The recording followed reports that several media outlets, including CNN, the New York Times the Los Angeles Times, Politico, BuzzFeed and others, were barred from a meeting with Spicer, replacing the scheduled daily briefing.
Cable networks including NBC, ABC and Fox News attended, as did conservative sites including Breitbart and the Washington Times. Though permitted to attend, the Associated Press and Time declined in protest.
In the audio from that scrum (“gaggle”), Spicer can be heard providing Donald Trump’s schedule and fielding a question about the president’s upcoming meeting with Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) (Q: Will they discuss Trump not attending the Republican National Convention? Spicer: “It’s not for me to decide the president discusses or what Gov. Kasich decides to talk about.”)
The next question asked of Spicer pertained directly to the unusual format of the day’s briefing.
“Housekeeping wise, can you just say why you decided to do this today off-camera and then can you talk about some of the information that has come out … regarding the pushback with the New York Times reporting that was on background?” a reporter asked.
“I literally have said since day 1 that we would have some sort of gathering everyday, the president spoke today … We put it on the schedule yesterday that we were just going to gaggle,” Spicer replied.
“Our job is to make sure that we’re responsive to folks in the media,” he continued. “We’re here everyday.”
Later in the briefing, reporters asked Spicer to respond to the New York Times reporting that Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, asked an FBI official to go on-record and dispute allegations that associates for the Trump campaign were in “constant contact” with Russian officials.
Spicer defended the request, saying it wasn’t like the White House “did something wrong or nefarious,” the merely took the “opportunity to push back on what actually happened and why it happened.”
“I’m really having a tough time understanding the logic of your question,” Spicer told a reporter at one point. “The story gets printed in the New York Times—
“But do you understand what I’m asking,” the reporter countered.
“No, I don’t, I think it’s insane,” Spicer replied.
Listen to the audio below, via the Washington Post: