October 5, 2017… Day 259

I have barely seen the news today but this looks doozyish:

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Questions from Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s press briefing earlier in the day:

  • Two topics for you. I want to start off with gun control. Does the President support legislation that would ban or regulate bump stocks?
  • Can you tell us anything about the President’s thinking?
  • Can I also just ask about DACA today? Obviously it’s that October 5th deadline. Is there any thinking right now about potentially extending that deadline because so many people have yet to actually submit their renewal forms?
  • Sarah, is asking for cuts in the levels of legal immigration going to be part of what the White House seeks in a DACA fix?
  • Thanks, Sarah. A couple questions on Puerto Rico if I can. The President said that the debt in Puerto Rico is going to be wiped out. Director Mulvaney sort of cleared that up a little bit, saying he shouldn’t take the President word for word on that. Can you just button it down from the podium whether or not the President will take action or push for legislation to forgive any of the debt that Puerto Rico currently has?
  • And just one more on —
  • Thanks, Sarah. I’m wondering if there’s any concern in the White House that the President’s frequent use of the term “fake news” to describe mainstream outlets muddies the water a little bit and makes it harder for citizens to identify the actual fake news that the intelligence agencies have said countries like Russia used to interfere in the last election.
  • But does he see a distinction between erroneous reports or reporting that he finds offensive, and the type of fake news that we saw pushed during the election by Russian intelligence? Does he see a distinction there?
  • Sarah, can you give us a readout on the meeting with Senator Cotton this morning?
  • Can you give us a readout on the meeting with Senator Cotton?
  • Were immigration and Iran among those issues today?
  • Beyond bump stocks, has the President — has opened an attitude about other methods of gun control that have long been debated? Or is the White House openness, which you just described, and being willing to be a part of that conversation, limited to one on bump stocks?
  • Just to be accurate on that: Bump stocks is what you’re open to having a conversation about and that’s it, for the moment?
  • Thanks. A lot of people talk about the bump stocks so I’m going to kind of talk about something else, and that’s the Iran nuclear deal. October 15th deadline coming up. And I want to make it clear for the people that don’t know, it’s a little more complicated because there’s also the Review Act that congress enacted last year. So I’m just curious, given that the President has previously said, “This deal was an embarrassment,” does it make sense then to presume that he will not choose to recertify? Or might he decide to strengthen sanctions and sort of stay in the deal that way? What’s your thought?
  • Despite disparate voices, I’m imagining, in the room on that — even though they will move forward as one, there’s been some debate, is it fair to say that?
  • Since the briefing began, Sarah, the NRA has put out a statement as it relates to bump stocks — their positon on bump stocks. They write that they believe that devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to function as fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulation. Does that change the administration’s point of view? After all, the President has been a big supporter of the NRA, and the NRA has also been a big supporter of the President.
  • Sarah, let me ask you, one on Puerto Rico and then one on taxes, if you don’t mind. Just going back to Puerto Rico, you said that, with the debt, that there’s a process in place and that the process will play out. Does that mean the President’s comments of just simply wiping away the debt is no longer on the table?
  • And then on tax reform, Sarah. Chuck Schumer right now, or at least is scheduled to have a news conference about the state and local tax deductions being wiped off the books — how they should stay on the books. There’s currently one Republican senator, seven Republicans, at least, in the House, who want that to stay as a part of the tax framework. The President had talked about red lines. Is he up for negotiation on SALT? Or is this something, for him, that is a red line?
  • Sarah, a follow-up question on Puerto Rico. Yesterday, the administration, in its supplemental request, asked for $13 billion to help storm victims. Will some of that go towards helping Puerto Rico rebuild its power grid, which was in pretty dire straits before this storm?
  • Sarah, why did the President tweet this morning that he’d like to see the Senate Intelligence Committee investigate news outlets in, I guess, this quest to go after fake news? Does he value the First Amendment as much as he values the Second Amendment?
  • You don’t go after journalists if you’re a supporter of the First Amendment.
  • Sarah, if I could follow up on that. Should Congress —
  • Should Congress investigate news outlets? Just very quickly, though — should Congress investigate news outlets?
  • Just, my second question was a follow-up to Jim’s.
  • Sarah, thank you. Sarah, was the President upset that his Secretary of State didn’t deny calling him a moron in his public remarks yesterday?
  • But what’s your response to those who say the President has undercut the Secretary of State? Sarah, just quickly before you move on. What’s your reaction to that?
  • Thank you, Sarah. Two questions. First, let me follow up on Kevin’s question earlier about the Iran agreement. We know that this certified does not mean a complete cut, and it would still keep the U.S. in the negotiating procedure. On the other hand, a clean break, such as advocated by former Ambassador John Bolton, would completely separate the U.S. from any agreement with Iran. Ambassador Bolton proposed that; reportedly has been unable to talk to the President about it. Is the clean break advocated by him still on the table?
  • The other question I have, Sarah, was this —
  • I had two.
  • Just this one for you. We now know that Secretary Price was essentially let go over his private jet travel, and we know that in close proximity to his firing, Secretary Perry took private jets. We know that Kellyanne Conway went along for one of Secretary Price’s rides. At the same time, the President has now spent, I think, 17 weekends, at taxpayer expense for the flights, either at Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster at the cost of $180,000 an hour for Air Force One, and is going to take the place to a fundraiser in North Carolina this weekend. So here’s the question: Is he not setting the tone that tells his Cabinet members that this kind of misuse of taxpayer money — or overuse, if you will — is okay?
  • The full rate or the first-class rate that Secretary Price paid out?
  • But he doesn’t have to go every weekend, does he? I mean, he could stay here and work like former Presidents did.
  • I want to ask about the President’s tweet this morning about the Senate Intelligence Committee. Is he frustrated with how long the investigation into alleged Russian election interference is taking?
  • Thank you, Sarah. Thanks. On the Kurdish vote last week, I’m wondering, the U.S. commanders have regularly praised the Peshmerga for their ability to fight ISIS. What message is the White House and the U.S. government sending to them now by not backing them in their desire for independence?
  • Sarah, does President Trump believe the Senate Intelligence Committee should investigate American media organizations?
  • What did you mean when you said why isn’t the Senate Intelligence Committee looking into the fake news networks in our country?
  • Sarah, you’ve said several times that the White House wants to be part of the conversation on bump stocks. The President said himself this week, “We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.” But you also suggested, I think — and just to clear it up — that the time to talk about that is after the investigation has gotten to another stage or wrapped up. I mean, if not now, when is it appropriate to start having this conversation about policy?
  • If I could just ask one question just to clarify the White House’s position on these bump fire stocks. This morning in a couple of television interviews, your colleague Kellyanne Conway suggested that the ATF in 2010 made a decision that these bump stocks were firearms parts and not firearms themselves, and couldn’t be regulated under the existing law. Is it the White House’s view that that was the wrong decision on the part of the ATF?
  • Sarah, I have two Las Vegas questions. One, is the administration considering overriding the 2010 Obama ATF ruling on bump stocks?
  • And second, Dina Titus, Democrat congresswoman from Las Vegas, said she personally delivered a letter to a member of White House staff yesterday inviting the President to meet with the Gun Violence Task Force. Did the President see it? Is he going to say yes?
  • Do you know if he saw the letter?
  • Sarah, has the President had even preliminary conversations with congressional leaders about bump stocks? And did he talk with any of the rescuers in Las Vegas about these devices?
  • Sarah, over the last couple days, the President has used the words “fear,” “hate,” “cruelty.” And since you’re saying you’re talking, you’re having conversations on different things as it relates to Las Vegas, what is the conversation when it comes to the issue of terror? You’ve not talked about it yet. You’ve not classified it as such. In talking to people from both sides of the aisle, they’re saying there’s no one settled universal definition for terrorism. But we’ve seen Timothy McVeigh with Oklahoma City, we’ve seen Roof with Mother Emanuel in Charleston. Under all circumstances that we’ve seen so far, people were intimidated, scared, ambushed military-style in a planned, thought-out effort, be it — whether it’s political or not, they were terrorized. Is this administration willing to start — since they’re having conversations about other things — was this terror, domestic terror?
  • And lastly, what about —
  • The mayor of San Juan had that shirt saying “NASTY.” What does this White House believe? The President went there; it was very controversial, his appearance there.
  • Well, some people —
  • Sarah, I have a question for you. You’ve made very clear that the President is open to the conversation surrounding bump stocks and perhaps other regulations on gun control. Does he want to lead that conversation? Will he get out and use the power of his presidential platform to push for more regulation on, for example, bump stocks, which law enforcement officials have said were used in Vegas?
  • And I just clarify, in response to the shooting, Sarah —
  • There’s some talk that some of the main facilitators of the Iran nuclear deal are significant contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize. Is the White House aware of that? And do you have a thought on these folks being talked about as potential winners?

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