Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, identified a moment from her interview with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo Wednesday morning that she predicted would "go viral."
Conway appeared on CNN's "New Day" to discuss the Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, and the political earthquake that resulted from it. The Trump administration said it fired Comey on Tuesday because of his handling of the FBI's investigation into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's emails.
However, many Democrats, and even some Republicans, questioned the administration's reasoning and wondered if the firing instead had something to do with the bureau's investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia.
As recently as Monday, Trump tweeted about the investigation and called it a "taxpayer funded charade" and a "total hoax."
The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1494283560.0
Conway echoed the president's sentiment Wednesday morning during her interview with Cuomo. But the CNN anchor responded with a combative tone.
"I get the talking point here, but let's be clear —" Cuomo said.
"It's not a talking point," Conway interjected. "It's a seven-month distraction. It's not a talking point."
"That's what you want it to be. I get that," Cuomo alleged.
"You want it to be real," Conway said.
Cuomo insisted that all he wants is "the truth."
Cuomo then called the idea that Conway or anyone else at the White House knowing the outcome of the FBI's investigation into Trump-Russia ties, at least at this point in the investigation, "naive" and "deceptive."
People who have been around these investigations will tell you they take time. Those who are doing it on the Senate and House side say they take time. You've been misrepresenting the White House, what [former director of national intelligence] James Clapper said. When he said he had seen no collusion — proof — that's accurate. But he also said it's because he didn't know anything about the investigation. Comey had been quiet about it. He wasn't privy to the record. He didn't know the fact. See, that's very different. You don't like that part because you want, as the president says, for this to be a hoax. I get it, and that's why Comey being ousted just when that is heating up, not back when he started his tenure, he didn't need anyone to tell him that Comey had been divisive within the agency. He knew all that.
During testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, Clapper said his office did not include the FBI's findings of alleged Trump-Russia ties because it "didn't reach the evidentiary bar in terms of the level of confidence that we were striving for in that intelligence community assessment."
"We couldn't corroborate the sourcing, particularly the second-, third-order sources," Clapper told the committee, the Washington Post reported.
Conway, clearly frustrated by Cuomo's minute-long monologue, quipped, "Do you want me to ask the questions? Because you're giving all the answers."
"Let me know when I can answer," Conway later told Cuomo.
"Knock yourself out," Cuomo responded.
"Well, I'm going to knock this out of the park by telling you that I'm sure it will go viral now that you used the words 'naive' and 'deceptive,' " Conway predicted. "People think you used those words about me, even though you were talking about a state of mind, I'm sure."
"I'm talking about this narrative coming out of the White House," Cuomo countered.
Conway pointed to the fact that Comey's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee had to be corrected because the former Clinton aide did not send "hundreds of thousands of emails" that were classified, as Comey told lawmakers.
"So President Trump was so upset that James Comey was unfair to Huma Abedin that he fired him," Cuomo pressed.
"No. President Trump wants an FBI director who's impartial, who's not politicized, and who has the confidence and the trust of people in the bureau, of Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, of the attorney general, of the deputy attorney general who oversees the FBI director, and of the president of the United States," Conway replied.
Trump tweeted Wednesday that Comey will be replaced by someone who will bring back "the spirit and prestige of the FBI."
James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1494415144.0
Trump appointed former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe as acting FBI director until Comey's permanent replacement is confirmed.