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Russia, Trump's budget spice up Monday's briefing

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

ICYMI, Axios had an exclusive this morning on Sean Spicer's attempts to push back on reports that Trump campaign aides "had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election." And it was a hot topic at Spicer's press briefing today along with the budget and the revised travel ban executive order...

  • Spicer responds to Axios' exclusive: Spicer refused to comment directly on our reporting that he connected CIA Director Mike Pompeo with reporters. He instead stated that the White House continued to deny the accuracy of the NYT story and directed reporters to engage with "subject matter experts" to corroborate that.
  • On a special prosecutor for Russia: "Special prosecutor for what?" Spicer added: "At what point, how many people have to say there's nothing there until you realize that there's nothing there?"
  • The budget: OMB Head Mick Mulvaney was a special guest to discuss the topline budget numbers officials received today. Mulvaney reiterated that this is only a blueprint, and the full budget will come in early May.
  • The revised travel ban can be expected in the "middle of this week." The White House will continue defending the original executive order, though, "because [the administration] was right the first time."
  • Yemen raid: On the heels of criticism from a fallen Navy SEAL's father, Spicer said that 3 DoD investigations will occur, but affirmed that they're all standard operating procedure. He again characterized the mission as "successful."
  • Internal leak inquiry? Spicer said he isn't aware of one.
  • The art of the deal: When asked if Trump secured something for the U.S. in exchange for his support of the One-China policy, Spicer said, "The president always gets something."