Sarah Sanders vs. Chuck Todd: Does The President Expect James Comey To Be Arrested For Treason?

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NBC's "Meet The Press" host Chuck Todd debates White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders about the president's authorization to allow the attorney general to release information about the origins of the Russia probe and what Trump expects to come of the "investigation into the investigators."

CHUCK TODD: I want to ask you about the decision to give the attorney general this unilateral authority to declassify intelligence. The order says the attorney general should consult with relevant agency heads but not that he has to. Why did the president not force the attorney general to consult with the, with the DNI and the head of the CIA? Here he's giving him unilateral authority not to do it. Only saying he should do it but he doesn't have to. Why?





SARAH SANDERS: The president has total confidence in the attorney general and his ability --

CHUCK TODD: But not the intelligence community?

SARAH SANDERS: -- to make those decisions. We expect -- certainly. That's why we expect that the attorney general will consult with them on matters that he needs that guidance and advice from them. Certainly they work in lock step on a number of things. I don't see this to be any different. The bottom line here is there was a lot of corruption at the FBI and the DOJ. We see constantly more and more things that have come out of that. And the president wants transparency and he's given the attorney general the ability to put that transparency in place, make those decisions. And we're not like at all concerned that the attorney general is not going to do everything that is necessary to make sure we're protecting important intelligence that is vital to our national security.

CHUCK TODD: I'm trying to understand what outcome the president expects. He’s, he tweeted the following: "My campaign for president was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American politics. A really bad situation. Treason means long jail sentences and this was treason." Why did the president ask the attorney general to do an investigation if he's already come to a conclusion, already decided what the penalty should be? And I think has already determined what the jail sentences should be? Isn't this the president already playing judge and jury and putting his thumb on the scale here for whatever investigation he claims he wants Mr. Barr to do?

SARAH SANDERS: That's pretty rich coming from the media who relentlessly covered and accused the president for over two years of being part of this massive election interference, something that never took place. The idea that anybody now says that the president doesn't have the right and not only that Americans deserve the truth to push back and find out where all of this started is absurd. Literally for day after day after day the media and Democrats in Congress called the president a traitor to his own country and said that he cheated to become president. I mean the idea of that is absolutely outrageous that he had to endure that for two years. And now he wants to know where and why it started. And all of a sudden that's a big deal? That is insane.

CHUCK TODD: Sarah, I didn't ask about him --

SARAH SANDERS: I think the president is doing exactly what --

CHUCK TODD: No, no, no, no, Sarah I did not ask --

SARAH SANDERS: -- he should be. And I think America is glad that he's asking for that transparency.

CHUCK TODD: I didn't ask whether he should ask those questions. He's not asking questions anymore. He's already made a judgment. That is much different. He’s already -- will he accept a result of the attorney general saying, you know what, "Everything was done legally and on the up and up, Mr. President." Will he accept that result from Bill Barr?

SARAH SANDERS: We already know that there was an outrageous amount of corruption that took place at the FBI. They leaked information. They lied. They were specifically working trying to take down the president, trying to hurt the president. We'll leave the, the final call up to the attorney general and he'll get to the bottom of it. But we think Americans deserve the truth.

CHUCK TODD: So he doesn't --

SARAH SANDERS: The president's asked for that. And we should expect nothing less.

CHUCK TODD: So the president is not going to accept exoneration if that's what Bill Barr finds?

SARAH SANDERS: Look, I'm not going to get ahead of what the final conclusion is. But we already know that there was a high level of corruption that was taking place. We've seen that in the IG investigation that has already happened.

There's a lot more there that we still need to know. And we're going to let the attorney general do his job.

CHUCK TODD: Well it sounds like you’re not -- that's my point. It doesn't sound like you want him to do his job. It sounds like you, the president has already determined the outcome.

SARAH SANDERS: Chuck, that's the reason that he's granted the attorney general the authority to declassify that information, to look at all the documents necessary is so that we can get to the very bottom of what happened. Once again, we already know about some wrongdoing. The president's not wrong in that. But he wants to know everything that happened and how far and how wide it went. We know that there was corruption. Let's see --

CHUCK TODD: Does he expect criminal charges? Does he expect -- he's accused James Comey of treason. Does he expect Jim Comey to be arrested?

SARAH SANDERS: Again, we're going to let the attorney general make that determination as he gets to the conclusion of this investigation.

CHUCK TODD: So the president, he's not going to accept --

SARAH SANDERS: But we certainly expect the people that were responsible and that were part of this unprecedented obstruction and corruption at the FBI, those people should certainly be held responsible and be held accountable and the president expects that to take place.

CHUCK TODD: So he expects an outcome that he wants, not an outcome that the facts lead to.

SARAH SANDERS: Chuck, I think you're trying to muddy the waters too much here. We already know, once again that there was wrongdoing.

CHUCK TODD: I think what’s rich is who’s muddying waters.

SARAH SANDERS: Now we want to know how much there was. I don't think it's -- well, I don’t think it’s crazy to want to know how far and how wide the corruption at the FBI was. And that's what the president has asked the attorney general to find. And we'll what happens.

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