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Sean Spicer press conference - live updates

WH Briefing Feb. 14
WH Briefing Feb. 14 45:21

2:01 p.m. The briefing has ended.

1:58 p.m. A question from Skype was about the situation on Saturday when Trump learned about the missile test by North Korea when he was at Mar-a-Lago and dealt with it at the club, with members sitting nearby. Spicer said that there is a SKIF at the club and Mr. Trump was brought into it twice to be informed about North Korea. 

1:52 p.m. Spicer is asked how the president has been tough on Russia as he had claimed. He slammed the Obama administration for failing to have a reset with Russia, but he dodged the question and only said that the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, has been extremely forceful on Russia. 

Spicer was also asked if the White House plans to declassify the transcripts of Flynn’s calls, but said it would be “inappropriate” for him to comment on them now.

1:43 p.m. After the Justice Department informed the White House about Flynn on Jan. 26, Spicer said that the president “was immediately informed of the situation.”

Spicer was asked why it took so long for the White House to take immediate action to fire Flynn, and he said that wouldn’t have allowed for due process.

Spicer declined to comment on whether anyone has read the transcripts of Flynn’s calls.

1:41 p.m. Spicer gave no indication about how soon Mr. Trump will choose Flynn’s replacement and was also asked about The Washington Post’s report about Omarosa Manigault physically intimidating White House reporter April Ryan. The report said that the White House is keeping dossiers on certain black reporters. 

“That is absolutely not true,” Spicer said about the idea of the White House keeping dossiers on reporters. “There are absolutely no dossiers being kept.”

WH on Flynn 13:34

1:40 p.m. Spicer said that there was nothing Flynn did that violated any law or protocol and that it was an issue of trust with the president that led to the resignation. Lawmakers, however, had raised concerns that Flynn had violated the Logan Act by speaking about U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russia’s ambassador before Mr. Trump took office. 

Spicer was asked if the president intends to cooperate with any investigations launched by Congress and that the White House will follow the law, but suggested lawmakers won’t find anything new.

1:35 p.m. Spicer was asked about Conway’s comments on Monday where she claimed the president had confidence in Flynn. Spicer said it was an “evolving and eroding process” and that the president made a decision late in the day to ask for Flynn’s resignation. 

1:31 p.m. Spicer was asked about the claim that Flynn had not had contact with Russia during the campaign, and he suggested nothing has been learned that would change that assertion. He was asked why it took more than two weeks for the president to take action after the Justice Department warned the White House and Spicer said the president asked the White House counsel to look into it. 

CBS News’ Major Garrett asked if the president was truthful on Friday when Mr. Trump said he wasn’t aware of the Flynn situation. Spicer said that he was asked specifically if he had seen The Washington Post’s report, but that he had been aware of the situation before that.

Spicer said the question wasn’t whether Flynn had done something illegal, but that he had eroded the truth between himself and the president.

1:27 p.m. Spicer said that Mr. Trump spoke to British Prime Minister Theresa May by phone Tuesday morning and then had lunch with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his wife.

Spicer said that the president will hold a joint press conference with Netanyahu on Wednesday and that he will visit Charleston, South Carolina on Friday for a Boeing event.

1:20 p.m. Spicer took over again and directly addressed Flynn’s resignation. He said that the White House had been reviewing and evaluating this issue for the last few weeks and was trying to “ascertain the truth.” The ultimate decision was “based on a trust issue” and Spicer said that the “level of trust had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change.” Spicer said that Mr. Trump was concerned that Flynn had misled the vice president and others and as a result, the president “asked for Flynn’s resignation.”

Spicer said that the president has kept a close eye Oroville Dam situation in California, which has prompted widespread evacuations, and said that it’s evidence that Congress should pursue a comprehensive infrastructure package. 

1:16 p.m. Spicer just began the briefing, but turned the briefing over to newly sworn in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who announced that his department’s office of foreign asset control labeled a top Venezulean official as a specially designated narcotics trafficker who played a significant role in international narcotics trafficking. 

Mnuchin was asked about U.S. sanctions against Russia, but he declined to comment on whether there would be changes and only said the current program is in place. 

12:50 p.m. The daily White House press briefing is expected to begin around 1:15 p.m. and press secretary Sean Spicer will likely face a barrage of questions about the resignation of Gen. Michael Flynn late Monday as President Trump’s national security adviser. 

Spicer will likely get questions about when the White House was informed by acting Attorney General Sally Yates last month that Flynn had mislead administration officials about his calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and that he was vulnerable to Russian blackmail. He might also get questions about Kellyanne Conway’s comment Monday afternoon that Mr. Trump had confidence in Flynn, in contrast to Spicer’s own statement, which was that the president was evaluating the situation. Flynn’s resignation followed by the resignation only hours later.

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