President Donald Trump has no plans to speak on his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday night. But he did send the little-seen of late White House counselor Kellyanne Conway in his place to face off with Anderson Cooper on CNN.
Conway began by pointing to the letters that President Trump received from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that cited as reasoning for Comey’s termination his treatment of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.
“But this is stuff that as a candidate, Trump praised James Comey, he talked about this on the campaign all the time. All of a sudden, the White House is concerned about James Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails?” Cooper asked Conway. “Why now are you concerned about the Hillary Clinton email investigation when as a candidate, Trump was praising it from the campaign trail?”
“I think you’re looking at the wrong set of facts here,” Conway replied, inadvertently quoting one of her most famous lines. When she said Trump “acted decisively” to remove Comey, Cooper shot back, “That makes no sense.”
Cooper went on to call the reasoning laid out in the memo sent to Trump “bogus” and “ridiculous,” asking, “You don’t think it looks odd at all that the president of the United States is firing the guy who’s leading the investigation into the president’s White House and the people around the president?”
No, Conway did not. “The president is not under investigation,” she said. “I’m around the president, I’m not under investigation. I can name several people in that same situation.”
Later, when Cooper played a series of clips from the campaign trail in which Trump praised Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, Conway said, “You’re conflating two things that don’t belong together. 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,” prompting the largest eye roll from Cooper ever seen on cable news.
“So that person doesn’t exist anymore, candidate Donald Trump, that’s a fictional character we are no longer allowed to refer to?” Cooper asked. “We can now only refer to the Donald Trump that exists today?”
“This had nothing to do with Russia as much as somebody must be getting $50 every time the word is said, I’m convinced, on TV,” a frustrated Conway told Cooper. “This has nothing do with Russia. It has everything to do with whether the current FBI director has the president’s confidence and can faithfully and capably execute his duties.”
And that was that.