the reputation of former FBI Director James Comey.

After Trump abruptly fired Comey in 2017 the midst of the FBI’s Russia investigation, Sanders falsely claimed that the White House had been in communication with “countless” bureau employees who did not support Comey. Sanders ultimately acknowledged to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators that her claim was a fabrication. Her admission has prompted demands for her resignation.

But don’t expect Sanders to be heeding such calls. When asked about the bombshell revelation during an appearance on Sean Hannity late Thursday, the press secretary offered a defiant defense.

“Look, I acknowledged that I had a slip of the tongue when I used the word ‘countless’—but it’s not untrue,” she said. “Certainly you just echoed exactly the sentiment and the point that I was making, is that a number of both current and former FBI agents agreed with the president. James Comey was a disgraced leaker who tried to politicize and undermine the very agency he was supposed to run.”

Sanders repeated that same defense on Friday.

“That’s not a slip of the tongue, Sarah,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos said after playing the clip of the press secretary in May 2017 making the false claim to White House reporters. “That’s a deliberate false statement.”

“Actually, if you look at what I’ve said, I said the ‘slip of the tongue’ was in using the word countless,” Sanders responded. “But there were a number of FBI, both former and current, that agreed with the president’s decision. And they’ve continued to speak out and say that.”

Stephanopoulos then called Sanders out for admitting to lying while under the threat of criminal penalties but failing to do so otherwise. 

“It was the heat of the moment, meaning that it wasn’t a scripted talking point,” Sanders shot back. “I’m sorry that I wasn’t a robot like the Democratic Party that went out for two and a half years and stated time and time again that there was definite Russian collusion between the president and his campaign.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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