White House plays down FBI investigation into Russian officials and Trump’s campaign

White House plays down FBI investigation into Russian officials and Trump’s campaign

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was criticized – and even mocked on "Saturday NIght Live" –for his combative style with the media.

WASHINGTON—White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stressed Monday that despite FBI Director James Comey confirming that there is an investigation into alleged contacts between Russian officials and members of Trump’s campaign, there is no reason to believe that there was any wrongdoing.

“There is a point at which you continue to search for something that everybody has been briefed has not seen or found,” Spicer told reporters, citing previous statements from a variety of current and former U.S. officials stating that they have no seen evidence of any collusion.

Spicer acknowledged that there are concerns surrounding whom he described as “hangers on” during the campaign, but said that they ultimately had little involvement in the campaign.

“There is a fine line between people who want to be part of something they never had an official role in and people who actually played a role in the campaign and the transition,” Spicer said.

The Press Secretary went on to play down members of the campaign who appeared more central, describing Paul Manafort, who managed and chaired the campaign for several months, as playing “a very limited role.”

“For the final stretch of the general election he was not involved,” Spicer said.

Spicer also described retired General Michael Flynn, who served as National Security Adviser once Trump assumed the presidency, as a “volunteer.”

Responding to the other major revelation of Monday’s hearing, wherein Comey said that there is no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claim that he was surveiled by President Barack Obama during the campaign, Spicer made it clear that the White House is not yet ready to back down.

“We started a hearing, it’s still ongoing,” Spicer said. “This is one in a series of hearings.”

Monday’s hearing was the first public one into Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election.

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