WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday the White House did not seek to block former acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ testimony and denied that the White House had pressured the House Intelligence Committee to cancel her scheduled testimony during the investigation into ties between Russian agents and Trump campaign officials.
“I hope she testifies. I look forward to it,” Spicer said during the White House briefing. “We have no problem with her testifying, plain and simple.”
The statement came after The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration sought to block Yates’ testimony before Congress, citing a Justice Department letter to Yates’ attorney that said Yates’ communications with the White House counsel “are likely covered by the presidential communications privilege.”
Spicer called The Washington Post story 100 percent false.
When a reporter at Spicer’s daily press briefing asked for clarification, Spicer grew increasingly impatient.
“It’s interesting. This is very clearly worded and yet somehow you’re asking me how to interpret that in any other way than literally reading plain English,” Spicer said.
The reporter then said: “Interpret something else for me. Does the President still believe climate change is a hoax?”
“I think you’ll hear more today about the climate and what he believes…. He does not believe… that there’s a binary choice between job creation and economic growth and caring about the environment, and that’s what we should be focused on,” Spicer answered.
The briefing became even more contentious when American Urban Radio Networks Washington Bureau Chief April D. Ryan asked her first question: “How does this administration try to revamp its image,, two and a half months in, you have this Yates story,… you’ve got Russia, you’ve got wire-tapping.”
“We don’t have that,” Spicer interrupted, the first of several times the two interrupted each other. “I’ve said it from the day that I got here until whenever that there is no connection. You’ve got Russia. If the President puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection.”
“I appreciate your agenda here…,” he continued “but at some point report the facts. The facts are that every single person that’s been briefed on this subject has come away with the same conclusion. Republican, Democrat, so, I’m sorry that that disgusts you. You’re shaking your head. I appreciate that… but understand this that at some point the facts are what they are. Every single person that has been briefed on the situation with respect to the situation with Russia, Republican, Democrat, Obama-appointee, career, have all come to the same conclusion. At some point, April, you’re going to have to take no for an answer with respect to whether or not there was collusion.”
April Ryan then asked Spicer about the President meeting with Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State under former President George W. Bush. She reminded Spicer that Pres. Trump had called Rice a derogatory term in 2006. (B****)
He told her it was interesting that she would pose the questions back to back, saying that on the one hand she asked what the administration was going to do to improve its image and, then asking about meeting with Rice.
“Here he is once again meeting somebody who hasn’t been a big supporter of his,” Spicer said.
“Hold on April. Hold on. It seems like you’re hellbent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House, stays, because at the end of the day….,” he said, but then she interrupted, asking about their relationship since Pres. Trump ‘called her that name.’
“Let me answer the question…. You know what. You’re asking me the question and I’m going to answer it. Which is the President. I’m sorry. Please stop shaking your head again. At some point the reality is that this President continues to reach out to individuals who supported him, who didn’t support him, Republicans, Democrats, to try to bring the country together and move forward on an agenda that’s going to help every America. That’s it plain and simple….”
In related news, Pres. Trump’s son-in-law and trusted adviser, Jared Kushner, offered to testify to senators about meetings with senior Kremlin officials — including the head of a bank closely linked to President Vladimir Putin’s government.
And more revelations about a secret trip to the White House complex by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes spurred claims by Democrats that he was in league with the President’s aides to subvert his own panel’s investigation into Moscow’s alleged election meddling and ties to the Trump campaign.