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Obama Is 'Genuinely Concerned' About Lack of Progress in Washington: Earnest

Earnest also said that the current White House should be concerned over appearances of colluding with the House investigation on Russia.
Image: Josh Earnest
White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Earnest answered questions about nuclear negotiation with Iran and a power outage in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Susan Walsh / AP

Former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said his old boss, former President Barack Obama, is worried about a lack of progress in Washington D.C.

“[He’s] viewing it from a distance, where he’s writing a book, but I think that he’s genuinely concerned,” Earnest said on MSNBC on Friday.

Earnest said Obama sees the White House and the federal government as “as an institution that could be used to advance the interest of the American public,” and a lack of forward movement is a concern, “not just for the former president of the United States but Americans of both parties across the country.”

With regards to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes — who has been accused of colluding with the White House on matters related to the committee’s investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia — Earnest said the current administration should be disturbed by how that meeting has been perceived.

Related: Obama Spokesman Disputes Trump's Wiretapping Claim

“For the White House, I do think they have to be concerned because it looks like they’re trying to launder this information through the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Community — again to try to exonerate or at least defend the tweets of the president of the United States,” Earnest said.

The former press secretary said intelligence officials scrambling to prove the validity of a tweet should be of concern to the public.

"What's problematic for the American people is that you have senior intelligence officials on the National Security Council that are not pouring over intelligence reports trying to figure out how to keep the country safe — they're poring over intelligence reports trying to figure out how they can defend an ultimately defenseless tweet that included a baseless accusation from the president of the United States," Earnest added.

He added that the Democrats aren’t losing sleep over whether or not they should be working with moderate Republicans. Earnest cited the current president’s unpopularity in suggesting he has no hold over the Democrats’ decisions.

He said Democrats are waiting for Republicans to make the first move in reaching across the aisle to work with them.

“So are they going to be interested in trying to cooperate with Republicans to do the right thing for the country? They might be,” Earnest said. “But that’s going to have to start with Republicans actually showing a good faith effort to being interested in talking to Democrats.”