TOWOIT #101

April 27… Day 98

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Questions they asked Sean Spicer today:

  • Sean, what changes in NAFTA does the President hope to achieve through renegotiation?
  • Thanks, Sean. As you know, under both the Reagan and Bush administrations, concerns about tax cuts-fueled deficits were dismissed with promises of growth, and we’re hearing that same sort of rhetoric now. The deficit increased a great deal under both those administrations after the tax cuts. What’s different about the President’s plan that won’t lead to the same sort of ballooning of the deficit?
  • Thanks a lot, Sean. You may have seen the news about the Office of the Inspector General announcing that it’s launched an investigation into the payment that the former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn received prior to becoming the National Security Advisor from RT — Russia Today — which is an entity of the Russian government. What’s your reaction to that, first of all?
  • Are you satisfied with the vetting that was done of General Flynn by the transition team before he came on board as the National Security Advisor?
  • If he wasn’t fired by the President for lying to the Vice President, would he still have a job today, right here at the White House?
  • Given the progress that congressional Republicans have made on the healthcare talks, does the President want a vote on that bill this week?
  • If there’s no vote, does that mean the President won’t be disappointed?
  • Thanks, Sean. The President’s tax plan, we’re getting a little bit of mixed signals here on exactly what his vision is in terms of retirement savings. Can you lay out what the President’s vision is for 401{k}s, and particularly tax deductions surrounding those?  Does the President imagine removing those deductions entirely along with the other deductions, or is he going to protect those?
  • These tax deductions, though, of course, comes with its own group, its own lobby, its own interest group.
  • They fight very hard for these things. Are you guys prepared for a battle on all those tax deductions, eliminating all of those?  I mean, politically, that’s a big lift.
  • Just one more. Gary Cohn told us the retirement savings was protected.
  • Two on General Flynn. First, you said the Obama administration had reissued his clearance last year?
  • So is the implication there that should be taken that if the Trump administration was the one adjudicating his clearance, this year he would not have been issued that clearance, now that the White House knows everything that there is about General Flynn?
  • You’re not implying wrongdoing in the part of —
  • Finally, when you were here on February 14th, the morning after General Flynn was fired by the President, you said that the President asked him to leave the White House — the situation regarding the phone call with the Russian ambassador and the Vice President. But also “a series of other questionable instances.” I was hoping now you can provide some more information now that more — some of his financial dealings, in particular, now have come to light. Is that what led to his termination at the White House?
  • Not this —
  • To follow on a couple of things that have been brought up to you today. John’s question — not the process, but your own vet, meaning the transition — are you satisfied that that met the standard that should have been met with Michael Flynn? And then if there are any regrets that this White House has about bringing him in, knowing what you know about him now and seeing a behavior that would be plainly inconsistent with the standard that candidate Trump set during the campaign?
  • But that’s not the only question you asked Michael Flynn — it couldn’t possibly be the only you asked him.
  • As you just said to Zeke, it was not just the episode with the Russian ambassador, it was other instances. Those things have come to light. Any regret about bringing him in —
  • — to have this done and knowing what you know now did you miss something and you regret Michael Flynn in?
  • He regrets bringing him in?
  • On the question about — Gary Cohn and the Treasury Secretary left us with the implication yesterday when asked about retirement savings that they were protected. What you just said has indicated they might not be. Can you help us understand?

  • So General Flynn came in with just the Obama administration vetting, is that right, Sean?
  • Because that’s the impression you’re giving.
  • General Flynn came in and he walked through the door with just the clearance that was conducted by the Obama administration? That doesn’t make any sense.
  • I’m not the National Security Advisor. 
  • It’s a serious question.
  • And when Congressman Cummings accuses this White House of a cover-up, you say what?

  • Are there no other documents that you have at this point that could be turned over to this committee that would be relevant to this investigation?
  • Thank you. Two questions. One, does the President still feel that Mike Flynn should seek immunity?
  • But does the President?
  • And secondly, the President said he wants to start renegotiating NAFTA as soon as today. Has he notified Congress about that yet?
  • The President tweeted this morning about Puerto Rico — begin to default on their debt May 1st, pending some kind of solution.  There are millions of investors in the United States — senior citizens — who may not be aware that they hold funds within muni-bond mutual funds that expose them to a default in Puerto Rico. Is there anything the White House should do or the administration can do, one, to safeguard those senior citizens and their investments; and two, to prevent an increase in cost to states and municipalities that may have to pay more to borrow when they access the munibond market if Puerto Rico defaults?
  • I understand that the CR is different.  But if Puerto Rico defaults with or without the CR — is the administration working with Puerto Rico?
  • As the tax plan evolves and we start to get details, do you believe it is a fair question for anyone to ask how that plan personally affects the President and his family?
  • But is it a fair question to ask?
  • if middle-income Americans should feel empowered to ask how this plan affects them, why is it that Secretary Mnuchin today could not guarantee that no one in the middle class would pay more under this proposal?
  • So there is a guarantee from the White House? That’s the position of the White House right now — that middle-class American should not —

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