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Spicer says DHS told Trump campaign Russia couldn't rig the election


The Department of Homeland Security privately told the Trump campaign in October 2016 that there was no way the Russians could manipulate the election outcome, and tried to persuade Trump officials to publicly ‘express confidence in the integrity’ of the upcoming vote, according to a new book by former White House spokesman Sean Spicer.

The DHS position described in Spicer’s book cuts against statements from other intelligence agencies. 

Four U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency, have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the intent to sway the vote for Donald Trump, but they have not reached a conclusion on whether the meddling had an impact on the results or not.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating the extent of Russian interference in the race and potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

DHS officials made the comments to the Trump campaign during a time when Hillary Clinton was widely expected to win the presidency, according to excerpts of Spicer’s book exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com.

SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM SPICER’S BOOK 

In his upcoming book detailing his tenure at the White House, former press secretary Sean Spicer says DHS officials told the Trump campaign there was no way the Russians could manipulate the election outcome

In his upcoming book detailing his tenure at the White House, former press secretary Sean Spicer says DHS officials told the Trump campaign there was no way the Russians could manipulate the election outcome

Spicer claims he DHS made the comments days after the final presidential debate, during which Trump suggested the election was ‘rigged’ and when Hillary Clinton was widely expected to win the presidency

Spicer’s book, The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President, described the October 28, 2016 meeting between RNC staffers and DHS officials.

The DHS briefing was held in a conference room at their headquarters in northwest Washington, and it was attended by Spicer and Republican National Committee officials Sean Cairncross and Katie Walsh.

‘[DHS senior officials] informed us that they were aware of and monitoring Russia involvement in our upcoming elections,’ writes Spicer, who was RNC communications director at the time. 

‘The message they wanted us to convey publicly, however, was that there was no way to infiltrate or manipulate the outcome of a national election because we have a disparate voting system spread across thousands of counties, cities, towns, and precincts.’

The meeting took place just days after the final presidential debate, during which Trump suggested the election was ‘rigged’ and he wouldn’t accept the results if he lost.

‘I will look at it at the time,’ said Trump, when asked if he would concede if he lost.

Trump’s comments drew heavy criticism from Democrats, including his opponent Hillary Clinton, who called the remarks ‘horrifying.’

 The former White House press secretary also expressed frustration at the way the press covered the Russian collusion investigation and singled out a February New York Times story that reported on alleged contacts between Trump staffers and Russian intelligence officials

 The former White House press secretary also expressed frustration at the way the press covered the Russian collusion investigation and singled out a February New York Times story that reported on alleged contacts between Trump staffers and Russian intelligence officials

He said he had immediately asked then CIA director Mike Pompeo( pictured) and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Richard Burr to speak with the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal about the allegations in the New York Times story ¿ and was quickly criticized by other news outlets for setting up the meetings

He said he had immediately asked then CIA director Mike Pompeo( pictured) and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Richard Burr to speak with the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal about the allegations in the New York Times story – and was quickly criticized by other news outlets for setting up the meetings

‘He is denigrating — he’s talking down — our democracy. And I for one, am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position,’ said Clinton.

Spicer’s book suggests that the DHS wanted the Trump campaign to publicly support the integrity of the election because at the time the department believed Clinton would win.

‘Seeming to believe that Clinton would win, they implored us to publicly express confidence in the integrity of the voting process, system, and outcome,’ writes Spicer.

Spicer worked as communications director for the Republican National Committee for over five years before joining the Trump administration as White House press secretary. 

He previously worked on the House Budget Committee and in the Office of the United States Trade Representative under President George W. Bush.

After a tumultuous tenure at the Trump White House – which included press criticism for allegedly inflating the number of attendees at Trump’s inauguration – Spicer resigned from the position last July. 

He was replaced by current White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

In his book, Spicer also defended his former boss against allegations of Russian collusion.

He said any support Trump showed for Russia was based on his belief that the U.S. and Russia shared national security interests – but added that Trump was willing to be tough on Vladimir Putin when necessary.

‘I knew that Donald Trump—the real Donald Trump—believed America’s current state of affairs with Russia was an aberration, that we have many of the same foreign policy concerns, and that our countries should be natural allies against terrorism and the ISIS caliphate,’ writes Spicer.

‘But when Vladimir Putin has acted against the world order, Trump has proven to be as tough as he needs to be,’ added Spicer. 

‘He was visibly proud of his ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who faced the UN Security Council and strongly denounced the Russian occupation of Crimea.’

‘President Trump has twice ordered air strikes against Russia’s ally Syria when the Syrians used chemical weapons against their own people. And he expelled sixty, Russian diplomat-spies after a Russian-linked nerve-gas attack on a former Russian agent and his daughter in England.’

Spicer also expressed frustration at the way the press covered the Russian collusion investigation.

Spicer's new book details his time in the White House. It is being published by Regnery Publishing and will be released on July 24

Spicer’s new book details his time in the White House. It is being published by Regnery Publishing and will be released on July 24

He singled out a February 14, 2017 New York Times story that reported on alleged contacts between Trump staffers and Russian intelligence officials. The article cited its sources as ‘four current and former American officials.’

Although Spicer claims he could ‘name three of these current/former officials in my sleep,’ he stopped short of naming them in the book.

Spicer said he immediately asked CIA director Mike Pompeo and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Richard Burr to speak with the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal about the allegations in the New York Times story – and was quickly criticized by other news outlets for setting up the meetings.

‘[M]any in the media acted as if bringing the most authoritative people into the discussion was an imposition, not a benefit; they did not appreciate it when high-ranking, well-informed officials defended the administration rather than leak against it,’ writes Spicer.

He also defended Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to disclose one of his meetings with the Russian ambassador while in the Senate, noting that some of Sessions’s Democratic critics also held meetings with Russian diplomats.

‘The truth is that Washington officials, with their perjury traps and gotcha questions, take far too little stock of the deficiencies of human memory,’ writes Spicer.

‘It’s easy to question motives, assume someone is lying, or try hiding something nefarious, especially when you don’t like a politician or his policies, even when the reality is much more innocent and straightforward.’

But Spicer noted that the revelation about Sessions’s meeting had far-reaching consequences. After Sessions decided to recuse himself from any investigations into Russian collusion, the case was taken on by special counsel Robert Mueller.

‘President Trump was quick to realize the magnitude of this threat, the origin of which he blamed on Jeff Sessions,’ writes Spicer.

‘The die was cast. The Trump administration was condemned to invest a lot of energy and attention into the investigation, distracting it from policymaking. Given the legal complexities and murky nature of the subject, I began to refer Russia questions to outside attorneys,’ added Spicer.

Since leaving the White House last August, Spicer founded Rigwil LLC, a political consulting firm.

The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President details Spicer’s time in the White House. It is being published by Regnery Publishing and will be released on July 24.

SPICER SHOOTS DOWN STORY THAT REPORTED ON ALLEGED CONTACTS BETWEEN TRUMP STAFFERS AND RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS

Below is an exclusive excerpt from The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President, by Sean Spicer, published by Regnery Publishing and will be released on July 24

As I struggled to keep my equilibrium, accusations of Russian meddling in the presidential election began to spill into discussions of domestic and foreign policy, especially into what the White House press corps loved to focus on—supposed scandal.

On February 14, 2017, the New York Times ran a front-page story:

WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

I could, of course, name three of these current/former officials in my sleep. The implication was twofold: the Trump campaign was a Russian front organization and was working hand in glove with Russian intelligence to hack the Democratic National Committee and demoralize Clinton supporters with fake news. This ignited media speculation that the president was somehow indebted to Russia.

I knew that Donald Trump—the real Donald Trump—believed America’s current state of affairs with Russia was an aberration, that we have many of the same foreign policy concerns, and that our countries should be natural allies against terrorism and the ISIS caliphate.

But when Vladimir Putin has acted against the world order, Trump has proven to be as tough as he needs to be. 

He was visibly proud of his ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who faced the UN Security Council and strongly denounced the Russian occupation of Crimea. 

President Trump has twice ordered air strikes against Russia’s ally Syria when the Syrians used chemical weapons against their own people. And he expelled sixty, Russian diplomat-spies after a Russian-linked nerve-gas attack on a former Russian agent and his daughter in England.

The deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, informed Reince that the New York Times story was ‘a bunch of bull.’

To knock down this story, which cited four unnamed current and former intelligence officials, I needed more than McCabe’s assurance. So, I asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Richard Burr to talk with reporters from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. 

I was asked about this in my February 27 press conference: 

Q: Sean, there’s a report this morning that you reached out directly to CIA Director Pompeo. Did you directly contact Director Pompeo and ask him to knock down the New York Times story on the Russia connection?

SPICER: . . . The FBI deputy director was at a meeting here at the White House that morning. After the meeting concluded, he asked the chief of staff to stand back a second; he wanted to tell him that the report in the New York Times was ‘BS.’ For viewers at home, I think you can pretty much figure what that means, but I’ll leave it at that . . . .

Q: You don’t think there’s something strange about—some- thing odd about the White House press secretary getting the CIA director on the phone to knock down a story about an investigation?

SPICER: . . . Now, remember, this all started with the FBI coming to us, bringing to our attention, saying that the story in the Times was not accurate—in fact, it was BS—and all we did was simply say, that’s great, could you tell other reporters the same thing you’re telling us? And I would think that other reporters, yourself included, would think that that would be a helpful thing to get the story straight. 

You would think.

But many in the media acted as if bringing the most authoritative people into the discussion was an imposition, not a benefit; they did not appreciate it when high-ranking, well-informed officials defended the administration rather than leak against it.

The never-ending, always-changing Russia narrative began to reshape the administration. 

General H. R. McMaster was widely praised as a strong candidate to replace General Flynn as national security advisor. 

Unlike Flynn—a retired, three-star general—McMaster was an active-duty, three-star general who wore his uniform on alternating days. I found McMaster to be affable, kind, and personable but also—I say this as a Navy man—very Army.

That meant General McMaster described every decision-making process the Army way—with bulleted and sub-bulleted courses of action, each point lined up with its pros and cons. 

Many previous commanders in chief would have eaten that up. However, the linear McMaster style, accentuated with a PhD vocabulary, was not Donald Trump’s style. 

He considers it a waste of time and doesn’t want to discuss five different options and their corresponding pros and cons. 

He wants his advisers to come to him with their best assessments of what should be done and to defend, or modify if necessary, their advice after he questions them.

I knew from the outset that General McMaster, great man that he is, was likely not going to last long in that post.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was almost pulled into the same quicksand that had engulfed General Flynn. 

As a senator, Sessions had been a member of the Armed Services Committee. In his confirmation testimony before his then fellow senators, Sessions had answered a question from then Senator Al Franken affirming that he had not, as an adviser and supporter of the Trump campaign, had conversations with Russian officials about the 2016 election. 

Sessions had not mentioned that he had, as a United States senator, been visited by the Russian ambassador in his office with his staff present. The Democrats and the media were on a mad chase to convict Sessions of perjury, but as Sessions’s spokeswoman pointed out:

There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer. He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign—not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee. 

Last year, the Senator had over 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, including the British, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Canadian, Australian, German and Russian ambassadors.

On March 2, 2017, I took questions from the press about Sessions while aboard Air Force One 

SPICER: I know the Attorney General is going to speak very shortly, so let’s just—I’ll leave it at that. But I think the president made his views clear with you guys just a short time ago.

Q: He doesn’t have any concerns about whether he should have given a more clear response at the time? 

SPICER: Well, obviously—I mean, I’ll let the Attorney General speak for himself. But I think that clearly if you listen to what he was responding to, he’s clearly referring to his role as a campaign surrogate. That’s what the question was about. And I think there’s no—

Q: So, in that role as a campaign surrogate, does that mean, like, if he was asked at a campaign rally, he’s a campaign surrogate? If he’s at his office, he’s a senator? Like, where does one role begin and the other one stop? 

SPICER: We’re moments away from him addressing this. And it was really silly for me to try to talk about what he may or may not think. But I think most people—almost a clear—I don’t think there’s very few other ways to read it when you look at the transcript and see the back and forth that he was clearly referring to himself. He was very—he was clear in referring to himself as a campaign surrogate and believed that that’s what the question was about. But I will let—I mean, we’re literally moments away from him addressing this, and I think the president made his view clear.

Q: Sean, I had a big question of what he told the Senate. Is the White House annoyed that he wasn’t completely forthcoming with you guys? 

SPICER: Forthcoming about what? I mean, he’s a United States—

Q: (Inaudible) with the Russian ambassador. 

SPICER: Wait, hold on, he’s a United States senator who speaks to countless—I mean, that’s—I mean, he was a campaign surrogate and gave the candidate at that time some ideas and advice in very important—he had the value— the president values his opinion tremendously, as you can tell by the fact that he wanted him in his cabinet . . . I’m going to let the Attorney General speak for himself, but the bottom line is, is that for six months now we’ve heard the same thing over and over again, unnamed sources talking about nebulous, unnamed things, and keep having to say the same thing. At some point, you have to ask yourself where the ‘there’ is.

In the end, Sessions stared down the effort by Democrats to portray him as a perjurer. In fact, it was Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri who inadvertently came to the attorney general’s rescue with a perfect illustration of the frailty of human memory. She tweeted, ‘I’ve been on the Armed Service Com[mittee] for 10 years. No call or meeting w/ Russian ambassador. Ever. Ambassadors call members of Foreign Rel[ations] Com[mittee].’

Unfortunately for her and the Democrats’ attempt to smear Sessions, this accusatory tweet had been written without reference to the senator’s own Twitter feed. In 2013, she had tweeted, ‘Off to meeting w/Russian Ambassador. Upset about the arbitrary/cruel decision to end all US adoptions, even those in process.’ In 2015, she had tweeted, ‘Today calls with British, Russian, and German Ambassadors re: Iran deal.’

The truth is that Washington officials, with their perjury traps and gotcha questions, take far too little stock of the deficiencies of human memory. It’s easy to question motives, assume someone is lying, or try hiding something nefarious, especially when you don’t like a politician or his policies, even when the reality is much more innocent and straightforward.

To pacify his critics, the attorney general recused himself from any investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In May, in the face of a rising chorus of Democratic accusations of alleged ‘collusion’ between the Trump campaign and the Russians, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as the special counsel in charge of investigating possible ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

President Trump was quick to realize the magnitude of this threat, the origin of which he blamed on Jeff Sessions.

‘Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself,’ President Trump told the New York Times, ‘which frankly I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’12

The die was cast. The Trump administration was condemned to invest a lot of energy and attention into the investigation, distracting it from policymaking. Given the legal complexities and murky nature of the subject, I began to refer Russia questions to outside attorneys.



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