Incoming White House press secretary defends Trump's claim to 'know things' about Russian hacking

Alisyn Camerota Sean SpicerScreenshot via Twitter.CNN host Alisyn Camerota and incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer

An interview between CNN host Alisyn Camerota and Sean Spicer became heated on Monday after Camerota pressed the incoming White House press secretary for details about what President-elect Donald Trump was planning on revealing to the public about alleged Russian interference in the presidential election.

Trump said on Saturday that he “[knew] things” about the alleged Russian hack that he would reveal in the coming days.

Spicer said on CNN’s “New Day” that conclusions should not yet be drawn because intel reports about Russia’s involvement are not final.

“[F]or anybody to be going out and talking about what’s in the report — it’s not final yet. And I think the idea that we’re jumping to conclusions before we have a final report … is frankly irresponsible,” Spicer said.

Acknowledging that Spicer had not answered her question, Camerota returned to her original question.

“It’s Mr. Trump who said he’s going to reveal something. So what is it? … He is getting intel briefings. Is he going to reveal something from an intel briefing?” she said.

Spicer categorically denied that Trump would reveal anything he had been briefed on since it was classified information. “He’s going to talk about his conclusions [on the report] and where he thinks things stand. So he’s not going to reveal anything that was privileged or shared with him or classified,” Spicer said.

Spicer said that Trump wants to “make sure that people understand that there [are] a lot of questions out there.”

He also doubled down on Trump’s claim that the White House has a politically motivated incentive to address the alleged interference of a foreign government in the US election. 

“Is the response of this administration … proportional with the activities that have happened? And number two, is it a political response to Russia, or is it a diplomatic response, because we haven’t seen these kind of sanctions in peacetime in our history,” Spicer said. 

“It’s only until Donald Trump won that [the Obama administration seems] to want to react to Russia,” he continued. 

Camerota then reminded Spicer that the question was about Trump and what he would do if the intelligence community concludes that Russia did interfere with the election. Spicer said Trump would “meet with his team, take their recommendations, and make a conclusion based on that as to what a proportional response should and could be.” 

Watch the full exchange below:

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