White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer fired back at NBC's Peter Alexander during the Thursday press briefing for caring more about the process of how House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) shared intelligence information with President Donald Trump and the press, than the actual substance of his statements.
Alexander prefaced his question by pointing out that Nunes apologized for the way that he handled and presented information regarding the surveillance that "potentially could have been collected about President Trump and his associates during the transition period."
"So I guess my question is why was it appropriate, why does the White House believe it was appropriate for chairman Nunes to come and give this information to the president regarding an investigation about the president's own associates during the campaign?" Alexander asked.
"The reality is, he made a decision," Spicer said. "No one had a problem, by the way, in the press corps getting briefed before everybody else."
"He briefed your colleagues before he briefed anybody else," Spicer said. "I don't hear too much crying about that."
Spicer said that the White House was not given any prior notice to Nunes wanting to brief them.
"His comments yesterday were very clear. The intelligence and the information that he picked up had nothing to do with Russia," Spicer said of Nunes. "I think he felt as though, according to his own words, that he had an obligation to make sure the president knew what he had discovered."
Alexander brought up the "appearance" of Nunes meeting with the president, saying that "appearances matter on this."
"My concern, to be perfectly blunt with you, is that you seem to have an obsession with the process and not the substance," Spicer said. "At some point–"
Alexander tried to interject, but Spicer asked him to hold on.
"At some point, there should be a concern about the substance," Spicer said.
"At some point I would implore, urge, beg some of you to use some of your investigative skills to look into what actually did happen, why did it happen, what was going on back there, who knew what, when," Spicer continued. "But I think there should be a similar concern, as opposed to whether he took a skateboard or a car here, to exactly what happened and why it happened."
"The substance of what he shared should be troubling to everybody," Spicer said. "And that's what I think is the important thing."