White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed the news on Monday that three former associates of President Trump's campaign were indicted by the special counsel investigating allegations of collusion with Russia, arguing the Democrats' funding of a salacious dossier should remain the bigger story.
"Today's announcement has nothing to do with the president. It has nothing to do with the campaign," Sanders told reporters at the White House.
Earlier in the day, special counsel Robert Mueller unsealed criminal charges filed against three former campaign hands: former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his deputy Rick Gates and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.
While Manafort and Gates faced charges related to money-laundering and conspiracy, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements about his contacts with Russians during the presidential race.
"There are no activities or official capacity in which the Trump campaign was engaged in these activities," Sanders said of Papadopoulos, who she described as a "volunteer member of an advisory council that literally met one time."
"He reached out, and nothing happened beyond that," Sanders said of Papadopoulos' admitted attempts to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian officials.
Sanders defended Trump's tweet from earlier Monday, in which he encouraged the media to focus on "Crooked Hillary."
"What the DNC did was actually exchange money. They took a meeting," Sanders said, referring to the discovery last week that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign shared the cost of producing a dossier of largely-unsubstantiated claims about Trump.
"The other one is actually paying money for false information," Sanders said of the dossier news.
The White House spokeswoman also said Trump had no intention of removing special counsel Robert Mueller.
"The president said last week ... there's no intention or plan to make any changes in regards to the special counsel," Sanders said.