President Trump on Friday said he will not fire White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after a federal watchdog recommended that she be removed for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act by engaging in partisan political activity on behalf of her boss.
The Special Counsel's Office - not affiliated with Robert Mueller - issued a report to the president saying Conway violated the law by criticizing Democrat presidential candidates in her capacity as a federal employee.
"I think she's a terrific person, she's a tremendous spokesperson, she's loyal, she's a great person ..."
The White House says the move was influenced by media pressure and liberal organizations, arguing the OSC didn't conduct its investigation in good faith because it broke off communication with Conway and wouldn't allow her to respond to accusations. This morning, he told Fox and Friends what he plans to do.
The accompanying report goes on to cite examples of Conway ripping Trump's potential political opponents.
"I'm going to get a very strong briefing on it".
Watch above, via Fox News.
"If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would nearly certainly result in her removal from her federal position", Kerner's letter said. It really sounds to me like a free speech thing.
"As a highly visible member of the Administration, Ms. Conway's violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act's restrictions", the OSC said. "Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system - the rule of law". "Never has (the office) had to issue multiple reports to the President concerning Hatch Act violations by the same individual".
"We respect his decision and, of course, the president has any option he'd like-to reprimand or not to reprimand", Kerner said.
In the interview, Kerner said his office had "several discussions" with the White House counsel and they had the OSC report "for weeks".