White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer wants everyone to know that he, the White House and the president are "not aware" of a Justice Department investigation into Donald Trump's wiretapping accusations. In fact, he repeated the claim 10 times in response to one question on Thursday and then recommended that reporters use a thesaurus to look up additional ways to say it.
On Wednesday, there was confusion about whether or not President Trump was briefed by the Justice Department before he accused President Barack Obama of illegally wiretapping him. At first Spicer appeared to say that he did not know, before he seemingly corrected himself to say "there is no reason to believe that there is any type of investigation with respect to the Department of Justice."
Spicer on Thursday was asked to clarify whether he was given assurances directly from the Justice Department that the president was not the target of an investigation.
"I am not aware of it," he said. "But that's my point, is that we're not aware of anything."
"So, you just don't know," CBS News Correspondent Margaret Brennan pressed.
"I said I'm not aware, and we're not aware," Spicer laughed. "That's why we want the House and Senate to do what the president asked and look into this. But no, we're not aware."
"So when you said 'no reason to believe' it was 'I'm not aware'?" Brennan asked.
"I don't know that they're not interchangeable," Spicer insisted. "I'm not aware, I don't believe. Look up in a thesaurus to find some other ways. But I don't know that there's a distinction there that's noteworthy. But we're not aware, I don't believe that that exists."
"What's that based on?" ABC News Correspondent Jonathan Carl wondered.
"That's based on I've not been aware," Spicer said. "That's the answer. Someone is asking me if I'm made aware of something, if the answer is no, then the answer is no."
"But the question is whether or not [Trump] is the target," Brennan pushed back.
"And the answer is we're not aware," Spicer remarked. "I don't know how much clearer we can be on this."
"I'm not sure what we're dancing around," he added.
"Because yesterday, when you came out and corrected and clarified, people took that as a definitive answer," Brennan noted.
"No, that means we're not aware," Spicer said. "That should be the definitive answer."
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