Kellyanne Conway's alternative facts tripped over the real ones.
The White House smear campaign against former FBI Director James Comey blew up in Trump’s face Monday morning, as counselor Kellyanne Conway admitted that Comey swung the election in Trump’s favor.
“Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, in a scathing memo on May 9th and others, other former attorneys general, had called for Mr. Comey to step aside because they felt like he can no longer hold up the values of the FBI,” Conway said.
“He admitted to you that he purposely leaked information to a friend so that it would get into the media and trigger a special counsel,” Conway said. “This guy swung an election. He thought the wrong person would win.”
The truth is that shortly after firing Comey, Trump admitted the Rosenstein memo was a pretext. He told NBC News’ Lester Holt that he intended to fire Comey “regardless of recommendation,” and that the Russia investigation was at the top of his mind when he fired Comey.
It was later revealed that Trump bragged to Russian officials — during a secret Oval Office meeting — that the firing had relieved the pressure from the Russia investigation. The Rosenstein memo was merely a cover story that blew up within hours of its birth.
On Monday, Trump himself contradicted Conway minutes after her interview by slamming Comey for not treating Clinton harshly enough.
Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2018
But Conway is right about one thing: Comey’s announcement that he was reopening the fruitless investigation into Clinton’s emails — just days before the election — likely did play a decisive role in Trump’s win.
Despite the Russian disinformation campaign and criminal email hacks, and despite the media’s obsessive coverage of the meritless Clinton email investigation, and despite Comey’s unprecedented July press conference excoriating Clinton while exonerating her, Trump still managed only a narrow electoral college victory — while losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots.
But polling analyst Nate Silver showed that Comey’s letter announcing the reopening of the email investigation contributed to Clinton losing her lead in the closing days of the campaign.
Trump is famously thin-skinned, especially about his popular loss to Clinton, so Conway’s admission might not go over well in the Oval Office. But it demonstrates that neither Conway nor Trump can escape the truth forever.