The White House on Wednesday hit the incoming Trump administration for its lack of transparency, urging it to release more information to rebut claims it says are false, such as reports about the president-elect’s supposed entanglements with Russia.
Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said that’s the approach the White House took when confronted with false allegations that the president was not born in the U.S., charges advanced by Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMSNBC's Halperin: Trump's comments at CIA "most disturbing" Former Clinton spokesman: Virginia elections will begin resistance to Trump A closer look at McCain's proposed defense budget MORE himself.
“There were a wide variety of the president’s critics who were suggesting and propagating conspiracy theories that somehow the president was not born in the United States,” Earnest told reporters.
He pointed out the administration released a hard copy of Obama’s long-form birth certificate in 2011.
“All of you could look at that piece of paper and verify for yourself to be convinced that the charges against the president — that were lobbed against the president — were false,” Earnest said.
“The incoming administration has chosen a different approach,” the spokesman continued. “They’ve not been transparent."
The comments showed the White House has little sympathy for Trump’s complaints he’s been unfairly targeted by the news media and intelligence community over his stance toward Russia.
During a news conference in New York, Trump angrily dismissed reports that top U.S. officials are looking into an unsubstantiated dossier alleging his campaign officials were in touch with Moscow about how to defeat Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonFormer Clinton spokesman: Virginia elections will begin resistance to Trump Scarborough: Missed opportunities in Trump’s inauguration speech Chelsea Clinton: Let Barron Trump be a kid MORE.
He likened the leaks to something out of Nazi Germany.
“It’s all fake news, it’s phony stuff, it didn’t happen and it was gotten by opponents of ours and many of the other people, a group of opponents that got together, sick people,” Trump said.
Earnest said Trump could dispel those rumors — and better address conflict-of-interest questions swirling around his businesses — by taking steps such as releasing his tax returns and other internal documents.
“There’s ample evidence they could marshal to make public to refute those claims, those accusations they say are baseless, but refuse to do so,” he said. “That kind of secrecy only serves to sow public doubt.”