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White House claims "near uprising" at FBI led to Comey firing

W.H. on Trump firing Comey
W.H. deputy press secretary on Trump's decision to fire Comey 05:00

Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Trump is expected to visit FBI headquarters and speak with agents regarding the fallout over his firing of FBI Director Comey within "the next few days."

Trump's rumored visit comes amid a stunning termination of Comey as director, a move the president had been considering since November, Sanders told "CBS This Morning" on Thursday.

"This is something, frankly, after Wednesday's testimony he was very engaged on and certainly he had been pushed to the point where he was ready to make that decision. He had a conversation on Monday with the attorney general and deputy attorney general and asked them for their thoughts, their feedback," Sanders said.

Sanders said she was "not aware of" reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had threatened his resignation because he felt he was being used as a scapegoat for the firing, but she reiterated the White House's stance that this was a decision made by the president.

Sanders said that the move to fire Comey came after a "consistent erosion of confidence in his ability to do his job."

"Let's not forget there was a near uprising after Comey from members of the FBI.This isn't just about the president losing confidence. The rank-and-file members within the FBI had lost confidence in the director," Sanders said. 

"CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose pointed out to Sanders that claims of a "near uprising" had been previously disputed by CBS News reporting. 

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe personally disputed that claim when he testified in Comey's place at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday.

"I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard," McCabe said

McCabe tells Senate that Comey had rank-and-file support 01:20

McCabe added that Comey "enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day." 

Sanders was adamant in saying any potential threats of collusion between the president and Russia were not part of the firing process.

Sanders said Comey's professional conduct was the issue: "The director took steps that basically went around the chain of command within the Department of Justice, his testimony last week was all over the pace, he had to issue corrections."

Sanders added that Comey had become a "much bigger distraction" than the investigation itself, signaling to the White House that it was time to "move forward."

"Any investigation taking place on Monday is still taking place today," Sanders said. "Nothing has  changed in that process."

"Frankly, we're ready for those things to go forward and come to their full completion and so that we can all move on and we'll continue to seek because we're extremely confident that when this comes to conclusion, that everyone will continue to see what they've been seeing and we've been saying for the last 11 months. There was no collusion between the president and Russia," she said.

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