The White House just made an impassioned defense of investigations and congressional hearings as the only way to get to the truth on important issues, before attacking the notion of investigations and hearings as frivolous distractions that shouldn’t be taken seriously – all in the same press conference!
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer took to the podium this afternoon and, in a span of minutes, managed to thoroughly undermine any credibility left in President Trump’s defense of his campaign’s ties to Russia, as well as his boss’s insistence that President Obama ordered the “wiretapping” of Trump Tower.
Spicer first got hit with a quote from FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to Congress today confirming that there is no evidence supporting Trump’s accusations made two weeks ago via Twitter that the former president had him bugged.
Spicer’s response: investigations and hearings are underway and we need to let them play out before jumping to conclusions.
“We’ve started a hearing, it’s still ongoing. This is one in a series of hearings that will be happening. There’s a lot of things that aren’t being covered in this hearing that I think are interesting that, since it’s ongoing I’ll leave that for now. There’s a lot of information that needs to be covered. There are things that still need to be discussed.”
Seconds later, the same reporter confronted him with another piece of Director Comey’s testimony confirming that President Trump and his associates are, indeed, under FBI investigation for links to Russia. Director Comey further specified that this investigation includes inquires into potential collusion that may have occurred during the presidential campaign.
Spicer’s response: investigations just don’t matter much and we need to accept the obvious conclusions the White House has jumped to.
“…Investigating it and having proof of it are two different things. I think it’s fine to look into it, but at the end of the day, they are going to come to the same conclusion that everybody else has. So you can continue to look for something, but continuing to look for something that doesn’t exist, doesn’t matter.”
Then came the best part. Time Magazine reporter Zeke Miller (Twitter: @ZekeJMiller) hit Spicer between the eyes with the question everyone was dying to ask:
“Why, in one case, is it sufficient to say that we can rule out [allegations of] collusion now, [but] in the other case you can say there’s going to be more information coming out that will prove the [President’s] tweets correct?”
After a deer-in-the-headlights moment, he stumbled through an answer like a child trying to explain that he didn’t eat the chocolate candy while wiping the chocolate stains off his mouth.
You can see his answers to this and the other questions from the full press conference below.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.