A top aide to President Donald Trump found out FBI Director James Comey would be fired when a letter terminating him was sent to the wrong printer, according to a new book, “Kushner, Inc.”
The book by Vicky Ward, which CNN has reviewed, paints a chaotic account of the days leading up to and following the removal of the FBI director in May 2017 – a move that led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Ward attributed much of the information in her book to interviews with anonymous sources.
A section on Comey’s firing opened with an anecdote saying a letter from Trump firing Comey went to then-White House top economic adviser Gary Cohn’s printer. Cohn, in turn, had his aide take the document to then-White House counsel Don McGahn, who said, “Oh f***” when he got the letter and realized it had not been sent to the right place.
When asked for comment on this story, the White House directed CNN to a previous comment on “Kushner, Inc.” from press secretary Sarah Sanders.
“It’s sad, but not surprising, the media would spend time promoting a book based on shady anonymous sources and false information instead of all the incredible work Jared and Ivanka are doing for the country,” Sanders said Tuesday. “The author, on her own website, listed this book in the category of “fiction” – until recently changing it. Her initial representation was accurate.”
Peter Mirijanian, a spokesperson for Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell, previously told CNN that “every point that Ms. Ward mentioned in what she called her ‘fact checking’ stage was entirely false. It seems she has written a book of fiction rather than any serious attempt to get the facts. Correcting everything wrong would take too long and be pointless.”
Cohn did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on this story.
The book said Trump went on to fire Comey days later – Trump’s body man Keith Schiller hand-delivered the letter to the FBI director – and Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, huddled with Dina Powell, a White House aide who also worked at the investment bank. Powell predicted the fallout from the Comey firing would be bad for the White House, and the pair pressed Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner about it. Powell also did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on this story.
Kushner stood by the firing, the book said, citing “sources within hearing distance,” and told Powell “this is what should be done.”
“This guy is not on our team,” Kushner said, according to Ward’s account of the conversation.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly, Kate Sullivan and Katie Bernard contributed to this report.