House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) gave the usual weekly news conference while much of Washington and the rest of the country was focused on former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. On Thursday, Ryan said jocularly, “We thought there was nothing going on around here, so we’d mix things up a little bit.” McCarthy gave the riposte: “He said nothing else would be happening in Washington, that this would be a packed crowd.” “That was a joke,” McCarthy added.
Following a presentation on business in the House of Representatives, Ryan fielded questions about Comey’s testimony and President Donald Trump. “People now realize why the president is so frustrated when the FBI director tells him on three different occasions he is not under investigation, yet the speculation swirls around the political system that he is — that’s frustrating,” Ryan said.
Ryan added, “I would just say that of course there needs to be a degree of independence between [the Department of Justice], FBI and the White House and a line of communications established. The president’s new at this. He’s new to government, and so he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses. He’s just new to this.”
When Ryan was asked whether Trump’s behavior can be excused as evidence of inexperience, he said, “I’m not saying it’s an acceptable excuse. It’s just my observation.”