A surlier than usual White House press secretary took the podium on Monday while the congressional hearing that revealed an investigation is ongoing into the president and his associates still unfolded. Trying to find the silver lining, Sean Spicer did his best to spin the results, including saying that the associates tied to Russia played only a “limited role” in the campaign.
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 and the transition. Even Gen. Flynn was a volunteer [for] the campaign. And there was a discussion of Paul Manafort who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.
The sound that you may have heard in the moments after this statement was like the heads of political reporters exploding across the country. Manafort, for those who remember, was officially “the chairman” of the campaign tasked with securing delegates. He took over the whole operation from ousted manager Corey Lewandowski and guided the campaign through the end of the convention, until The New York Times reported that he’d allegedly gotten cash from Russia.
ABC’s Jonathan Karl was incredulous. He shouted at Spicer saying “he was the chairman!” Spicer did not like that and chastised the veteran White House correspondent.
“Can you stop interrupting other people?” Spicer scolded, adding “It’s not your press briefing, Julie’s asking a question. Please calm down.”
When asked about it again, Spicer stuck this line of questioning saying that Manafort was part of the campaign for about eight weeks start in June of 2016. This is untrue. Manafort was brought into the fold in late March. There was an internal power struggle until he assumed the top spot in June. He lasted a total of about 20 weeks until the staff shake-up that brought in Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.
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