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In Heated Exchange, Kellyanne Conway Battles Anderson Cooper Over Comey Dismissal

Despite Cooper’s best efforts, his frustration with Conway’s creative defense of President Donald Trump was painfully obvious

CNN's Anderson Cooper reacts to Kellyanne Conway's defense of President Donald Trump FBI Director James Comey. May 9, 2017.
CNN's Anderson Cooper reacts to Kellyanne Conway's defense of President Donald Trump FBI Director James Comey. May 9, 2017. Screengrab from Anderson Cooper's CNN interview. May 9, 2017.

Kellyanne Conway appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper on Tuesday to defend President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI director James Comey.

As has become the norm between the two, Cooper alternated between frustrated eye-rolling and scowls during Conway’s defense.

Cooper pressed Conway on President Trump’s apparent change of opinion on Comey, saying “As a candidate, Donald Trump praised James Comey. Donald Trump talked about this on the campaign all the time. All of sudden the White House is concerned about James Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email?”

In lieu of responding, Conway focused on some minute details of President Trump’s letter announcing the dismissal. After several fact-checks, Conway told Cooper that he was “looking at the wrong facts.”

CNN's Anderson Cooper, Kellyanne Conway discusses President Donald Trump firing James Comey. May 9, 2017. CNN

“You’re going back to the campaign,” Conway said. “This man is president of the United States.”

“That makes no sense,” Cooper responded.

Cooper tried several times to elicit a complete statement from Conway by asking more pointed questions. “Clearly, this White House is under investigation, the people around the president are under investigation,” Cooper said. “You would agree with that, yes?”

“No, I don’t,” Conway said. “I know that some are obsessed with the word Russia, Russia, Russia.” 

When Conway again tried to separate President Trump from statements he made on the campaign, Cooper responded, “So that person doesn’t exist anymore? Candidate Donald Trump, that’s a fictional character we are no longer allowed to refer to? We can only refer to the Donald Trump who exists today?”

“Anderson, I’ll ignore how unkind that is,” Conway said, to which Cooper looks particularly perturbed.

Conway, who was a constant media presence during the 2016 campaign and in the early days of the administration, has made only a few appearances in recent weeks.