Kellyanne Conway says the Trump-Russia investigation is 'not a big story' in contentious, meandering CNN interview

Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday that the ongoing controversy over President Donald Trump and his campaign's possible ties to Russia was "not a big story."

The contentious interview with CNN's "Reliable Sources" host, Brian Stelter, frequently went off the rails.

Stelter asked Conway whether the Trump administration's combative approach toward the press was an effort to appeal to the president's base.

"No, and again, you want that to say the president said on November 9th, as he was elected, as Hillary Clinton called my cell phone and congratulated and — important word — conceded," Conway said. "I know they can't — they can't let go of these election results."

See Also: White House says its open to legislation toughening Russia sanctions

Stelter replied: "We're talking about Hillary Clinton again? Honestly, I don't have time for that."

Conway then told Stelter that if he was going to talk about Russia and email investigations, "you're going to always be talking about Hillary Clinton."

Stelter fact-checked Conway and pointed out that she was "the one that brought up Russia. I didn't bring up Russia."

"No, no, your network is obsessed with that," Conway interjected. "You're invested in it. All the chyrons say it constantly, all the guests talk about it, and the reason I raised her —"

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White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway whispers to Senior Advisor Jared Kushner before U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered joint statements from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (L) laughs with other aides before U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered joint statements from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway arrives for a meeting with the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Vice President Mike Pence and White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway leave after attending a Republican party policy lunch meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway holds up a memorandum from the Justice Department's Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein critical of Comey's position as director of the FBI at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
(L-R) Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Senior Advisor Stephen Miller walk on the South Lawn of the White House upon their return with President Donald Trump to Washington, U.S., May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway arrives at Newark International airport in Newark, NJ U.S., with President Donald Trump, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway and Keith Schiller, deputy assistant to the president and director of Oval Office operations, follow U.S. President Donald Trump to Marine One as he departs for a day trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway takes part in a strategic and policy CEO discussion with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Eisenhower Execution Office Building in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway waves as she arrives to speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Senior advisors Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway watch as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway leaves after attending House Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, attended the joint press conference of President Donald Trump and President Klaus Iohannis of Romania, in the Rose Garden of the White House, on Friday, June 9, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 05: White House Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway (L), stand with White House Communications Director, Hope Hicks, during a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump and King Abdullah II of Jordan, at the White House April 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump held talks on Middle East peace process and other bilateral issues with King Abdullah II. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, listens as US President Donald Trump speaks at American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan on March 15, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to US President Donald Trump, walks to a House Republican conference meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2017. US President Donald Trump held last-minute negotiations with fellow Republicans to avoid a humiliating defeat Thursday in his biggest legislative test to date, as lawmakers vote on an Obamacare replacement plan which conservatives threaten to sink. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 21: Kellyanne Conway, aide to President Donald Trump, arrives in the Capitol for Trump's meeting with the House Republican Conference on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Counselor to the President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway attends the swearing in ceremony of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to be the new Health and Human Services Secretary., on February 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Conway has been under fire for her comments about Ivanka Trump's clothing line during a TV interview. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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"There's a big story going on, Kellyanne, and just because you don't deny it doesn't mean it's not a big story," Stelter said.

Conway replied: "It's not a big story."

After more back-and-forth, Conway continued to insist that the Russia investigations, into the hostile foreign power's meddling in the US election and into whether Trump's inner circle coordinated with the Kremlin, were a waste of time.

"Americans are looking at the media," she said. "They're looking at Congress and saying, do your job. Your job is not to Russia, Russia, Russia all day long, and hoping that something, manna, will drop from heaven one day and this will be real and not phony."

See Also: New Trump communications director promises crackdown on media leaks

Her comments came on the heels of a particularly tumultuous few weeks for the Trump administration, after it emerged that the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian lawyer and a former Soviet military intelligence officer and lobbyist last June during the presidential campaign. When he accepted the meeting, Trump Jr. was aware that it was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," according to emails he released.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is spearheading the FBI's investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow during the election, is currently examining details of that June 2016 meeting.

The Republican-led House and Senate are also conducting their own investigations. Trump Jr., and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will testify before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, July 26 in a hearing titled, "Oversight of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and Attempts to Influence US Elections: Lessons Learned from Current and Prior Administrations."

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