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Day after Comey firing, Sean Spicer to miss White House briefing

11 May 2017

With White House press secretary Sean Spicer working in the Pentagon this week to fulfill his Naval Reserve duty, President Donald Trump is reportedly asking his aides if Spicer should be removed from press briefing duty moving forward.

But it also seems to have caught the White House's own staff off-guard, with Press Secretary Sean Spicer huddling with staff behind a tall hedge on White House grounds to avoid reporters and work out a communications strategy, according to the Washington Post.

Sanders told Politico any talk of her taking Spicer's position in the briefing room is "another ridiculous story".

The White House said Spicer is missing the briefing because he will be at the Pentagon for the remainder of the week on duty with the Navy Reserve, with which he has served for almost two decades.

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The switch followed a disastrous impromptu news conference outside the White House Tuesday night in which Mr Spicer hid behind some bushes until TV cameramen turned out their lights and agreed not to take video of the briefing.

"Spicer then emerged. "Just turn the lights off. Turn the lights off", he ordered". Mr Spicer barked, according to an account in The Washington Post. And on Tuesday night, when President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, it apparently became too much to handle.

"That's correct - I mean, I can't, I guess I shouldn't say that, thank you for the help on that one".

The White House explained the decision with reference to a memo drafted by the Deputy Attorney General, who criticised Comey for his handling of an investigation into former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. "That was a DOJ decision".

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When asked why Comey wasn't given the news in a personal phone call, Spicer said, "I think we delivered it by hand and by email and that was? and I get it, but you asked me a question and that's the answer".

Asked when the pair last spoke, he said: "Uh, I don't know".

- CNN's Sara Murray and Barbara Starr contributed reporting. For 10 minutes, he responded to a flurry of questions, vacillating between light-hearted asides and clear frustration with getting the same questions over and over again.

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