Sean Spicer says he sees 'no evidence' that Mueller's probe is a witch hunt

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that he does not believe special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is a witch hunt, contradicting a claim often repeated by President Donald Trump.

"As of now, I see no evidence that it is," Spicer said during an exclusive interview on "Today" when asked if Mueller's probe is a political witch hunt.

Spicer, however, said that there has been "no evidence" of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

He also added that he believes Russia meddled in the 2016 election but did not criticize his former boss for his widely condemned comments in which Trump appeared to say he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin's assertion that his country did not orchestrate a campaign to interfere in the presidential election.''

RELATED: Sean Spicer's most controversial moments as Trump's press secretary (BI)

Sean Spicer's most controversial moments as Trump's press secretary (BI)
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Sean Spicer's most controversial moments as Trump's press secretary (BI)

Spicer's role started off to a rocky start when, two days after Trump's inauguration, when he declared Trump had "the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period."

Despite photos of the event showing a crowd much sparser than former President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration, Spicer insisted that no other president attracted a bigger crowd of visitors and fought with reporters who challenged his assertion.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Spicer repeatedly went back and forth on whether Trump's decision to block people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US was indeed "a ban." 

Even though Trump himself tweeted about the travel ban, Spicer insisted that it "can't be a ban" and should instead be called "extreme vetting."

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

During his time as press secretary, Spicer became known for repeatedly sparring with reporters — such as when he told one journalist to "calm down" and another one to stop shaking her head. 

"Calm down," Spicer once told a journalist who was asking him questions about Trump's claims of wiretapping during the 2016 elections.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

There was also the time when Spicer said that Americans could definitely trust Trump — "if he's not joking." 

"If he's not joking, of course," Spicer once told a reporter who asked if Americans could trust the things that Trump said. He followed that by saying that Trump was still correct when he said that 3 million Americans voted illegally in the 2016 election.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Even though Paul Manafort served as Trump's campaign chairman for three months, Spicer once told reporters that he played a "very limited role" in the campaign. 

During a press briefing, Spicer said that Manafort — who spent three months as Trump's campaign chairman — did not play a large role in Trump's administration. That came in response to questions about the investigation into alleged links between Russian officials and the Trump administration.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Hitler did not resort to "using the gas on his own people," Spicer once falsely said to a room full of reporters.

One of Spicer's biggest controversies came when he falsely stated that, unlike Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hitler had never used chemical weapons and did not resort to using gas "on his own people." Spicer later apologized for both of these comments, after numerous Jewish groups and students of history called for his resignation.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

"If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection," Spicer once said to questions about Trump. 

In late March, Spicer tried to downplay questions about whether Trump had collaborated with Russian officials by saying that the media used anything as nebulous as Russian salad dressing to demonstrate a connection.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Another notorious moment occurred when Spicer ducked into some bushes to avoid reporters' questions on Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Back in May, Spicer struggled to avoid the media firestorm that arose after Trump unexpectedly fired Comey — by momentarily ducking behind some bushes by the White Hose. The move only exacerbated the public's frustration and prompted quite a few "Spicer in the bushes" memes.

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)


"I think it's very important to be clear that Russia meddled in our election and there's no evidence of collusion," Spicer said.

Trump faced a groundswell of criticism from all sides for his performance in Helsinki on Monday, where he blamed the U.S. for hurting relations with Russia and contradicting American intelligence agencies assessment that Russia interfered in the election.

Trump faced an additional backlash after attempting to clarify his remarks on Tuesday, when he said he misspoke when he said he did not see a reason why it would have been Russia that meddled in the election. He said he meant to say he did not see any reason why it wouldn't have been Russia.

Then on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had to again clarify that the president agreed with the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia is looking to interfere with U.S. elections this year. The president had responded 'no' earlier in the day when asked if Russia is continuing to meddle, but Sanders said that had been his way of indicating that he was not going to respond to questions from reporters.

In an interview conducted after his return from Helsinki, Trump was asked whether he held Putin personally responsible for meddling in the 2016 election. "Well, I would, because he's in charge of the country. Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country," he told CBS News. "So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes."

Spicer also addressed his rocky six-month tenure in the White House, where he was often ridiculed online for his combative press briefings. His briefings spawned multiple scathing impersonations on "Saturday Night Live," where he was portrayed by comedian Melissa McCarthy.

Spicer discussed arguably his most notable briefing, in which he claimed a day after the inauguration, without evidence, that Trump's inauguration "was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe" after tweets and reporting suggested the size of the crowd was smaller than at past occasions.

"I screwed up that day," Spicer said. "Are there things that I wish I would have done differently? Absolutely."

He added, "The president wasn't happy either...the only two people who were happy with me that day were my wife and my mom."

Spicer also addressed the administration's "zero tolerance" policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border, calling the efforts "a mess." A federal judge has ordered more than 2,500 children to be returned to their parents.

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