The White House refused to field questions on the record from reporters on issues including GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn aboard Air Force One on Monday as President Trump traveled to Utah.
Reporters were told White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley would hold a press gaggle on the aircraft at some point in the journey. Gidley acknowledged there was “a lot of news to cover today” and provided written statements and approved comments to members of the press, according to press pool reports.
He did not provide a reason for declining to take questions, but did say there had not been a policy change. Reporters declined his offer to speak off the record.
The Washington Post reported the initial accusations against Moore last month. In that report, four women accused Moore of pursuing sexual and romantic relations with them when they were between the ages of 14 and 18, while he was in his 30s. Other women have come forward with additional allegations since then. Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Moore is up against Democrat Doug Jones next week in the Alabama special election to fill the remainder of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ U.S. Senate term.
Meanwhile, Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday in a federal court in Washington for lying to the FBI in January about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn was charged on one count of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI about communications exchanged with Kislyak shortly after Trump took office. Flynn said he is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Flynn was removed from his post at the White House earlier this year after it was revealed he misled the administration about his sanctions-related communications with the Russians.