Special assistant to the president Ivanka Trump said Monday that her father “felt very vindicated” by Congressional testimony offered last week by former FBI Director James Comey, echoing the official White House line on the under-oath comments that seems to have done little to stem the controversy surrounding the former director’s firing.
“Well, my father felt very vindicated in all the statements that he’s been making and feels incredibly optimistic,” the first daughter and White House adviser said Monday on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.” “But, you know, at the White House and throughout the administration, we were incredibly focused on the reason we all went to Washington and what we are fighting for.”
President Donald Trump and others from his White House have sought to thread a difficult needle in the days since Comey’s testimony, insisting that some of the former director’s answers vindicated the president while suggesting that others be dismissed as falsehoods. In particular, the Trump administration has zeroed in on Comey’s statement that the president himself was never the subject of an investigation as well as the former director’s confirmation that he offered Trump multiple assurances to that effect.
But Comey also testified under oath that, to his understanding, the president had asked him to end the bureau’s ongoing investigation into the behavior of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired by Trump just weeks after the inauguration. Comey labeled the president a liar and suggested that he felt compelled to contemporaneously document his personal interactions with Trump because “the nature of the person” led him to believe that he might lie about them in the future.
Trump has denied that he ever asked Comey to end the bureau’s Flynn investigation and indicated – but did not outright promise – last week that he might release recordings of his conversations with the former FBI director.
Ivanka Trump, who moved to Washington and joined her father’s administration alongside her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, said she and others working for the president have strived to avoid distraction and remain focused on policy goals. She said last week’s White House theme of infrastructure will ultimately have a more lasting impact than the Comey testimony and that while she has found the transition to political life difficult at times, her interactions with everyday Americans has helped to put the challenges she faces in perspective.
“There is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting. I was not expecting the intensity of this experience. But this isn’t supposed to be easy. My father and this administration intends to be transformative,” she said. “Some of the distractions and some of the ferocity I was a little blindsided by on a personal level… If you want to think about difficult, it’s the factory worker who’s been laid off. Difficult is, you know, the mother who has lost a child to opioid abuse. So these are the real challenges.”