(CNSNews.com) - The White House said the president wants the Department of Justice to pursue whatever investigation it sees fit and has “encouraged the House and Senate committees to continue any ongoing investigations” into Russian meddling in the election in spite of the ouster of FBI Chief James Comey.
“Look, the bottom line is any investigation that was happening on Monday is still happening today. That hasn’t changed, and, in fact, we encourage them to complete this investigation so we can put it behind us and we can continue to see exactly what we've been saying for nearly a year, there’s no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Sanders said the president “would love for that to be completed so that we can all move on and focus on the things that, frankly, I think most of Americans are concerned with.”
“Even if they keep on wasting taxpayer money, he wants it to continue?” a reporter asked.
“Look, nobody wants to waste taxpayer money. I think the president has made a priority of this. That's another reason we’d love for it to come to completion, but at the same time, I know that you all will not let this go until it does, and so we’d love for that to be completed. Let’s put it behind us. Let’s move on, and let’s focus on what we need to do to turn our country around,” Sanders said.
When asked if President Donald Trump regrets not firing Comey in January, Sanders said, “No, I believe the president wanted to give Director Comey a chance, but he feels that he made the right decision, certainly.”
As to how Comey was fired, Sanders said Trump “followed the proper protocol in that process, which is a handwritten notification, and at the same time, no matter how you fire someone, it’s never an easy process, and so he felt like following protocol was the best thing to do.”
The LA Times reported that Comey learned of his firing on TV while talking to FBI agents in Los Angeles at a recruiting event.
The White House doesn’t think the appointment of a special prosecutor to continue the investigation into Russian meddling is “necessary.”
“You've got a House committee, a Senate committee, and the Department of Justice all working on this. I don't think that there’s a necessary need at this point to add that. You've got the deputy attorney general, who I would say is about as independent as it comes due to the fact that he has such bipartisan support,” Sanders said.
One reporter asked what gives the White House “such confidence that the rank-and-file” within the FBI lost faith in Comey, given the perspective of an FBI special agent who said “the vast majority of the bureau is in favor of Director Comey” and “the real losers” are those in the FBI who “lost the only guy working in the past 15 years who actually cared about them.”
“Look, we've heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things. In fact, the president will be meeting with Acting Director McCabe later today to discuss that very thing -- the morale at the FBI -- as well as make an offer to go directly to the FBI if he feels that that’s necessary and appropriate, and we’ll certainly provide further information on that meeting for you guys,” Sanders said.