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Trump's lawyer will now answer all Russia-related questions, Spicer says

Last Updated May 31, 2017 4:44 PM EDT

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday referred all questions related to the FBI's Russia investigation from now on to President Trump's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz.

Spicer declined to answer a question in a White House press gaggle about congressional testimony Comey is expected to give concerning the president's request to drop an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Spicer's response marked the first time a Trump surrogate has answered a Russia-related question by referring it to lawyers. 

"Our job, we are focused on the president's agenda," Spicer said in a 12-minute, off-camera press gaggle, adding that "going forward," Kasowitz will answer any press questions about the Russia investigation. Spicer referred to Kasowitz as "White House counsel," although Kasowitz -- Mr. Trump's longtime attorney -- is being retained as part of an outside legal team to represent him in the investigation into Russian interference in the election. 

Kasowitz has represented Mr. Trump since the early 2000s in some of his trickiest legal issues, including the Trump University fraud case. Kasowitz has another big-name client in the news -- the recently ousted Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly. 

Spicer had no further information on Mr. Trump's decision on whether to back out of the Paris climate agreement, although Mr. Trump tweeted last week that he would have a decision sometime this week. 

"I think the president's comments on this, that he will be making a decision in the next few days, stand," Spicer said. 

Spicer said the president has spoken with foreign leaders and industry leaders on the agreement, although he would not say whether the president has met or will meet with his cabinet on the matter. 

Spicer gave no further clarity on Mr. Trump's confounding overnight "covfefe" tweet, which created an Internet sensation and caused people to speculate about why the president is tweeting -- and what he is tweeting -- in the middle of the night. 

"I think the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant," Spicer said. 

The White House is in the midst of a communications shakeup, which began with the impending departure of White House Communications Director Mike Dubke. The White House is reportedly considering other changes, like fewer on-camera briefings. Wednesday's very brief, off-camera gaggle could be a sign of what future interactions between the White House and the media will be like. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.