White House spokesperson on call for special prosecutor in Russia probe: We're not 'there yet'

Huckabee Sanders said Congress should complete its review of the matter first.

ByABC News
February 26, 2017, 11:31 AM

— -- A White House spokesperson pushed back on calls for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's alleged interference in the presidential election, suggesting such talk is premature.

"I don't think we're there yet," said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House's deputy principal press secretary, told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday. "Typically, you go through a congressional oversight review. We're doing that. Let's not go to the very end of the extreme. Let's let this play out the way it should.

Stephanopoulos asked Huckabee Sanders about a top Republican's call for an independent investigation of Russia's alleged meddling in the election.

When Bill Maher on his show "Real Time" pressed GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California on whether President Trump's appointee as attorney general, Jeff Sessions, should investigate reports that members of President Trump's campaign had contact with Russian officials, Issa agreed an independent prosecutor is needed.

Issa told Maher, "You cannot have somebody -- a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions -- who was on the campaign and who is an appointee ... You're going to need to use the special prosecutor's statute and office."

Attorney General Sessions oversees the FBI and the Justice Department which -- separate from any congressional committee reviews -- is investigating Russia's alleged meddling in the election and reported contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials

Huckabee Sanders said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that Congress should complete its review first, which she said she is confident will show that Trump associates had not involvement in Russia's actions.

"Whatever review that Congress wants to do, I think that's the first step," she said. "There are two committees that are currently doing that. We're extremely confident that, whatever review, they're all going to come to the same conclusion -- that we had no involvement in this."

Huckabee Sanders also suggested that a Russia probe is not something "that the American people care about."

"At some point, we get to a place where we've got to move on and start focusing on the things that the American people care about, and I don't think this is it," she said.

Stephanopoulos also asked Huckabee Sanders why the president decided not to attend this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he will not be attending the annual dinner of White House journalists which presidents traditionally attend.

"One of the things we say in the South: if a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her? I think that this is a pretty similar scenario," Huckabee Sanders said.

Huckabee Sanders said, "This wasn't a president that was elected to spend his time with reporters and celebrities. This is a president who campaigned on speaking directly to Americans, and that's what he's going to spend his time doing."

A day prior to his tweet, Trump doubled down on his attacks on the media at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He repeated his assertions that "fake" news is the "enemy of the people," specifically hitting the press for using unnamed sources.

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