President Donald Trump “wants to get to the bottom of” the Russia investigations, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday.
Spicer addressed reporters during an Air Force One gaggle for the first time since The New York Times reported on a memo former FBI Director James Comey wrote shortly after a private February meeting with the president in the Oval Office. The memo alleges that Trump asked the head of the FBI to drop its investigation into ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and encouraged Comey to consider imprisoning reporters who publish classified information.
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The White House denied the veracity of the memo’s account in a statement Tuesday, and Spicer told reporters on Wednesday that “the president is confident in the events that he has maintained” and wants congressional probes into Russia’s intervention in the 2016 campaign “to get to the bottom of the situation.”
“There’s two investigations going on in the House and Senate, and he wants to get to the bottom of this,” Spicer said.
In an unattributed statement released by the White House on Tuesday, the administration said Trump “has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn.”
“The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations,” the statement continued. “This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey.”
Spicer suggested at Monday’s briefing, hours before a Washington Post report revealed that Trump had disclosed highly classified information to Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting last week, that Trump fired Comey knowing it “could be detrimental to himself” and could prolong the FBI’s investigation, which includes looking into whether there was any collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials during the presidential campaign.
“He knew it was the right thing for the country, the right thing for the FBI, and the right thing to get to the bottom of this,” Spicer said Monday.