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Sean Spicer: Mueller's investigation is not a witch hunt

NBC News logo NBC News 7/19/2018 Dartunorro Clark

Video by Today

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he does not believe special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is a witch hunt, contradicting a claim often repeated by President Donald Trump.

"As of now, I see no evidence that it is," Spicer said during an exclusive interview on "Today" when asked if Mueller's probe is a political witch hunt.

Spicer, however, said that there has been "no evidence" of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

He also added that he believes Russia meddled in the 2016 election but he did not criticize his former boss for the president's widely condemned comments in which Trump appeared to say he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin's assertion that Russia did not orchestrate a campaign to interfere in the presidential election.

"I think it's very important to be clear that Russia meddled in our election and there's no evidence of collusion," Spicer said.

Trump faced a groundswell of criticism from all sides for his performance in Helsinki on Monday, where he blamed the U.S. for hurting relations with Russia and contradicted American intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia interfered in the election.

Trump faced additional backlash after attempting to clarify his remarks on Tuesday. He said he misspoke in Helsinki.

Then on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had to again clarify that the president agreed with the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia is looking to interfere with U.S. elections this year. The president had responded "no" earlier in the day when asked if Russia is continuing to meddle, but Sanders said that had been his way of indicating that he was not going to respond to questions from reporters.

In an interview conducted after his return from Helsinki, Trump was asked whether he held Putin personally responsible for meddling in the 2016 election.

"Well, I would, because he's in charge of the country. Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country," he told CBS News. "So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes."


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