WASHINGTON – Sean Spicer finally had enough with the major media during, declaring, “The Washington Post should be ashamed of how they covered this story,” which he twice called “100 percent false.”
He was specifically referring to a story the Post published Tuesday morning that asserted, “The Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in the House investigation of links between Russian officials and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.”
But it was the way the media has been covering the entire story alleging Russian ties with the Trump team that had the White House press secretary visibly disgusted at Tuesday’s daily press briefing.
First, Spicer repeated for the umpteenth time that everyone who had been briefed, including Obama’s former intelligence chiefs, had found no evidence of a link or collusion between the Russian government and the Trump transition team.
Then Spicer let loose on reporter April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks for continuing to push the narrative of a scandal in the Russia story.
His voice rising, Spicer told Ryan, “At some point you’re going to have to report facts.”
As he continued, he added, “Stop shaking your head, April.”
And referring to the lack of evidence for any Russia scandal, he added, “At some point, April, you’re going to have to take no for an answer.”
Spicer wasn’t just irked by reporters trying to create and sustain the appearance of a Russia scandal.
He also was upset they were ignoring what appears to be a real and growing scandal, the revelation by House Intelligence chair Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., that he has seen information confirming the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team.
Spicer berated White House reporters for focusing on substance when illegal leaks appeared damaging to the Trump administration, but targeting the messenger rather than the message when legal leaks vindicated the White House.
As WND reported Tuesday, for weeks, reporters have demanded to know: Where is the evidence to back up President Trump’s claim that the Obama administration spied on him?
But now that Nunes has said he has evidence to confirm the spying, the media are in an uproar, demanding to know how he got such information.
Nunes said he got the information from sources in the intelligence community.
On Monday, NBC’s Hallie Jackson asked Spicer, “Why is this leak OK, but other leaks are not?”
Because, he replied while pointing out the obvious, the chairman of the intelligence committee is cleared to see classified material. Reporters are not.
That didn’t stop reporters who seemed to be bursting at the seams with questions once they detected the possible scent of a scandal.
New information had come to light over the weekend. Suddenly, reporters weren’t just demanding to know how Nunes got the intelligence information, but they were grilling Spicer about where he got it.
To recap, Nunes had announced Wednesday, as WND reported, he had learned from intelligence sources that “on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.”
And details about those people “were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting” even though they had “little or no apparent foreign intelligence value.”
Over the weekend, it was reported that on Tuesday, the day before Nunes made his announcement, he had come to the White House to meet a source and review dozens of intelligence reports on the Trump transition team acquired via government spying.
Reporters seemed to smell blood.
Why the White House?
Why did Nunes have to come to the White House to see the information?
The media antennae were all aflutter with the whiff of scandal.
Was the White House leaking the information? Was the White House guilty of what it had accused the Obama administration of doing?
Actually, Nunes had already explained earlier in the day, in an interview, why he had come to the White House to view the information.
The chairman told Bloomberg News, “We don’t have networked access to these kinds of reports in Congress,” and the White House was simply the most convenient secure location that had a computer connected to the system that housed the reports.
Nunes also said his source was an intelligence official and not a member of the White House staff.
But that didn’t stop reporters from trying to insinuate the White House may have been the source of the information, or that the administration and Nunes had somehow been tainted.
“Are you satisfied that you don’t have an inappropriate leak in the executive branch?” a reporter asked Spicer.
He said that was not a concern.