White House press secretary Sean Spicer revealed his thoughts on President Donald Trump's July 2016 comments when he joked that Russian hackers should find Hillary Clinton's "missing" emails.
During Monday's off-camera briefing, Spicer was asked what Trump meant by his comments.
"What evidence does [Trump] have to prove that [former President Barack] Obama was colluding or obstructing?" a reporter asked.
After explaining that many wanted to paint Trump guilty of colluding with Russia, Spicer turned the tables and responded, "If [the Obama administration] didn't take any action, are they complicit?"
"I think there's a lot of questions about who did what, where, and when," he added.
In response, a reporter identified as NBC News' Kristen Welker asked, "Is there an element of hypocrisy here, Sean, because this was President Trump on the campaign trail: 'Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded.' ... How can you accuse President Obama of obstructing when [Trump] was egging Russia on?"
“He was joking at the time,” Spicer said of then-candidate Trump. “We all know that.”
Welker, taken aback, answered, "He was joking? He said that as a candidate and pressed during the press conference over and over again."
“I understand,” Spicer said. "I think the idea was that you had Hillary Clinton with a secret server, that was very clear about what she had done to evade it, and I think that's probably a bigger concern right now in terms of what they were doing, and the lack of security that they had."
At a July news conference in Florida, Trump said:
"If they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted ... Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
Listen to the audio below.
VIDEO: Trump: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing..." https://t.co/NEGclzLXtP
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 27, 2016