Glenn Thrush of The New York Times grilled press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders over a new lawsuit accusing the White House of coordinating with Fox News for the now-retracted report alleging that slain DNC-staffer Seth Rich sent information to Wikileaks.
The lawsuit, filed by Fox contributor and private investigator Rod Wheeler, accuses Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and Trump donor Ed Butowsky of fabricating the now-debunked report that Rich was in contact with Wikileaks — implying that the communication led to his murder.
The lawsuit also claims that Wheeler and Butowsky met in April with Sean Spicer, who was press secretary at the time, to share their findings with him. Butowsky later texted Wheeler that President Trump had read a draft of their report, and wanted “the article out immediately.”
“Did the president know about the story pre-publication?” Thrush asked Sanders. “And did he have an influence on the way the story was written?”
“The president had no knowledge of the story,” Sanders replied. “And it’s completely untrue that he or the White House involvement [sic] in that story.”
“Beyond that,” she continued, “this is ongoing litigation, and I’d refer you to the actual parties involved, which aren’t the White House.”
“Does it disturb you that there is the allegation out there in a lawsuit,” Thrush next asked, “and Sean Spicer admitted meeting with these two individuals — that this was discussed in your White House —”
Sanders cut him off, claiming “he met with members of the media, I don’t find that to be a strange thing, you guys are all members of the media.”
“He met with a member of the media that was pushing a story that was later retracted because it was false,” Thrush continued. “He met with that reporter and he met with a campaign donor.”
“Does it disturb you, does it say anything about this White House that you would entertain that kind of story?” he asked.
Sanders contended that as the press secretary it would not have been strange for Spicer to meet with someone from the media.
She reiterated that “the president didn’t have knowledge of the story,” and “the White House didn’t have any involvement in the story.”
“Beyond that, it’s ongoing litigation that doesn’t involve anybody in the building, and so I’d refer you to the parties that it does,” Sanders concluded.
Watch above, via MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]
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