Seth Meyers confronted incoming White House adviser Kellyanne Conway late Wednesday about reports that Russians held unverified compromising information about Donald Trump — but she said the president-elect was “unaware” of any briefing.
In a combative encounter, the “Late Night” host asked Conway about reports that briefing materials prepared for Trump and President Barack Obama included damaging allegations that initially circulated among Trump opponents and was passed to U.S. intelligence agencies.
Meyers acknowledged that the news broke moments before the pre-scheduled appearance, but Conway was unable to shed any light on the reports — and the former "SNL" comedian jumped in to correct some of her answers.
“Nobody has sourced it,” Conway said. “They’re all unnamed, unspoken sources. It says it was based on a Russian investigator to begin with…”
“It was based on MI6 British investigators,” Meyers contradicted.
“…Well, one of those … and then it says it also may have originated with a Russian investigator,” she continued. “It also says that groups that wanted Hillary Clinton to win may have been behind the investigations themselves and most importantly it says the FBI is trying to confirm it so nothing’s been confirmed.”
She said Americans “should be concerned that intelligence officials leaked to the press and won’t go and tell the president-elect or the president of the United States himself … they would rather go tell the press.”
“But the report was that about them going to the President-elect,” Meyers said.
“And it says that they never briefed him on it, that they appended two pages to the bottom of his intelligence briefing,” Conway responded.
“I believe it’s that they did brief him on it,” Meyers corrected.
“Well, he says he’s not aware of it,” she said.
“Well … that concerns me!” Meyers replied.
Conway said it was “not fair” that people questioned Trump’s view on intelligence briefings on alleged Russian hacking.
“He received that intelligence briefing. He made comments about it afterwards and I have to tell you there wasn’t very compelling information in terms of the nexus that people like to make between alleged hacking and the election results,” Conway said. “Vladimir Putin didn’t tell Hillary Clinton to ignore Michigan and Wisconsin.”
Unverified Trump Russia tale roils politicsJan. 11, 201705:10
Conway was asked why it had taken Trump so long to hold a press conference with reporters. His first since being elected is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
“The president-elect has been busy forming his government,” she said.
“But every president who puts together a government is busy,” Meyers said.
“They haven’t had…” Conway began.
“They haven’t had to meet with Kanye,” Meyers interrupted.
Conway also defended Trump’s use of Twitter, describing it as the “democratization of information” and free of charge. “You don’t have you don’t have to wait for some anti-Trump journalist to curate the information and add bias,” she said.
Meyers pointed out that Trump did not have to reply to follow-up questions.
“He does,” she said.
Later, sensing hostile laughter from the audience, Conway said: “I’m almost 50 years old and I’m so astonished to hear people ridicule the office of the president. I was raised differently, no matter who it is.”
After clashing again over Trump’s use of Twitter, Meyers offered a bet with Conway that Trump would not release his tax returns in the next four years.
“And I bet — and I know because this was talked about during the campaign — I bet most Americans really care what their [own] tax returns look like after four years when he’s been president,” she replied.