White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer asked members of the White House press corps why they were "rushing to defend" a former Obama administration official during Friday's press briefing.
Spicer's comment came during an exchange with National Public Radio correspondent Tamara Keith, who asked about the relevance of recent comments made by Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia until 2015.
Farkas said earlier this month that she urged Obama administration and Capitol Hill officials to gather information on Russian hacking before Trump took office to preserve intelligence.
Spicer responded to Keith by asking if she had asked Farkas about her comments.
"The question I would have to you is exactly, why is it? She says in her things I'm urging my colleagues, I'm urging it to get the Hill, but it's odd that the presumption seems to be why is it interesting? Have you asked her?" Spicer said to Keith.
Keith told Spicer she had not asked Farkas about the relevance of her comments.
After a brief exchange over the fact that Farkas was a "former" official, Spicer continued his line of questioning directed to a separate reporter.
"My point is you seem to be rushing to her defense," Spicer said. "At some point she came on, she went on television and talked about actions that she and her colleagues took to spread classified information, and instead of defending her, it might be worth asking her: What she is talking about? Who she spread it to? Why she did it? Was it appropriate? Who cleared her to do it?"
"Maybe those are questions that you can ask instead of asking me to defend why a former Obama administration official is revealing stuff that should be extremely concerning," he concluded.