(CNSNews.com) - White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that the FBI “broke standard protocol in the way that they came in an ambushed” former national security adviser Michael Flynn despite Flynn telling a federal judge Tuesday he knew it was illegal to lie to the FBI.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan agreed Tuesday to delay Flynn’s sentencing on charges of making false statement to the FBI until March.
During a White House press briefing, Sanders reacted to the sentencing delay and the judge’s inquiry to prosecutors about whether Flynn committed treason, saying, “The delay is something between General Flynn and the courts, and that's something for them to determine what timeline looks like. In the meantime, we wish General Flynn well, and we'll continue to focus on doing what we do here every single day.”
As to whether President Donald Trump sees any reason why Flynn should be asked if he committed treason, Sanders said, “I'm not aware of anything that we would know of that would indicate that, certainly.”
Sanders was then asked if she wanted to “revisit” comments she made earlier in the day that the FBI ambushed Flynn.
“No. We still firmly believe -- look, the things that may have taken place, again, that's for the judge to make that determination, whether he engaged in something inappropriate,” the press secretary said.
“What we do know that was inappropriate, by own self-admittance of James Comey, is that the FBI broke standard protocol in the way that they came in and ambushed General Flynn, and in the way that they questioned him, and in the way that they encouraged him not to have White House Counsel's Office present,” she said.
“And we know that because James Comey told us that, and he said that the very reason that they did it was because -- the only reason that they did it, it was the Trump administration and they thought they could get away with it,” Sanders said. “Those are the facts, and certainly there may be other issues there, but that we don’t have any reason we'd want to walk that back.”
A reporter asked whether Trump was concerned that Flynn admitted that he repeatedly lied to the FBI and that he was working for a foreign government.
“Does that concern the president? I mean, he seems to be concerned that Michael Cohen is a liar. Is he concerned that one of his top aides lied to the FBI and was working for a foreign government?” the reporter asked.
“Not when it comes to things that have anything to do with the president. The activities that he has said to -- and I'll -- again, we'll let the court make that determination -- to have engaged in, don’t have anything to do with the president. Let's remember what the whole thing that this started is supposed to be about: It’s whether or not Russia influenced the election, and whether or not the president had anything to do it,” Sanders said.
“We know that Russia tried to create chaos within the election, but certainly not that they actually impacted it. The only reason that the president is the president is because he was a better candidate and beat Hillary Clinton,” she said. “We also know that the president never colluded with Russia. So that’s the whole reason that we have this, and we know those things to be false.”
When asked why the president is making positive comments about Flynn given the things he’s pleaded guilty to, Sanders said, “It's perfectly acceptable for the president to make a positive comment about somebody while we wait to see what the court's determination is.”