August 1, 2017… Day 194
The White House briefing was only 22 minutes long today, but there was some testiness in the briefing room today over this:
And also this:
A lot of that testiness was because SHS went on and on about “Why aren’t we investigating HILLARY and Russia?” as an answer.
Oh yes, and Trump might not sign that Russian sanction bill after all:
The Washington Post chronicles Scaramucci:
A lie about Boy Scouts was discovered because the full transcript of a WSJ-Trump interview was leaked to Politico. The WSJ tried to keep the transcript secret. Trump said that reaction to his Boy Scout speech was NOT mixed, in fact they called him and told him it was the best speech anyone had ever given to the Boy Scouts.
But don’t worry, because at long last they are going to take care of anti-white discrimination in this country:
For context, the Congressional Black Caucus is a fairly sober Twitter user:
Questions they asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders today:
- I wanted to ask about a comment Senator Lindsay Graham made this morning. He said it was wrong that there’s no good military option regarding North Korea. He said there’s a military option to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself. Would the White House be supportive of that option?
- Would the White House be supportive of that option to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself?
- Lindsay Graham said that the only military option against North Korea is to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself.
- So it’s an option?
- So destroying the country like Lindsay Graham says is an option?
- Sarah, according to the Washington Post, the President tried to change the narrative of what went down in Don Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer. Can you address that story and tell us, did the President really try to do that?
- Can you clarify the degree to which the President weighed in?
- Did he not know what the intelligence was —
- I want to follow up on that. Was he aware at the time that Don Jr. had had a meeting that was based on the pretext that he would be promised information that was negative about Hillary Clinton when he suggested that the statement only say that the meeting was primarily about Russian adoption policy?
- But you won, Sarah.
- Sarah —
- Sarah —
- Why hasn’t the President signed the Russia bill?
- Sarah, sort of a follow-up on what you were talking about — our “obsession” with Russia and the responsibility laying with the Clintons. There’s a report out today, based on a lawsuit that was filed, that says that Sean Spicer met with a campaign donor and a journalist from Fox News where they were pushing around this story that Seth Rich, this low-ranking DNC staffer that was murdered, was perhaps the one responsible for the WikiLeaks breach. Two questions. Sean put out a statement; he said it was just a brief meeting. He said the guy didn’t know the President. The lawsuit alleges that the President knew about it and had an influence on the story. Did the President know about the story, pre-publication, and did he have an influence on the way the story was written?
- To follow up, does it disturb you that the Press Secretary, for the President of the United States — you just gave this incredibly passionate pushback on us for focusing on Russia. Does it disturb you — you just sped right past this — does it disturb you that there’s an allegation out there and a lawsuit, and Sean Spicer admitted meeting with these two individuals, that this was discussed in your White House? That this particular —
- He met with a member of the media that was pushing —
- He was pushing a story that was later retracted because it was false. He met with that reporter and he met with a campaign donor. Does it disturb you? Does it say anything about this White House, if you entertain that kind of story?
- Sarah, I have two questions for you, because I want to follow up on something you said yesterday, after my first question. You were on that flight back from the G20. Did you advise the President to be truthful in that statement that he was helping —
- You were not in the room at the time, or in the area at the time?
- Yesterday, you said that the President was joking about his comments, putting suspects’ heads — telling police officers they shouldn’t cover their heads in putting them in the car. Was he making a joke about police brutality?
- Sarah, what’s so funny?
- What’s funny about that, Sarah?
- Should he apologize for that joke?
- On that same issue, the head of the DEA wrote immediately after the President made those remarks — to officers of the DEA — telling them to disregard them, and saying he had an obligation to speak up when something wrong happened.
- So why was that not clear —
- Has the President signed the Russia, North Korea, and Iran sanctions bill?
- What’s the delay? What’s the delay here? You guys have had this since Friday. What’s holding him back?
- Thanks, Sarah. I had two questions. The first is, there’s a really interesting story out, just before the briefing began, by Defense One, talking about Air Force One, and it says that the U.S. Air Force has found an alternative to get the price down, as President Trump wanted, and that was to buy a pair of Boeing 747 jetliners that were abandoned by a bankrupt Russian airline. Can you verify the accuracy of the story? Do you know if that’s correct?
- Okay. And then I also wanted just sort of an update on the new Chief of Staff, General Kelly. Can you talk to us sort of, in broad strokes, about the calls and outreach that he’s made so far to leadership in Congress, folks outside of Congress, any governors, that sort of thing? Can you talk to us broadly about the message that he’s sending and the people that he’s talking to both inside and outside of the administration?
- Sarah, on the President’s agenda — and I’m just sitting here and I heard you list off a list of reasons of why you think that the media should be focusing on Democrats and not the President. And not to belabor an obvious point, but Hillary Clinton is certainly not in the Oval Office; Donald Trump is. And there seems to be a trust deficit that is being created with some on Capitol Hill. And I want to tell you what Lindsay Graham said this morning on “The Today Show.” He says, “If this is true” — this Washington Post reporting — “it was a bad decision by the President, which will make us ask more questions. When you get caught in a lie about one thing, that makes it hard to say we’ll just let the other stuff go.” Is this what is hurting the President’s legislative agenda, this credibility issue on the Hill?
- Can you elaborate on that a little bit, Sarah? Because clearly there is a concern from some Republicans that the President is not always being as truthful as he could be. How does he plan to address that?
- Thank you, Sarah. I’d like to return to North Korea. With North Korea continuing to escalate nuclear tensions, can we expect any actions from the administration to ratchet up pressure of actions on China?
- Can you say what some of those options might be?
- You said yesterday that — I think you said yesterday that there would be no reshuffle in the Cabinet, meaning General Sessions would not move over to the Homeland Security. Is that correct?
- And does that also mean that Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the vice-chairman of the President’s Commission on Electoral Integrity, would stay in his position and not be considered for Homeland Security?
- Thank you, Sarah. I was hoping just to follow up on North Korea. I was hoping you could clarify the administration’s message that it has for North Korea. The other day, the President said, when asked about North Korea, “We will take care of them. We will take care of everything.” And a little bit ago, the Secretary of State, Secretary of State Tillerson, said that the U.S. is trying to convince North Korea that the U.S. is not your enemy. So which one is it? Is the President focused on North Korea as an adversary, or is Secretary Tillerson correct that the U.S. is trying to send this message that the U.S. is not North Korea’s enemy?
- Are they an adversary? Does the President —
- Sarah, thanks. Secretary Mnuchin had a meeting on the Hill this morning with Senate leaders about the debt ceiling. Apparently, according to reports, they didn’t get anywhere. Obviously this has the potential to affect the stock market rally that the President is so pleased with.
- Yes, that’s true. Do you have any reason to believe at this point that you’re going to get the debt ceiling issue done by the end of September?
- Thank you.
- Thank you, Sarah.
- Me being sarcastic? No, never.
- All right. Sarah, when it comes to this joke that the President said on Friday, you have many organizations — you have police organizations, the NAACP, and the American citizens share they’re upset about this. Could there be an apology from the President? And what does he view as reasonable when he’s not joking, when it comes to use of force from police?
- But do you think that the President is remorseful for what he said because of the outcry from Friday
- Thanks, Sarah. First, following up on Olivier’s question, he mentioned that there’s a legal review of this legislation, but the White House has already said that the President will sign it. So what is the nature of that review, if presumably there was some review before putting out that statement?
- And separately, one more for you. Last month, the President delivered a warning to Congress a couple of times not to take vacation in August. What is the status of the President’s August plans? Does he plan to leave Washington? For how long? And what will he be doing during that timeframe?
- Thank you, Sarah. The Coast Guard Commandant says that he won’t turn his back on transgender troops, which would seem to preclude adherence to the President’s directive on Twitter. Does the White House consider that he’s refusing to follow an order?
- Sarah, you just told April that you would have to ask the President if an apology would be appropriate. Are you saying you WILL ask him and get back to us?
- Well, could you please?
- Would you?
- Also, on General Kelly — you said yesterday that everybody is now reporting to the President through him. Is that an accurate characterization?
- So does that mean nobody can wander in to the White House on their own? Is he going to post somebody outside the Oval Office?
- Excuse me — into the Oval Office. Can his daughter? Can his son-in-law? Can Steven Bannon wander into the Oval Office without —
- But it’s pretty informal here normally, right? I mean, people talk to him. They don’t wait to get approval to talk to him.
- Can top staff talk to the President without the approval of General Kelly?
- What’s the President’s reaction to two opposition leaders being jailed in Venezuela?
- What is the President’s reaction to the two opposition leaders being jailed in Venezuela now after the sanctions from yesterday?
- Is the President already considering increasing the sanctions and perhaps going after their oil exports?
- On healthcare, you said earlier that what’s keeping the President’s agenda from going is Congress and their votes. The President has said he wants to see healthcare done before anything else, and yet that’s not the message we’ve seen from the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the last few days. Can you explain the discrepancy between the President and senior Republican leadership on the Hill when it comes to what should be done next?
- But as for doing this thing first.
- Will the President support Congress taking CSR payments out of his hands? There’s been some suggestion, again, among senior Republicans that this is appropriate to do given the President’s threats to stop these payments. They’re saying they should be taken out of the executive branch.
- Can you, please? Because this is something that’s being discussed pretty aggressively on Capitol Hill. John Thune has talked about it. Orrin Hatch has talked about it.
- Sarah, very quickly on Seth Rich. Does the President believe the predicate about original Fox News reporting that Seth Rich was responsible for the release of DNC emails to WikiLeaks?
She said I’M NOT SURE, and very quickly left the room.