Members of the media create their hands to ask questions during Sean Spicers first White House press briefing. Photograph: Alex Wong/ Getty Images
At the time, the information that I was provided by the inaugural committee came from an outside bureau that we reported on, he acknowledged. And I think knowing what we know now, we can tell that WMATA[ the transit authority] s numbers are different, but we were trying to provide numbers that we had been provided. That wasnt like we attained them up out of thin air.
But he stuck to his firearms about the audience, insisting that he had always been referring to both those there in person and those watching via Tv and the internet worldwide. Sure, it was the most-watched inaugural There were tens of millions of people that watched that online Its unquestionable.
This included on telephones, TVs, tablets, Facebook and YouTube, he argued. Id love to see any information that demonstrates that is normally I dont think theres any question that it was the most-watched inauguration ever. I think Im right in telling[ Ronald] Reagan didnt have YouTube.
His original statement on Saturday did say both in person and around the globe, but before and after this clause he had focused on the crowd watching the inauguration in person.
Turning his fire on the media, Spicer criticised a mistaken media report that Trump had removed a bust of civil rights leader Martin Luther King from the Oval Office. We have a tweet used to go about Martin Luther King. Believe about how racially charged that is Where was the apology to the president of the United States?
Theres a phase at which we have a right to go out there and correct the record We want to have an open and healthy the negotiations with the press corps and the American people.
Asked why he and Trump wanted to raise the issue of the crowd size in the first place, Spicer complained that Trump was not being given a fair crack: The default narrative is always negative and its demoralising. I think when you sit here and you realise the sacrifices the guy made of leaving a very successful business because he actually cares about this country, and despite your partisan changes, he cares about making this country better for everybody.
Trumps inaugural speech declared that he would put America first and argued that patriotism could heal the nations divisions. On Monday, paperwork was filed with the federal government proclaiming officially that the working day of his inauguration, 20 January 2017, would officially be known as the National Day of Patriotic Devotion.
Spicer told Trumps legislative priorities would be repealing Obamacare, immigration, taxation reform and regulatory reform. Asked whether he would undo Obamas decision to give work authorisation to undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, the spokesman indicated it was not a priority.
Spicer was asked if Trump had spoken to any intelligence agencies about their reported investigations into his aides Russian connections and whether he would allow such investigations to continue.
I dont believe he has spoken to anyone specifically about that, Spicer replied. And I dont know that he has not given any indication that hell stop an investigation of different kinds.
Democrats rapidly seized on what they assured as a half-hearted answer. Adrienne Watson, national press secretary of the Democratic National Committee, told: It is distressing the White House refuses to commit to let the six intelligence and law enforcement agencies currently investigating the ties between Russia and President Trumps team to finish their investigations without interference.
Reportedly, career intelligence officials are already fearful their investigation is likely to be shut down a move that would only be fitting in a dictatorship like Russia , not in the United States of America.
The McClatchy news agency has reported that the FBI and five other agencies have been collaborating for months on an investigation into the extent of Russian attempts to skewed the election.
Spicer also contradicted reports by the Washington Post, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal that Trumps national security consultant Michael Flynn had several phone calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition, at first claiming there had been one call, then correcting that to two.
Theres been one call I talked to General Flynn about this again last night theres been one call that talks about four subjects, he told. One was the loss of human life that occurred in the plane crash that took their military choir. Two was Christmas and holiday greets. Three was to talk about a conference in Syria on Isis. And four was to talk about after the inauguration setting up a bellow between President Putin and President Trump.
I dont believe that that has been set up yet, because the bellow was to say, After They did follow up, Im sorry, two days ago, about how to facilitate that bellow. So there have been a total of two bellows with the diplomat and General Flynn, and the second bellow arrived, I think its now three three days ago that was to say: once he gets into office, can we put in that bellow? It hasnt, to my knowledge, resulted yet.
Flynns communications with Russian officials are under investigation by US intelligence agencies, according to the Wall Street Journal. Spicer added: During the transition I asked General Flynn whether or not there were any other conversations beyond the diplomat and he told no.
Responding to a question about Russian claims of a joint air mission with the US in Syria, which the Pentagon has denied, Spicer told Trump would work with different countries that shares our interest in defeating Isis, saying that applied to Russia or anyone else.
Spicer was also questioned about the presidents response to the millions of people who took part in womens marches in Washington and other major cities. I think he has a healthy respect for the first amendment, he told. This is what builds our country so beautiful. On the working day you can inaugurate a president, on the next day people can occupy the same space to protest something.
But hes also cognisant given the fact that a lot of these people were to protest matters of concern to them and not against anything.
The briefing room in the West Wing was as crowded as for Barack Obamas farewell press conference five days earlier.
Sitting at his right side were White House staff including Conway and the director of strategic communications, Hope Hicks. He began with a broad smile and an upbeat, Good afternoon, everyone! apparently from the Conway playbook.
Meanwhile CNN reported that Trump has signed a letter resigning from positions in more than 400 business entities. It was dated 19 January, the day before he was sworn in as president.
Earlier this month Trump pledged to transfer his business holdings to a trust run by his sons, Donald Jr and Eric. Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, told CNN on Monday that the trust has been set up.
Spicer told Trumps two adult sons, Donald Jr and Eric, are fully in charge of the company. But after to hold consultations with Hicks he acknowledged no documents proving Trump had stepped away from his business interests had been made public at this time.