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Kellyanne Conway says it's 'inappropriate' to question timing of Comey's firing

By Philip Rucker

May 10, 2017 at 8:38 AM

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, speaks to reporters outside the White House on Tuesday night. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, said in a combative television interview Wednesday morning that it is "inappropriate" to question the timing of Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey.

"You want to question the timing of when he hires, when he fires," she said on CNN. "It's inappropriate. He'll do it when he wants to."

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo had pointed out that the sudden firing of Comey came as the FBI's counterintelligence investigation of Russia's interference with the 2016 U.S. presidential election is heating up. Comey was overseeing the inquiry, which includes connections between Trump campaign officials and associates and the Russians.

Related: [Comey’s removal sparks fears about future of Russia probe]

Conway insisted that the Russia investigation had nothing to do with Trump's decision to terminate Comey.

"Especially on your network, you always want to talk about Russia, Russia, Russia," she said. She added that the Russia inquiry has been "a seven-month distraction."

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Lawmakers react after President Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

Conway said Trump fired Comey at the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the FBI, because he had lost credibility within the bureau. She singled out past comments by Democratic leaders criticizing Comey for his handling of last year's FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state.

"Yet now they want him to be a martyr?" Conway said, suggesting that Democratic leaders were hypocritical for criticizing Trump's firing of Comey.

In a heated exchange with Cuomo, Conway said, "None of us want to re-litigate the campaign. We won it."

Just two weeks ago, ahead of his 100-day mark, Trump distributed color copies of a county-by-county map showing his electoral college victory during Oval Office interviews with The Washington Post and Reuters, boasting of the size of his win.

Philip Rucker is the White House Bureau Chief for The Washington Post. He previously has covered Congress, the Obama White House, and the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. He joined The Post in 2005 as a local news reporter.

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