White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had another heated briefing on Monday, defending everything from President Trump’s Twitter feed to his golf game — all the while repeatedly saying the media jumps to conclusions. He even mocked the New York Times, telling a reporter, “Your headlines are bad.”
“Our services are at the New York Times’ disposal when it comes to writing headlines,” Spicer said in a joking tone, offering to put his own stamp on the news outlet’s coverage. “We could probably do a couple things on stories, too, if you’re willing to go there.”
Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing with FBI director James Comey and National Security Agency director Mike Rogers was a hot topic early and often, with Spicer saying there are “a lot more questions that answers” when it comes to government surveillance.
Spicer echoed tweets Trump sent earlier in the day, standing firm that leaks are the real issue, as opposed to the Trump campaign having ties to Russia and claims that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
“The only headlines that people want to write are the ones that support a narrative against this administration,” Spicer said.
Comey confirmed for the first time on Monday that his bureau is “investigating the Russian government’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election,” but the investigation means little, according to Spicer.
“There is an assumption on behalf of most people in the media about what that investigation must mean,” he said Monday. “My point to you is that despite the narrative that gets played over and over again, with respect to what the investigation might mean, in terms of collusion, every person, Republican and Democrat, that has been briefed has come to the same conclusion: that there was no collusion,” Spicer added.
On the topic of former national security advisor Mike Flynn, whose ties to Russia were unmasked by leakers, Spicer asked, “How does somebody’s name that is protected [by] law from being disclosed get put out in the public? Why was it put out in the public?”
He continued: “What were the motives behind it? What else do we need to know? Who was behind that kind of unmasking?”
Earlier on Monday, Trump took to Twitter to claim Democrats “made up” a story about Russia interfering with the election “as an excuse for running a terrible campaign.”
The president said the allegations are “fake news” that were made up by political rivals as an excuse for losing the election. Trump said the “real story” is the leaking of classified information, adding, “Must find leaker now!”
At one point at Monday’s White House briefing, a reporter mentioned that Trump has played a lot of gold since Inauguration Day despite regularly criticizing Obama for the same thing. Spicer essentially said it is different because Trump conducts meetings on the golf course. Spicer quickly moved on when the reporter pressed Spicer for details.
“The president is entitled to a bit of privacy at some point,” Spicer said.
Spicer even scolded ABC News’ Jonathan Karl for interrupting another reporter.
Other reporters criticized Trump for frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago, but Spicer simply said, “The President is very clear that he works seven days a week.”
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