Following the firing of James Comey as FBI director, Sarah Sanders repeatedly stated that he had lost the confidence of the rank and file, “countless” numbers of whom had said as much. One of the small comic subplots of the Mueller report reveals that Sanders conceded that “her reference to hearing from ‘countless members of the FBI’ was a ‘slip of the tongue,’” and that “her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything.”
Appearing on CBS This Morning, Sanders was asked, if the lie was a slip of the tongue, what did she mean to say? Sanders refused to answer, instead dissembling: “Look, I’ve acknowledged that the word ‘countless’ was a slip of the tongue. But it’s no secret that a number of FBI, both current and former, agreed with the president’s decision.”
Pressed about the lie on ABC, Sanders kept repeating that the statements were made “in the heat of the moment.” George Stephanopoulos noted that she repeated the same lie twice the next day.
Obviously, comments made on consecutive days cannot be a “slip of the tongue” or due to the “heat of the moment.”
The legal significance of her lies is that Trump’s firing of Comey is a piece of a broad attempt to obstruct justice, and Sanders was engaged in an effort to craft a false cover story. Because it happened to touch on a criminal investigation, she was interviewed under oath and had to admit that she made the whole thing up. But it’s a petty fair guess that, if the FBI could interrogate Sanders upon pain of perjury about all of her claims, this would not be the only lie she would confess.