After flatout forbidding White House reporters to record Monday’s gaggle in any way, press secretary Sean Spicer braved an on-camera briefing Tuesday that was fairly lengthy—about 25 questions including follow ups—and yet equally as “useless” as yesterday’s.
The biggest headline: Sean Spicer still cannot say whether Donald Trump believes what’s now the source of an independent investigation along with a handful of congressional inquiries and an assessment shared by the U.S. intelligence community—that Russia interfered with the 2016 elections.
Some enterprising reporter thought maybe he could coax a “yes or no answer” out of Spicey on the matter and here’s what he got:
Spicer: I have not sat down and talked to him about that specifically, we’ve been dealing with a lot of other issues today. I’d be glad to touch base —
Reporter: This conversation about Russian interference in our elections, there’s 16 intelligence agencies that say that they did. The former FBI director said that without a doubt —
Spicer: I understand, I’ve seen the reports.
Reporter: Does the president share those views?
Spicer: I have not sat down and asked him about a specific reaction. So I’d be glad to touch base and get back to you.
To be fair, even the declassified version of the intelligence assessment on Russian interference was close to 25 pages long and notably short on pictures (so much text!), so it’s a lot to ask of the Don to review amid his busy tweeting schedule for the past five months. Wow, can you even imagine how long the classified version is?!
Anyway, a couple other reporters also broached the Russia subject and got similarly useless answers.
Other useless news from the brief:
•On health care, Spicer said Trump wants a healthcare bill that has “heart in it”—even though Trump held a huge White House celebration for passage of the House’s “mean” healthcare repeal bill.
•On World Refugee Day, Spicer said Trump’s “number one goal as commander in chief is to protect our country, our homeland and our people”—but clearly not when it comes to Russia and the integrity of our elections.
•On bringing back coal jobs vs. training people for new industries, Spicer said it wasn’t a “binary choice” and that “we need to make sure that we have the training and the support, the loan system, etc.” to train people into new jobs—even as Trump’s 2018 budget cuts the Department of Labor’s budget by 21 percent, including DOL programs that support some 14 million job seekers and placed 6 million Americans in new jobs last year.
•On rumors that his role at the White House might be changing, Spicer said, “I’m right here.”
True dat, Sean! He was there, spewing all the useless news that’s fit to print.
Watch Spicey’s Russia answer below: