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Sean Spicer Says Nothing Useful In First On-Camera Briefing In Over A Week

He did offer to "touch base" with the president, so there's that.

21/06/2017 6:08 AM AEST | Updated 21/06/2017 6:13 AM AEST

White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s first on-camera press briefing in over a week was full of non-answers and promises to “touch base” with President Donald Trump at a later date.

When asked Tuesday if Trump believed Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election, as the U.S. intelligence community determined in January, Spicer said he wasn’t sure.

“I have not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing,” Spicer said. “Obviously, we’ve been dealing with a lot of other issues today. I’d be glad to touch base.”

It’s been six months since the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency released a joint report outlining the Kremlin’s efforts to tip the election in favor of Trump. Spicer acknowledged that he’s personally seen the reports, but he apparently hasn’t been able to gauge where Trump stands on the issue.

“I have not sat down and asked him about a specific reaction to it,” Spicer said. “So I’d be glad to touch base and get back to you.”

Spicer also failed to answer questions on several other topics, including health care and North Korea.

The press secretary said he didn’t know whether Trump or anyone on his staff has read the Senate health care bill that GOP lawmakers are currently drafting behind closed doors.

“I don’t know if he’s seen the legislation or not, but I know that they’ve been working extremely hard,” Spicer told reporters. “I don’t even know where we are in terms of a final plan.”

He also didn’t offer much when asked what action the Trump administration plans to take following the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died Monday just days after being released from a North Korean prison.

“We have been very forceful in our political and economic pressure that has been applied in North Korea,” Spicer said. “I think we will continue to apply that.”

“I’m not going to get ahead of where we may or may not go,” he added.

Spicer sidestepped questions regarding rumors that he will soon leave his post as press secretary to pursue a different position within the administration.

“We’re always looking for ways to do a better job of articulating the president’s message and his agenda,” Spicer said. “We’ll continue to have those discussions internally. And when we have an announcement of a personal nature, we’ll let you know.”

Spicer has given this kind of tight-lipped performance before. During a briefing in May, he spent nearly 11 minutes describing Trump’s first presidential trip overseas before dodging nearly every other question from reporters in the remaining 20 minutes.

“I haven’t asked him,” he told a reporter who wanted to know whether Trump accepts the widespread scientific consensus that human activity contributes to climate change. “I can get back to you.”

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