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Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue'

The Hill logo The Hill 4/19/2019 Rachel Frazin

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Video by Fox News

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday night addressed part of the Mueller report that said she made false statements to reporters regarding the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

"I acknowledge that I had a slip of the tongue when I used the word 'countless' but it's not untrue ... that a number of both current and former FBI agents agreed with the president," Sanders told Fox News host Sean Hannity.

She also defended President Trump's decision to fire Comey.

"James Comey was a disgraced leaker who tried to politicize and undermine the very agency he was supposed to run," she told Hannity. "Firing James Comey remains one of the best decisions that the president made."

Sanders told investigators working on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe that she made false statements about the firing, as a "slip of the tongue" and "in the heat of the moment," according to the report.

"Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from 'countless members of the FBI' was a 'slip of the tongue.' She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made 'in the heat of the moment' that was not founded on anything," the report said.

Corinna Schumacher et al. standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue' © Getty Images Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue' Sanders told reporters at the May 10, 2017, briefing that the president and FBI employees lost confidence in Comey.

"The president, over the last several months, lost confidence in Director Comey," Sanders said in her opening statement. "The DOJ [Department of Justice] lost confidence in Director Comey. Bipartisan members of Congress made it clear that they had lost confidence in Director Comey. And most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director."

When a reporter noted that an FBI agent said they were disappointed by the firing, Sanders said "we've heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things."

The Justice Department released a redacted version of the Mueller report Thursday. Trump's critics have said that Comey's firing could be evidence that the president committed obstruction of justice.

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