W.H. denies reports lawyers thought Kushner should step down; but confirms considering Comey prosecution
WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday said the Justice Department should consider a criminal prosecution of former FBI Director James Comey, claiming he had leaked privileged information to the press and offered false testimony to Congress.
“It’s something they should certainly look at,” press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters when asked whether the administration should prosecute Comey. She acknowledged that it was “not the President’s role” to determine which criminal investigations are taken up by the Justice Department.
The question arose as Sanders defended Trump’s decision to fire Comey earlier this year, a choice Trump’s former chief strategist called a mistake this week.
Speaking to “60 Minutes” on CBS, Steve Bannon called the Comey decision the worst mistake in “modern political history.”
Sanders countered that Trump has been “very happy with the decision” to fire Comey and felt “fully vindicated.”
Trump abruptly fired Comey in May, initially explaining his decision as a response to Comey’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. Later Trump suggested the firing was actually a response to the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s election year meddling.
Sanders also refuted reports that some of President Donald Trump’s legal team had advised that his son-in-law Jared Kushner step down from his role as White House adviser.
Sources familiar with the matter told CNN the White House legal team discussed during the spring whether Kushner ought to step aside in order to protect the President from legal scrutiny over his associates’ interactions with Russians.
But Sanders said Tuesday there was “certainly no presentation” on the issue, when asked if the lawyers discussed that option.
“No. No conversation that I was aware of,” Sanders said.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Monday that some of Trump’s legal team believed Kushner should have stepped aside before reports about his failure to disclose contacts with Russians during the transition became public this summer.
But one source tells CNN the idea was only brought up briefly in May, and others disagreed strongly with the suggestion that Kushner should step aside. The source claimed no knowledge that the idea was ever brought to Trump.