Trump spokesman says White House intention is "never to lie"

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had claimed the Trump inauguration had drawn the "largest audience ever" despite evidence to the contrary

Updated 21:15

Donald Trump's spokesman has said the White House's intention is "never to lie" after a row over audience numbers at his inauguration.

He also denied reports that those who had cheered Mr Trump speaking during a meeting he had with the CIA had been the President's supporters rather than spies. 

In a long news conference this evening, a reporter asked Mr Spicer: "Is it your intention to tell the truth from that podium?"

Mr Spicer, who is the man tasked with speaking to the media on behalf of Mr Trump, replied: "I think we have to be honest with the American people. I think sometimes you can disagree with the facts.

"There are certain things that we may not fully understand when we come out but our intention is never to lie to you," he said.

"We have a right to go out there and correct the record."

"At the time the information that was provided by the inaugural committee came from an outside agency that we reported on.

"I think knowing what we know now we can tell that WMATA's numbers are different but we were trying to provide the numbers that we were provided. 

"It wasn't like we made them up out of thin air."

His comments came after he attacked the media for calling into question his claim that the audience for Mr Trump's inauguration was "the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe." 

Mr Spicer went on the attack after several large media organisations published photos of the inauguration that appeared to show smaller crowds in the National Mall watching Mr Trump being sworn in than watched former President Obama's inauguration in 2009.

The White House press secretary accused journalists of inaccurate reporting of crowd numbers and using photos in a way that misrepresented what had actually taken place.

He added that "these attempts to lessen the enthusiasm for the inauguration are shameful and wrong."

Mr Spicer defended his attacks on the media at the latest news conference by insisting his statement had been technically correct as he was including viewers on live streams and social media.

"It was the most watched inaugural. Just one network alone got 16.9 million people online. There were tens of millions that watched that online, never mind the audience that was here.

"It unquestionable and I don't see any numbers that dispute that."

He later admitted he was not saying that it was the largest audience to watch it in person.

Mr Spicer went on to explain why he had been forced to attack the media to defend the President, saying: "It's not just about the crowd size... there is this constant theme to undercut what support he has.

"It's just unbelievably frustrating when you are continually told it's not big enough, it's not good enough, you can't win.

"He keeps getting told what he can't do... and then he goes and does it.

"There is this constant attempt to undermine the movement that he represents."