White House Plays Defense After Comey’s Announcements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “There’s a whole second set of concerns here in terms of, what was Hillary Clinton’s role,” wondered Press Secretary Sean Spicer to reporters Monday afternoon. The White House is playing defense after FBI Director James Comey publicly confirmed an open, ongoing, classified investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election. Comey says, “And that includes investigating 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.”

Comey also said this when asked whether Trump’s tweets about an Obama-ordered wiretap were true: “I have no information that supports those tweets. And we have looked carefully inside the FBI. 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.”

The White House, refusing to back down. When a reporter asked Spicer, “So is the President prepared to withdraw that accusation, apologize to the President…” Spicer replied, in part, “No.”

Former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker points out it could be a matter of terminology, saying Comey’s confirmation of an investigation obviously signals intell gathering. Swecker says, “It is likely, in a thorough investigation, that the FBI would be getting emails, cell phone records, things of that nature. And text messages.”

Theresa Payton was the Chief Information Officer under President George W. Bush. She now runs the cybersecurity company called Fortalice. Her focus now is also on future elections, and how to shore up the process. She tells WCCB, “Good news is, the infrastructure is distributed enough, it would be hard for any entity to wholesale take voting offline, impact voting wholesale, they’d have to do it a state at a time, but it’s still a concern that we are still talking about these issues and the election has come and gone. Are we ready for the next election?”

The White House also worked to distance itself from two former senior members of Trump’s team on Monday. Spicer called former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn a “volunteer of the campaign.” Spicer also said former campaign manager Paul Manafort, “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.”