On Monday, the FBI raided the office of the president’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen. It’s come out in the time since the raid, which was carried out as a part of an investigation separate from the inquiry being carried out by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, that agents were looking for records related to payments delivered to two women who allege affairs with the president. Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations according to reports.
At the Tuesday White House press conference, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders faced questions about the White House’s course of action following the raid.
She initially deflected most questions, offering answers like the following when pressed about why the president termed the FBI raiding Cohen’s office an “attack” on the United States:
‘I think that the president has been clear that he thinks this has gone too far and beyond that I don’t have anything to add.’
Pressed about topics like whether or not the president would fire justice officials including Robert Mueller, Jeff Sessions, and Rod Rosenstein, Sanders offered similarly deflective answers, repeatedly simply referring back to comments from the president.
When pressed about how the president could find it in himself to call the whole thing a witch hunt, Sanders finally snapped and offered a long answer, saying:
‘The president has certainly been very clear about what his position is when it comes to matters of collusion, and that’s what his reference is, he thinks this entire thing is a witch hunt. I think we’ve spoken about this at length and frankly I think it’s a big distraction that the media has spent every single day for the last year focused on this instead of some of the biggest issues of our day and some of the biggest issues that the president is dealing with like Syria, like North Korea, like deregulation, tax cuts, defeating ISIS — that’s the focus of this administration and frankly that’s what you guys should spend a little bit more time on.’
To be sure, however, the FBI raid on Cohen’s office, which is the most recent context in which the president used the term “witch hunt,” was not a direct component to the Mueller investigation. It was reportedly carried out thanks to a tip from the special counsel’s office however.
The president first began addressing the issue of the Cohen raids late Monday, when he turned a meeting that was supposed to focus on the crisis over the Syrian government having used chemical weapons on its people into a platform for him to spew his beliefs about the Russia investigation.
He then took to Twitter the following morning, offering two short messages that summed up his feelings about the matter.
Besides his assertion that the whole thing is a “witch hunt,” the president also bemoaned that attorney-client privilege is supposedly dead considering the fact that some of his communications with Cohen were among the documents raided by the FBI. The only reason the president should have to worry is if there was something illegal or improper in those conversations.
As we wait to find out what might be hidden in those conversations, Sarah Huckabee Sanders continues with her role of stumping for the president no matter what the cost.
Watch video of the Tuesday White House press conference below.
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