September 13, 2017… Day 237

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Questions for Sarah Huckabee Sanders today:

  • A couple of questions if I could, Sarah.  First of all, can you give us a readout of the meeting that the President had with Senator Scott this morning?
  • Did Senator Scott express his displeasure at all with the President’s initial reaction to Charlottesville?
  • Second question. Following the meeting that he had with the President last night, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said, in his perfect world you get 30 Democratic senators and 30 Republican senators agreeing on a plan for tax reform. Does the President believe he can get 30 Democratic senators and still stick to his principles for tax reform?
  • Thank you. Two questions if I can. The President’s dinner tonight with Schumer and Pelosi — they seem to be getting close — but in the past, the President has called Chuck Schumer a “clown,” Pelosi a “loser.” But now he seems to recognize that he needs them. How does that work? What changed?
  • But does he view Schumer and Pelosi as equal allies on the Hill for getting things done, on par with McConnell and Ryan?
  • Hi. I know the President came out for Graham-Cassidy today, but a lot of people believe that may not come to pass. Senator Alexander has introduced a more incremental bill that would stabilize the insurance markets. Could the President support a bill like that, or does it have to be more of a full-scale repeal? And secondly, what does the President make of Democrats’ efforts on single-payer?
  • But could he sign something that’s not a full-scale repeal? Obviously, I’m not just saying single-payer, but something along the lines of what Senator Alexander —
  • Thanks. Two questions. First, is Vice President Pence going to be attending that dinner tonight?
  • And on a different topic, I wanted to follow up on some statements you made yesterday about James Comey. You said some of his conduct likely could have been illegal. I was wondering what specifically you were referring to there, because the one thing you pointed out was those memos that were given to the Times, but those didn’t contain any classified information and were handed over once he was a private citizen.
  • So what do you want to see happen?
  • And just following up on that a bit. So you’re not saying that the Justice Department should look into this, but you do believe that Comey did — that his act of leaking those memos was illegal?
  • Okay, and just on another topic. Do you have any details on where the President will be going tomorrow in Florida? Any details on that trip?
  • Two questions. The first one, after meeting with Senator Scott, has the President’s mind changed at all about that initial statement? Should he have been more forceful? And will he sign this bipartisan resolution condemning the violence in Charlottesville as well as hate groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis?
  • And then one other topic — his meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi tonight. This is the kind of thing that conservatives who ran against him in the presidential race warned about, that he would be cutting deals with Chuck and Nancy that would not uphold the ideals of conservatives. So why is he meeting with just the two of them this evening? And is he hoping to strike an immigration deal with Schumer and Pelosi?
  • Two topics, just to follow up on that firstly. Is immigration going to come up? And would the President consider reaching some kind of deal similar to the three-month extension working with Democrats on the DREAMers issue?
  • And I also want to ask about the number two at FEMA withdrawing his nomination for consideration. Did the White House know about that IG audit when the President decided to nominate Daniel Craig?
  • This morning on CBS, Senator Manchin said that last night, at dinner, the President was adamant that the tax reform would not be a tax cut for the rich. Do you know on what basis the President was able to make that promise? Is he pledging to hold the top tax rate at 39.6 percent? Are we not going to see a reduction in that rate? How can he assure Americans that the rich won’t get a tax cut?
  • Just to follow up on the question that was asked about Bernie Sanders’s health plan — in January, the President gave an interview with the Washington Post where he said he wanted to see a program that would allow for insurance for everybody, and that would leverage Medicare and Medicaid’s ability to control drug prices. Bernie Sanders seems to be offering a plan that would do that. Why is the President not supporting him?
  • Two quick questions on tax reform. There are some Democrats who are confused. If the President was serious about creating a bipartisan tax plan, their thinking is that the President would also be meeting with ranking members or the minority members on Ways and Means and on the Finance Committee in advance of the disclosure of the consensus outline that’s going to come out at the end of September. Can you describe the President’s view about how to create a bipartisan tax plan? And does he want to get ideas from Democrats, or does he just want Democrats to buy into the plan that Brady and Hatch will reveal?
  • I said I had two questions. A quick question on Florida. How soon will the federal government be able to estimate with any kind of precision what kind of additional aid might be necessary to address the destruction in Florida in terms of what Congress may be presenting by the end of the month?
  • Thank you, Sarah. I’d like to ask — the United States is spearheading a meeting at the U.N., on Monday, on U.N. reform. Could you give me some specifics on what the United States hopes to accomplish in that meeting?
  • Thanks a lot, Sarah. Two questions on two different subjects. Just to follow up to the President’s meeting that he had with Senator Scott this morning — after the President’s response to that white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Senator Scott said that President Trump’s moral authority was compromised. In terms of the conversation that they had, does the President understand what troubled Senator Scott, in regards to his response?
  • And then on tax reform, with the meeting that’s taking place this evening with Democratic leaders from Congress, what has been the reaction that you’ve seen from the supporters that were onboard sort of the Trump bandwagon from the start, this new tack that the President is taking in reaching out to Democrats?
  • Thank you, Sarah. Two different questions on two subjects. First, your earlier remarks about the nature of repeal-and-replace legislation would seem to rule out the White House support for a flat-out repeal, which is favored by many Republican House members. Are you ruling out or discouraging a flat-out repeal measure first?
  • The other thing is, the President recently appointed 42 new U.S. attorneys, and it’s been reported fairly widely that only one of them was a woman — the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.  Joyce Vance, former Democratic-appointed U.S. attorney in Alabama, called this — and I quote — “a slap in the face.” What is the reaction of the White House to that comment on this wave of appointees of U.S. attorneys?
  • Thanks, Sarah. It was reported today that Mike Flynn, Jr. is the subject of a federal investigation into election meddling. Is the President concerned that someone who served on his transition team is now the subject of a federal investigation?
  •  If I could follow up on a comment that Hillary Clinton made this morning. She said that she wished President Trump was the President for all Americans. Do you have any reaction to this characterization of the President’s role in the White House?
  • Thank you, Sarah. A little over a week ago, the Canada, U.S., and Mexico closed the second round — closed out the second round of negotiations on NAFTA. The next round in 10 days is in Ottawa. Has the President been briefed on the second round? Is he happy with the result, if he was briefed? And is he still considering cancelling the entire agreement?
  • Two questions. Number one, when was the last time the President spoke with Mike Flynn?
  •  And I also want to ask about tonight’s dinner. Why not also invite Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan?
  • Can I just clarify — because I don’t want to get it wrong either. Are you saying that if Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan were there, then that conversation would be distorted?
  • So is the President negotiating on behalf of the Republican leadership on the Hill in this meeting?
  • Sarah, I want to go to the Tim Scott meeting. What other topics were on the table with the President, beyond Charlottesville, with Tim Scott?
  • Were there conversations about HBCUs in this meeting?
  • Okay. And what about — and a source is saying that there was a conversation about a request from black Republicans to have a high-ranking black Republican within this administration who knows issues and understands how Washington up and down Pennsylvania Avenue works. Was that a conversation in this meeting?
  • So where did that go?  What did the President say about —
  • Did they speak of certain issues, of certain people as it related to that topic about bringing new —
  • Let me ask — bring you back to taxes and a couple questions there. The President campaigned on a corporate tax rate of 15 percent. However, Steve Mnuchin yesterday said, “I don’t know if we will be able to achieve that given the budget issues.” You were asked about Mr. Mnuchin’s comments, and you said, “The President is prepared to push for as low a rate as we can get.” However, Mick Mulvaney said today that he had spoken to the President, and the President was adamant about a 15 percent rate.
  • And secondly, with working with — or at least talking tonight with Pelosi and Schumer, one of the things that they want is Not One Penny, their campaign to the wealthiest Americans. That is a marker that they have drawn in the sand. At this point, is the President open to not having tax cuts as deep as once were maybe thought for the wealthiest of Americans?

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