President Donald Trump “has said he will make an announcement” as to whether he taped conversations with FBI Director James Comey before sacking him, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at the close of today’s press briefing.
“I expect it this week,” he added. “When he is ready to make that announcement, I will let you know.”
Asked for a yes/no answer to the question, “Does Trump believe the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election,” Spicer pulled out his “I have not sat down and talked to his about that specifically” gag, adding, “I will be glad to touch base and get back to you.” In rough numbers that translates to “don’t hold your breath.”
“Didn’t he say it was ‘fake news’?” a reporter shouted at Spicey as he was wrapping that answer; he declined to acknowledge the question.
Spicer played Trump Victory-Lap Translator, in re last week’s return to this country of American college student Otto Warmbier, who the Obama administration had been unsuccessful in getting released. Warmbier died at home Monday after being held in captivity by North Korea for more than a year during which he suffered major brain damage and slipped into a coma.
“The president was pleased he was able to work with the State Department and get Otto home as soon as he could,” Spicer said. “But I think, when you realize what happened, the president believes, had it happened sooner, potentially there might have been additional medical resources that could have been provided.
“He’s obviously saddened by this entire situation, and just would have hoped that it could have been resolved earlier,” Spicer translated.
Previous day, upon learning Warmbier had died, Trump said at a photo op: “It’s a disgrace what happened to Otto. It’s a total disgrace what happened to Otto.”
“It should never, ever be allowed to happen,” Trump continued. “And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different. He should have been brought home that day.”
Spicer appeared to confirm reports he’s leaving as White House Press Secretary. Asked about those reports, Spicer joked he is “right here, so you can keep taking your selfies.”
“It’s no secret we’ve had a couple vacancies, including communications director,” Spicer said, and have interviewed “potential people who may be of service” to the Trump White House, noting they are “always looking for ways to do a better job articulating the president’s message and his agenda. “When we have announcements of a personnel nature, I will let you know.”