CNN host Fredricka Whitfield called out Trump surrogate Kayleigh McEnany on Sunday for incorrectly stating that there was no evidence linking President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey to an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
During an appearance on CNN, McEnany complained that the media and Trump's opponents were unfairly criticizing Comey's firing.
"It is entirely fair if folks want to criticize the method the FBI director was fired, finding out about it on the news," she remarked. "But the night of the firing, you had 107 comparisons, according to [conservative] Media Research Center, of Trump to Nixon. That is beyond the pale. For people to act as if Trump had done something that he didn't have a right to do, to act as if he's Richard Nixon in the flesh."
"Well, it's because of the investigation," Whitfield interrupted. "The parallels that we're making. Different circumstances but both were investigations."
"We have no proof that he did this because of the Russia investigation," McEnany said.
"He did say in that [NBC] interview [with Lester Holt] that it was because of the Russia investigation," Whitfield pointed out. "He did say the Russia investigation is what compelled him to move toward the firing of Comey."
In fact, Trump told Holt that he was thinking about how "this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story" when he fired Comey.
But McEnany insisted that Whitfield had adopted the wrong interpretation of Trump's words.
"He wasn't saying that was his motive if we go back and watch it," she argued.
Experts, however, have warned that Trump's words could come back to bite him.
"Trump’s repeated references to the Russia investigation in interviews, tweets and the letter firing Comey could be interpreted as an effort to 'obstruct or impede the investigation," The Los Angeles Times reported. "The threat is not a completely theoretical one: President Nixon, who was forced to resign under threat of impeachment, and President Clinton, who was impeached, were both accused of obstruction of justice."