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FBI Director Testifies Before House Intelligence Committee; FBI Director Says FBI Investigating Trump/Russia Collusion; FBI Says No Evidence of Obama Wiretapping of Trump Tower; White House Press Briefing Begins. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 20, 2017 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


COMEY: -- where do you stop that on that slope?

[13:30:00] TURNER: Well, false is false, Mr. Comey.

COMEY: Because then, when I don't call The New York Times to say you got that one wrong, bingo, they got that one right. And so I -- it's just an enormously complicated endeavor for us. We have to stay clear of it entirely.

TURNER: Thank you, Mr. Comey, one last question. So we all read in the press that Vice President Pence publicly denied that General Flynn discussed sanctions with Russia. And I'm assuming that you saw those news reports. Did the FBI take any action in response to the vice president statements?

COMEY: I can't comment on that, Mr. Turner.

TURNER: Mr. Comey, The New York Times reported on February 14th, 2017, that General Flynn was interviewed by FBI personnel. Is that correct?

COMEY: I can't comment on that, Mr. Turner.

TURNER: Mr. Comey, I do not have any additional questions, but I thank you both for your participation. And again, I thank for the -- the chairman and ranking member for the bipartisan aspect of this investigation.

NUNES: Gentleman yields back.

Dr. Wenstrup is recognized.

WENSTRUP: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you gentlemen for being here, I appreciate your endurance in this effort today. One question, how long has Russia or the Soviet Union been interfering or attempting to interfere with our election process?

ROGERS: In the report we've feebly (ph) talked about, we have seen this kind of behavior to some degree attempting to influence outcomes for decades.

(CROSSTALK)

WENSTRUP: Going back to -- going back the Soviet Union...

ROGERS: Right. Not to the same level necessary, but the basic trend has been there.

WENSTRUP: So I'm curious also about what triggers a counterintelligence investigation of a government official. And in some ways, I'm asking for myself. For example, last week I spoke at an event on form policy with Atlantic Council. Unbeknownst to me, the Iraqi ambassador of the United States was there. He comes up to me afterwards, introduces himself and says he'd like to meet with me at some time. So this isn't a theoretical, this is real and this is what I'm asking is this.

Will be in trouble or under investigation if I meet with him?

COMEY: This is the slope I tried to avoid going down with Mr. Turner. Dr. Wenstrup, I -- I don't think I should be answering hypotheticals. The question is...

WENSTRUP: It's not hypothetical because I'm asking you in advance because I want to know if I can meet with him and be under investigation or not and I don't think that's an unrealistic question. This is real. This is right now.

COMEY: I get that. The FBI does not give advisory opinions, and so if you're asking about your particular case, I just can't do that.

WENSTRUP: So you'll tell me afterwards?

COMEY: No, I'll -- I'll never tell you.

(LAUGHTER)

WENSTRUP: Well, you might. Somebody might, somebody might tell the press, right? And that's where I'm going next because I want to know what -- what can I discuss? What am I allowed to discuss? And what -- what triggers the investigation is really what we're trying to get to in general. You know, maybe not with the Iraqi ambassador, but what about with the Russian ambassador? What are my obligations? What am I -- do I need to advise someone that I'm meeting with them? Do I have to discuss the agenda before I meet with them?

You know, just so we're clear. I mean, this is really what it's coming down to, is a lot about what we're talking about. You know, so I don't think it's unnecessary or ridiculous for me to ask that. And so in intelligence reporting, if the identity of a U.S. official is disseminated to those on an as needed basis -- or those that need to know basis. Does that generally lead to a counterintelligence investigation of that individual?

So in -- in general, if a U.S. official is -- is -- is in this report and it's disseminated, does that lead to an investigation of the individual?

COMEY: No, not in general, not as a rule. No.

WENSTRUP: OK. That answers...

(CROSSTALK)

COMEY: It would depend on lots of the circumstances.

WENSTRUP: Next, I want to go to the article from February 14 in The New York Times which I believe we're all familiar. And you may not be able to answer any of these, but the article sites four current and former American officials. Do you know -- know the identity of those four officials?

COMEY: Not going to comment on an article.

WENSTRUP: OK. Well, it's not necessarily on the article, but OK. Do you know for a fact that the four current and former American officials provided information for the story?

COMEY: I have to give you the same answer.

WENSTRUP: OK. With or without an investigation going on, has anyone told you that they know who leaked the information or who leaked any information on Russian involvement in the U.S. elections or Russian involvement with the Trump election team?

COMEY: I'm not going to comment on that.

WENSTRUP: Is it possible that The New York Times misrepresented its sourcing for this February 14 article? Possible.

COMEY: I can't comment on that.

WENSTRUP: Is it possible that The New York Times was misled by individuals claiming to be current or former American officials.

COMEY: I'll give you the same answer, Dr. Wenstrup.

WENSTRUP: Can I ask why you can't comment on that?

COMEY: I think a number of reasons. I'm not confirming that the information in that article is accurate or inaccurate. I'm not going to get in the business of -- that we talked about earlier...

WENSTRUP: OK. Is it -- then let me ask you this.

COMEY: And there's other reasons.

WENSTRUP: Sure.

COMEY: That I'm also not going to confirm whether we're investigating things, and so if I start talking about what I know about a particular article, I run the risk of stepping on both of those landmines.

WENSTRUP: I guess one more question before the time is up and we'll come back to me, but I am curious, is it possible -- and nothing to do with this article. Is it possible that a so-called source to a media outlet may actually be a Russian advocate? Nothing to do with this story per say, just is it possible that a Russian surrogate could actually be the source that a newspaper is relying on?

COMEY: In general, sure, somebody could always be pretending to be something they're not.

WENSTRUP: Thank you.

And I yield back at this time.

NUNES: Gentleman yields back.

Mr. Schiff's recognized for 15 minutes.

SCHIFF: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Just a couple follow-up questions and then I'll pass it to Mr. Quigley for entering something into the record.

COMEY: Mr. Chairman, can I ask you for an estimated time? I'm not made of steel, so I might need to take a quick break.

NUNES: Would you like to do that now?

COMEY: If you can, I didn't know how much longer you planned to go.

NUNES: I think we want to keep going until the members have asked all their questions.

COMEY: OK. Just a quick rest stop?

NUNES: Yes. So we'll break for about 10 minutes.

COMEY: That's plenty.

[13:36:46] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So this is the break. It's been going on since 10:00 in the morning. Some major headlines emerging from the House Intelligence Committee hearing. The FBI Director James Comey now confirming -- confirming that an investigation is underway. Not only an investigation into the Russian government's efforts to interfere on the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but he goes one step further saying, "The investigation also includes the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts." And he then goes on to say this, he says, "As with any counter intelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed."

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

We've got an excellent panel to assess this.

The other big headline, Gloria Borger, emerging is that Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, also saying there is absolutely no evidence to back up President Trump's allegations against President Obama that he ordered wiretapping over Trump Tower in New York during the campaign. These are important developments.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Important developments and bad developments for the president of the United States, I would have to say. Because I think that what Comey did was he confirmed the investigation, but then he refused to characterize it. He refused to say, well, it's on a scale of one to ten, it's ten being the most serious. It's that serious or it's a number one. Without putting it in any kind of context, Wolf, this now hangs out there over the administration like a soggy, wet tent over their heads. It's going to be very difficult for them to escape it. I would also have to say that the Republicans today were really focusing on the so-called unmasking of people who might have been caught up in the gathering of intelligence, but may not really be involved in any illicit activity. They're concerned about the leaking of these names. We had two kinds of hearings going on. One about the leaks and the other one trying to sort of uncover what the FBI director knows and, of course, what he is willing to say, which is not much beyond what you stated.

BLITZER: Dana Bash, the statement from the FBI director, James Comey, on what the president had alleged, what, 16 days ago, that President Obama had personally ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower in New York, he says this, he says, "I have no information to support those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI." Then he adds, "The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets."

We're going to be hearing momentarily from the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. We'll see where he goes from here. But this is an -- this is another embarrassment right now to the president that what he alleged 16 days ago, the FBI and the Justice Department say they have no evidence to back it up.

[13:40:14] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Incredibly significant. You can't underscore enough how significant it is for the director of the FBI to come before the House Intelligence Committee, which almost -- which very rarely does public hearings to begin with. But comes prepared to explicitly say that the president of the United States was wrong and that's the opinion of the FBI but also the Justice Department, which is, you know -- there's certainly a lot of career people there, but also is a political -- run by political appointees by the Republicans. Incredibly significant. Something that we expected. And he clearly felt that he had to do that.

One thing I just want to point out, and I think we have the tweet because what are we talking about here? We're talking about the president starting this whole thing with a tweet back 16 days ago, accusing President Obama of wiretapping. While Comey and Rogers are testifying, at 12:33 p.m., from the official presidential account at POTUS, they tweeted -- I say "they," I don't know if it was the president or someone else -- "FBI Director Comey refused to deny he briefed President Obama on calls Michael Flynn made to Russia."

This is something that the White House is putting out, so it's a little bit confusing, but here's what you need to know, that the White House officials has been dissing the FBI director while he is testifying and dissing the former president, again, while the FBI director is testifying. It is unbelievable that this happened.

BORGER: I think they're discovering what Comey giveth, Comey taketh away also, as he did during the election, he gave them a little --

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: -- a little head of steam and now, today, taking it away.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: I think that's exactly right. They're getting a taste of what Brian and the Hillary Clinton campaign certainly had to deal with last year because you have an ongoing investigation as they did last year and there's only so much the FBI can talk about during an ongoing investigation. Obviously as we said earlier today, we knew that Comey was not going to be able to go to the direction of where James Clapper and some other people have said, which is, so far, investigators haven't found anything to indicate that there was actual direct collusion between members in the Trump campaign and Russian government. They haven't found evidence of that. We reported that previously. But that doesn't mean that the investigation is over. The FBI can't answer that question because they don't know yet what they don't know.

BLITZER: It's interesting, John, because in a statement that is a very carefully crafted statement, the FBI director says, "The policy of the FBI and the Justice Department is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations, especially those investigations that involve classified matters." Then he adds this, he says, "But in unusual circumstances, where it is in the public interest, it may be appropriate to do so as the Department of Justice policy recognizes." He says this is one of those.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIOINAL CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Again, significant. President Trump's administration decided to public acknowledge the there is an investigation of possible coordination -- the FBI director says he prefers coordination -- between President Trump's campaign operatives and the Russian government. Now, they don't send us any evidence, but they say there's an investigation of it. Again, and President Trump's administration, including the Justice Department, and his director of the National Security Agency director, said on the record there is zero evidence to support an allegation made. Republicans are trying to get from that point an allegation made by the president of the United States 16 days ago. That is pretty damning when it comes to the question of credibility.

Now, the Republicans were trying to get, from that point on -- the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, did say on "Meet the Press," just a few days ago, that when he left as of January 20th there was no evidence of collusion. The Republicans were trying to get the people currently involved in this to say that that was still the case, and they would not. James Comey said, I'm not going to talk about that. So that's a frustrating point for the Republicans who are, frankly, embarrassed by what the president did 16 days ago. And they're trying to get something out of this to his benefit and to their benefit. And they've been frustrated in that.

BLITZER: There's a recess right now at the House Intelligence Committee hearing. We will resume live coverage once they gavel it back into sessions. We're also standing by for the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, he'll have his briefing at the White House West Wing. We'll have live coverage of that. We'll get the official White House reaction to what we just heard.

But Pamela, you covered the Justice Department. Were you anticipating that the FBI director would go as far as he did in confirming that there is an ongoing investigation, an investigation where crime says may have been committed?

[13:45:01] PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I certainly think he went further than a lot of us are expecting. We expected him to come out and say there was no information to support President Trump's claim about wiretapping. But to come out and not only say there was an investigation about Russian interference in the election, but he went even farther to say and we're also investigating possible coordination between associates of the Trump campaign and Russia. That is certainly further than I think a lot of us thought he would go. And he also said this investigation began late July, which gives us sort of a time frame, which is important. If you think about it, early July is when he came out and closed the investigation publicly into Hillary Clinton's public -- or private e-mail before reopening the investigation in October. And then just to think, shortly after that, this investigation is opened into Trump's associates and Russia. And it's just fascinating to see, you know, where it stands now.

With the FBI to open up investigation, there has to be predication. We don't know what that is. We don't know what the FBI was basing this investigation on, but this is certainly politically not something that the Trump administration wants.

RAJU: I think it actually might be a little helpful for this White House, just the words that he chose, which we know are very carefully chosen. He said that these are people associated with the campaign, which I think lines up with what we have been reporting and what we have known, which I think the Trump campaign also would say that they know of no one who was inside the campaign, while in the campaign, who was actually doing any kind of coordination, so that's a point that the White House --

BLITZER: You're suggesting that the people that had been associated with the campaign, but were no longer with campaign.

(CROSSTALK)

RAJU: Possibly before they became part of the campaign or people who were just simply associated with it.

BASH: The only thing I'll say to that is we all remember covering the campaign. The campaign itself was very, very small. People who actually worked for the campaign that were on the Trump campaign payroll was very small. Trump world, Trump land, and people who are associated with him is much broader.

RAJU: But I think it's important for that because you have a campaign, as you said, that was very small, but the White House wants is to keep this as far away from the president as possible.

BASH: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Clarissa Ward is here. She's based here in London.

And there's another headline that emerged, very strong statement from the director of the National Security Agency and the FBI director that there is absolutely no truth to that speculation, that report that aired on FOX News that there was -- that British intelligence had decided to go ahead and commit espionage or spy on Trump Tower in New York during the campaign. We heard the British government say that was nonsense. Utterly ridiculous. Admiral Rogers, the director of the NSA, said he agrees with that assessment.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And he almost seemed a little bit embarrassed as he agreed with it when he was probed as to does this hinder our relationship with vital allies, like the British, like the Germans, talking about also the bringing up the Angela Merkel hacking allegations or eavesdropping allegations? There was a real sense in that moment that he understood the importance of this five-eyes coordination, intelligence sharing, and how deeply mortifying it is for people like Admiral Rogers to have to sort of go to the GHCQ with their kind of cap in their hands and apologize for such an outlandish accusation, which clearly, in this instance, as we heard today, was not based in any fact whatsoever.

BLITZER: And we never could hear these kinds of official statements from British intelligence, or from the NSA, for that matter. In this particular case, they both wanted to dismiss what the White House has cited as a report suggesting that to get around U.S. intelligence, U.S. law, if you will, the U.S. -- the Obama administration asked British intelligence to do that kind of work.

WARD: No, they wanted to put the stop to it once and for all so that we never have to have this discussion again because it's embarrassing, and it jeopardizes important relationships and important intelligence sharing agreements where.

BLITZER: Let's bring in Rick Santorum and Brian Fallon into this conversation.

I'm anxious to get your reaction, Senator, as a good Republican.

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I can't argue -- argue that was not a good morning for Donald Trump and a good morning with respect to the allegations of wiretapping. I think that has been put to bed by his own Justice Department. So that's not a good thing for him.

I would say on the Russian front, I think it's more of a mixed story than being put forward here. This investigation has been going on for a long time.

BLITZER: Since July.

SANTORUM: Since July. We heard Jim Clapper say we have no evidence of collusion. Well, if you don't have any evidence of collusion, you have obviously been looking for collusion. So we've known for a while that there has been an investigation of collusion, otherwise Jim Clapper couldn't say there is no evidence of collusion. He wouldn't make that assertion. None of this is really new news other than the fact that we now know for sure. So I'm not sure this is as mind bending as maybe we are projecting here.

[13:50:14] The one good story is they said there is no evidence. What is all this collusion about? There has to be some end on the part of the Russians. What would that end be? Well, the Democratic Party was saying for a long time, well, they interfered with the election, they messed with the vote. Well, it's clear they have now publicly said there is no evidence of vote tampering, none whatsoever. So that narrative is now gone. Then what is the other --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Well, they both said, Admiral Rogers and the FBI director, that the Russians' intention was, one, to try to undermines U.S. democracy, two, weaken Hillary Clinton as much as possible. And then there is a little diversion within the intelligence community, actually help Donald Trump get elected.

SANTORUM: Right. The question is, concretely, how were they doing it? One of the narratives out there was they were trying to influence -- they were trying to hack in and they were trying to change the actual votes. That now has been complete debunked. Are there other things they may have done? Yes. What they were is uncertain.

BLITZER: Brian Fallon, you were the spokesman for the Hillary Clinton campaign, a former Justice Department official as well.

Hold on one second. Sean Spicer just started speaking on this.

[13:51:24]

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: -- facts in this.

As had been privately -- previously reported, Director Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating Russia's role in interfering with the election, and I'm going to just comment briefly on that. Following this testimony, it's clear that nothing has changed. Senior Obama intelligence officials (ph) have gone on record to confirm that there is no evidence of a Trump Russia collusion. The Obama CIA Director said so, Obama's Director of National Intelligence said so, and we take them at their word. However, there was some new information that came from the hearing that we believe is newsworthy about the intelligence gathering process and the unmasking of Americans identified in intelligence reports and the illegal leak of such unmasked individuals, which is a federal crime.

Director Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that certain political appointees in the Obama administration had access to the names of unmasked U.S. citizens, such as senior White House officials, senior Department of Justice Officials, and senior intelligence officials. Before President Obama left office, Michael Flynn was umasked and then illegally, his identity was leaked out to media outlets, despite the fact that as NSA Director Rogers said, that unmasking and revealing individuals endangers quote, national security.

Not only was General Flynn's identity made available. Director Comey refused to answer the question on whether or not he'd actually briefed President Obama on his phone calls and activities. Director Comey called these types of disclosures of classified information a threat to national security and said he will investigate and pursue these matters to the full extent of law. He also said that the leaking of classified information became quote, unusually active in the timeframe in question.

It's also important to note that both Directors Comey and Rogers told the committee that they have no evidence that votes were changed in the swing states the President had won. I think that pretty much, until we get the ending of this hearing, I don't know that I want to comment too much further. And with that, I'm glad to take a few questions. Jonathan (ph) --

QUESTION: Sean, does the President still have complete confidence in FBI Director Comey? SPICER: There's no reason to believe he doesn't at this time. John (ph) --

QUESTION: Wait --

SPICER: I answered --

QUESTION: He said that there is no information to support the allegations that the President made against President Obama --

SPICER: At this time.

QUESTION: So is the President prepared to withdraw that accusation, apologize to the President --

SPICER: No. We started a hearing. It's still ongoing. And then as Chairman Nunes mentioned, this is one in a series of hearings that will be happening. I think there's -- as I noted last week, there's also a lot of interesting news coming out of that in terms of the activities that have gone on to reveal the information on American citizens that have been part of this, particularly General Flynn.

There's a lot of things that aren't being covered in this hearing that I think are interesting, that, since it's ongoing, I'll leave that for now. But I think there's a lot of areas that still need to be covered. There's a lot of information that still needs to be discussed.

QUESTION: The Director also said he's investigating the links and the possibility of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Given that the President just this morning said that the Democrats made up the Russia story, why would the FBI Director be investigating a story if it's simply --

SPICER: I don't think that's what he said. But again, look at --

QUESTION: No, no, hold on. He said that he's investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether or not there was any coordination --

SPICER: Correct. But again, investigating it and having proof of it are two different things. You look at the acting Obama CIA Director, said that there's smoke but there's no fire. Senator Tom Cotton, not that I'm seeing and not that I'm aware of. You look at Director Clapper, not to my knowledge. Senator Chris Coons, Democrat from Delaware, I have no evidence of collusion.

SPICER: I mean, there's a point at which you continue to search for something that everybody who's been briefed hasn't seen or found. I think it's fine to look into it. But at the end of the day, they're going to come to the same conclusion that everybody else has had. So you can continue to look for something, but continuing to look for something that doesn't exist, doesn't matter. There is a discussion -- I heard some names thrown around before that -- that were hangers- on around the campaign. And I think at some point, people that, you know, got thrown around at the beginning of this hearing, some of those names, the greatest amount of interaction that they've had has had cease-and-desist letters sent to them. So... QUESTION: There's nothing that Roger (ph)...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: No, no, I -- yeah, exactly, that Carter Page is, yes. But I mean, those people, the greatest amount of interaction that they had with the campaign was the campaign apparently sending them a series of cease-and-desist letters. So, again, I think that when you read a lot of this activity about associates, there is a fine line between people who want to be part of something that they never had an official role in, and people who actually played a role in the campaign or the transition. Julie?

QUESTION: I just have two quick questions. On the hearing today, does the president -- now that we know that there is an outgoing investigation by the FBI, does the president stand by his comments that he's not aware of any contacts that his campaign associates had with Russia during the election?

SPICER: I -- yes.

QUESTION: All right, and then the second one is has anyone from the White House...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Can I just amend (ph) the (inaudible)? Obviously, I just would -- just to be clear, I know that -- I'm trying to think through this for a second, because obviously General Flynn...

QUESTION: Right.

SPICER: But again, I...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ...during the campaign...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Right, and...

QUESTION: ...before the election.

SPICER: ...and -- and I'm not aware of any at this time. But even General Flynn was -- was a volunteer of the campaign. And then obviously, there's been discussion of -- of Paul Manafort, who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time. But beyond...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Hey Jon -- Jonathan, hold on. You -- can you stop interrupting other peoples' question (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Hey, Jonathan. Somebody's asking a question. It's not your press briefing. Julie's asking a question. Please calm down. Julie?

QUESTION: ...are you saying then that the president it aware of contacts that Manafort...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: No, no, nothing that hasn't been previously been discussed. I just don't wanna make it look like we're not aware of -- of the stuff that's....

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Understood. And then the second thing is anyone from the White House up to the president have been interviewed by the FBI as part of this investigation?

SPICER: Not that I'm aware of. Laura (ph)?

QUESTION: You said that -- you -- you made a point of saying that Comey refused to say whether he had (ph) briefed Obama about the investigation. And also, the president on his official account tweeted the same thing today (inaudible).

Comey made a point today of saying please do not draw any conclusions from my ability to confirm or deny anything. But you are drawing a conclusion...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I think we're -- we're pointing it out. I mean, we're making a point that -- that it -- it is not known. And I think there's further -- I mean, to (inaudible) who was looking for a conclusion today I think there's a lot more that needs to be discussed and looked at before we can jump to a conclusion about -- hold on -- but I think there point is that in the same token you've got individuals that want an answer, and at at the same time there's clearly alot of information that still hasn't come out or been discussed.

QUESTION: So you're looking forward to this investigation?

SPICER: I think that we are -- there is a lot more to come is the anser that I'm...

QUESTION: But the reason that I'm asking these questions, you said that they are going to come to the same conclusion of everybody else.

SPICER: My point is, is that...

QUESTION: Since (inaudible) already know what the conclusion...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: No, no, no, what I'm getting at is that there is this continuous -- there is this media narrative that continues to talk about collusion that exists, and yet every person that's been briefing -- Nunes, Tom Cotton, Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, Clapper, the Obama appointee -- have all said that nothing that they've seen makes them believe that there was any collusion, and I think there's a difference between talking about an investigation into the 2016 election, which we all know, and any evidence of collusion. There is no evidence, according to the people that have been briefing of any collusion or activity that leads them to believe that that exists. I think that is an important point that gets overlooked over and over and over again.

QUESTION: You said (ph) it's fine to look into it, but they are going to come to the same conclusion of everybody else, that this collusion doesn't exist, so you already know...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: No, I don't -- no, no, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is, is that every single person -- because what the Director said today is that there's an ongoing investigation. My point is to say that everybody who's been briefed on that investigation -- it doesn't -- there is an assumption that because there is an investigation, it must mean that it's about something. My point to you is that there's an assumption on behalf of most people

in the media about what that investigation must mean. My point to you is that despite the narrative that gets played over and over again with respect to what the investigation might mean in terms of collusion, every person, Republican and Democrat, that's been briefed on it, has come to the same conclusion that there is no collusion and that that's over.

[14:00:00]