White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday insisted to reporters that it did not have a responsibility to provide documents used in the hiring of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn because they were filled out in the days before President Donald Trump took office.
At Tuesday’s press briefing, Spicer was peppered with questions about why the White House refused to provide documents related to an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Spicer told reporters that the documents were filled out “during the Obama administration” and “those are not documents that the White House would ever possess.”
“From your perspective, is there no obligation either from the transition [team] or the White House to do anything more than you have done?” CBS correspondent Major Garrett asked.
“Everything that the White House has been asked to do, the only documents that were made available to [Congress] that they asked for were the ones that the Department of Defense had,” Spicer insisted.
“How about these calls made where [Flynn] was working during the transition on behalf of a future President Trump?” Garrett wondered. “Aren’t those things that you should have some responsibility or obligation to provide if you can?”
“It’s a question [of] if you can,” Spicer replied. “To ask for every call a national security adviser made is pretty outlandish.”
“Those calls were made on behalf of the Trump transition were they not?” Garrett pressed.
“When?” Spicer said. “We started this administration on Jan. 20. All the information that they’re talking about occurred prior to him being at the White House.”
“Working for the transition!” Garrett exclaimed.
“Not at the White House!” Spicer shot back. “Everything that is being questioned occurred prior to Jan. 20th.”
‘Not Trump’s fault’: House oversight chair Chaffetz blames Obama administration for failing to vet Flynn
The saga over likely criminal wrongdoing by Michael Flynn took another turn for the bizarre today when Congressman Jason Chaffetz told MSNBC that the fault lay with former President Barack Obama.
Former Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn spent 24 days as National Security Advisor to Donald Trump — setting the record for the shortest tenure in the post when he resigned following news reports proving he had lied about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The latest Flynn scandal concerns potential violations of federal law by not disclosing payments from Russia while seeking a security clearance to work in the Trump White House.
“It was the Obama White House that this would have fallen under,” Chaffetz claimed. “I don’t think what happened here is really the fault of Donald Trump.”
The deflection of blame away from Trump by the Republican Chair of the House Oversight Committee referred to Obama appointing Flynn as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. However, as the New York Times explained about this developing scandal, “it was only after Mr. Flynn was forced out as national security adviser that his dealings in Russia came into sharper focus.”
It was also revealed today that the Administration is stonewalling congressional investigators by refusing to turn over White House documents concerning the vetting, hiring and dismissal of Flynn. Following that revelation, Fox News host Shepard Smith used the term, “cover up” to refer to the lack of cooperation by the White House.
Before being appointed by Trump, Flynn’s loyalty had been rewarded with a coveted speaking slot during the 2016 RNC Convention.