WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Paul Ryan sought Thursday to explain President Donald Trump's asking then-FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying he was new at the job and did not understand protocols.
"Of course there needs to be a degree of independence between (the Justice Department), FBI and the White House, and a line of communications established," Ryan said during his news conference, which occurred at the same time as Comey was testifying across Capitol Hill before the Senate intelligence committee.
"The President's new at this. He's new to government. 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."
Pushed further by CNN, Ryan said, "I'm not saying it's an acceptable excuse. It's just my observation."
"He's new at government, and so therefore I think that he -- he is learning as he goes," Ryan said.
Ryan also argued that Comey's opening statement revealed why the President was frustrated with the ongoing investigation into Russia.
"I think people now realize why the President is so frustrated. When the FBI Director tells him on three different occasions that he's not under investigation, yet the speculation swirls around the political system that he is, that's frustrating," Ryan said.
Ryan declined to comment on whether he thought it was appropriate for Trump to ask Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn.
"I'm not going to comment on these things, because these are all apart of these ongoing investigations and I'm not gonna prejudge this stuff, because what I don't want to do is -- in the middle of a House intelligence committee investigation, a Senate intelligence committee investigation, and now an independent counsel -- is to speculate on the day-to-day intrigue of all of these issues," Ryan said.