Sean Spicer interview: ‘Russia inquiry does not threaten Trump’

Former White House press secretary also says US president will win a second term

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ was ‘between 30 and 40 per cent accurate’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ was ‘between 30 and 40 per cent accurate’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer does not see the investigation into alleged connections between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia causing the US president any concern.

Speaking to the Irish Times World View podcast, the former presidential aide also said he expected Mr Trump to win a second presidential term in 2020 because of the buoyant US economy.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller is investigating whether Mr Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow’s efforts to sway the 2016 election in the Republican’s favour, as US intelligence agencies claim.

Mr Spicer, who resigned as Mr Trump’s official spokesman after a tumultuous six months in the administration, said he “saw nothing that would cause any concern” to anyone within the administration relating to the Mueller investigation.

“No leaks have come out about anything that really should concern anybody at this point,” he said.

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in conversation with reporter Simon Carswell and deputy editor Deirdre Veldon in the Irish Times newsroom. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in conversation with reporter Simon Carswell and deputy editor Deirdre Veldon in the Irish Times newsroom. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Mr Spicer, who is writing a book about his time in the White House for publication in the summer, said he did not believe the president had any fears about the investigation.

“I don’t think he is worried at all, frankly. I think he’s reiterated that almost every time he’s had an opportunity,” he said on a visit to Dublin for an appearance on the RTÉ’s Late Late Show.

‘Fire and Fury’

Mr Spicer said Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which has questioned the billionaire businessman’s fitness for office, was “between 30 and 40 per cent accurate”.

Mr Spicer also reiterated his much-criticised defence of his claim that Mr Trump had “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe”.

Sean Spicer at The Irish Times. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Sean Spicer at The Irish Times. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

He expressed regret over his handling of the controversy but said his words were misunderstood.

Asked whether the Trump administration ever recovered from that first clash with the US media, he said: “That is an interesting question I will never know the answer to.”

Mr Spicer, who was regularly criticised for making false statements while in the White House , defended his role as the mouthpiece of the Trump administration, saying it was not his job to share his own views.

“The job of the spokesman is to reflect what the president’s thinking is, what the president’s view is – not to be an interpreter, not to do what you want to do – you weren’t elected,” he said.

Mr Spicer found widespread fame for being ridiculed by actor Melissa McCarthy on the US television sketch show Saturday Night Live. “There was a point in which it was kind of funny, and I’m able to take a bit of a joke, but they lost a little of that and went more mean-spirited after a while,” he said.