TOWOIT #258: Manacles Monday

October 30, 2017… Day 284

Sarah Huckabee Sanders wore fuchsia today and so did I !

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Obviously a world of Halloween-costuming regrets is hitting me now. I failed to realize my true destiny. It was to be SHS, in all her glory. ALTHOUGH, it might have been like a less-flattering version of the time Phil in my office dressed up as Don Draper and nobody realized he was wearing a costume.

Well, we are paying this woman’s salary to lie to us. And with that salary, she has availed herself of these sleeves:

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Sarah Huck, Sarah Huck. I tell guys on Twitter to stop being jackasses when they make fun of your clothing. And then you do THIS?

It’s ok. Even now, I will defend your marine invertebrate swaddlements.

Here are the questions Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked today:

  • Sarah, first I’d like to get the White House reaction to the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates — the agreement with George Papadopoulos. And specifically, you know, we have heard a couple tweets from the President, if you can help me understand. When he says, “why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus,” is the President saying that Special Counsel Mueller should really be investigating Hillary Clinton and the Democrats? And is he going to rule out, once and for all, firing Robert Mueller?
  • But the George Papadopoulos agreement is about the campaign. It is specifically about the campaign —
  • But it is the clearest evidence yet of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials so —
  • Sarah can you just explain what George Papadopoulos’ role with the campaign was?
  • What about the outreach that he was making to campaign officials to try to put together this meeting?
  • Well, that’s what I meant —
  • Can you explain what happened with his outreach?
  • Thanks a lot, Sarah. I wanted to ask about Mr. Mueller’s investigation. The President, at times, has called it a “hoax” and he’s called it a “witch hunt.” You’ve used similar type of language before, as it relates to his investigation. Last week, you indicated, Sarah, that you believe that Mr. Mueller is wrapping up his investigation. And I’ve heard similar things coming from other senior administration officials. Do you still believe that Mr. Mueller is in the process of wrapping up his investigation?
  • Thank you Sarah. Paul Manafort was high-ranking in the President’s campaign at one time. I’d like to know what the President’s relationship is with him now. Do they still talk? When was the last time they might have had contact?
  • And Rick Gates as well?
  • Yeah, thank you, Sarah. On March 31, according to the affidavit by Mr. Papadopoulos, he attended a foreign policy meeting; the President was there. He said that he talked about how he — that Russia wanted to talk to the President. What did the President think when he said he wanted to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin? And how did other people in the campaign react to that?
  • Thank you, Sarah. As you mentioned, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates were named in this for things not having anything to do with the campaign, but with alleged money-laundering regarding other business. Now under those circumstances, would the President consider or rule out pardoning either of them?
  • Papadopoulos, at this time, was working — was reporting to Jeff Sessions at the time, who was overseeing Trump’s foreign policy advisory committee. What does this mean for Jeff Sessions?
  • Can you say — given what we have learned over the last few hours, can you say when the President was first aware that Russia was behind the hacking and was in the possession of emails — what they considered to be damaging emails about the Clinton campaign that they were trying to get to the Trump campaign? When was he first aware of that?
  • Sarah, does the President regret having hired Paul Manafort‘s to be his campaign manager? And is he and the rest of the White House concerned that this issue will distract from tax reform and the other domestic policy and foreign policy priorities?
  • And as far as whether he regrets having hired him to be campaign manager?
  • Sarah, how can you describe Mr. Papadopoulos’ having a limited role when there’s a photograph of Mr. Papadopoulos sitting at a table with then-candidate Trump at a national security meeting —
  • And he was also cited by then-candidate Trump in a meeting with the Washington Post as to who his top foreign policy advisors are. That seems to fight against what you’re saying. And also how is it not collusion when George Papadopoulos is in contact with various people who are promising dirt on Hillary Clinton — a series of events that closely mirrors what occurred with the President’s own son? Did he contact Russians —
  • — in pursuit of information that was damaging about the Clintons. How is all of that not collusion?
  • And what about these activities? What about these collusion activities, Sarah? He was pursuing information from the Russians —
  • Believe it or not, I have a question on this but also on tax reform. The President has called on Congress to investigate Hillary Clinton. Is he confident that they will do that?
  • (Inaudible) any congressional leaders of committees that —
  • Okay, my question about tax reform is: Where does the President stand on the idea of phasing in the corporate tax cuts so it would reach 20 percent sometime around 2022?
  • Sarah, just so we have that terminology straight. When you say George Papadopoulos had no official capacity, what do you mean by that?
  • So his activities were entirely of his invention? No one asked him to do any of these things? Is that what you’re telling the American public?
  • Right. But the reason I ask is now there are two episodes in which people associated with the campaign at rather high level — at least in one instance, and George Papadopoulos is a member of a foreign policy or military advisory committee — sought dirt on Hillary Clinton from people representing themselves as either linked to or associated with the Russian government. Is that just a coincidence?
  • And then what explains later activities that the campaign — to have that similar — that same kind of meeting at Trump Tower?
  • What explains the campaign’s later involvement with those associated with the Russian government — or said they were — to get dirt on Hillary Clinton later in the campaign? Are these things — are they coincidental?
  • Does that indicate a pattern of trying to obtain that information from that government?
  • From a hostile government?
  • Thank you, Sarah. I have two questions for you. But first, if I could follow up on your comment there about the GPS Dossier. This is an issue that many senior-level administration officials have pointed to during these questions about the special counsel. Has the White House asked the Department of Justice to look into this issue?
  • Can I follow up on Mueller? You’ve spoken with the President today?
  • Can you give us a little bit about his reaction to the news this morning? Obviously, news that swept the nation’s capital, but what — how did the President respond to this news about two people who did work for his campaign? Was he disappointed that Paul Manafort received this news today — that he was being charged on these 12 counts?
  • Sarah, we are now talking about two of the most senior members of the campaign at a very pivotal time — through and including the RNC last year — who are now under federal indictment for very serious crimes —
  • — that admittedly they did not allegedly conduct during their work for the campaign. But doesn’t it speak to the President’s judgement that he would choose to have these two individuals in very high positions, having allegedly committed these crimes in the years leading up to their roles?
  • But the President has no regrets?
  • Sarah, what leads you to believe that the Mueller investigation will conclude soon? Do you also believe that there could be more indictments? And my third question, on another subject — welfare reform: The President talked about this a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been trying to find out what is the focus. How do you plan to implement welfare reform?
  • The first one: What leads you to believe that this will conclude the Mueller investigation? Have you been given a head’s up? What?
  • And also do you believe — indications from who and where? Sarah, indications from where?
  • And also what about — you don’t believe there will be any more indictments at all?
  • But you’re saying that it’s going to be concluded soon?
  • Sarah, in March, the President called — March, 2016 — the President called George Papadopoulos an “excellent guy.” Does he still believe that Papadopoulos is an excellent guy?
  • Papadopoulos told the FBI that a campaign supervisor told him, I would encourage you to make the trip to Russia (inaudible.) How does that not constitute the campaign encouraging him to make contact with Russia?
  • Sarah, at the end of the day is there any concern at all from this administration — again, trying to drill down on what was asked earlier — that two people who worked for the President are now under indictment? One has pleaded guilty. And he promised to hire only the best people. Is this an example of the best people to hire?
  • But are these the best people to hire?
  • Sarah, last week the administration opposed a federal judge’s decision that allowed an undocumented teen immigrant to have an abortion. Now that that case is over, it’s been decided — she’s had that abortion. What is the White House reaction to that decision? And does it set a dangerous precedent going forward?
  • Was the President aware of this case at all? Did he comment on it?
  • Sarah, thank you. I’d like to ask you about a different topic. Just breaking before the briefing, a court banned the President from changing military policy on service by transgender people. What’s the reaction from the White House and the plan moving forward with reference to this?
  • Congressman Gowdy this weekend had suggested that there should be an investigation into the leaks of the grand jury investigation, or Robert Mueller’s investigation. Do you think there should be an investigation? Are you all asking for an investigation?
  • Would you support an investigation?
  • Sarah, thanks. Does the President in any way hold Jared Kushner responsible for hiring Paul Manafort? After all, he was an early supporter of bringing him on board.
  • And, Sarah, to just follow up on the point of hiring the best people, the top, top people, he said. Does this not at the very least raise questions about President Trump’s vetting process and judgement when it comes to bringing on these people?
  • Sarah, two quick questions. Does the President — you said back in July that the President believed that the investigation for the special counsel should stay within the confines of Russian election meddling. Given what we learned today, does the President believe Bob Mueller overstepped the boundaries of his investigation?
  • Okay. And my second question, Sarah, would just be on the topic regarding the plea agreement with George Papadopoulos. You’ve indicated the President did not remember that March 31st meeting, the photograph, right?
  • Did he remember anything about that meeting — his interactions with Papadopoulos — given that he’s talked about his great memory?
  • And specifically did not remember that Russia comments? Did he remember Papadopoulos’s presence? Did they have interaction?
  • Thank you, Sarah. Gallup just came out with a poll giving 33 percent approval, 62 percent disapproval to the President. What’s your reaction? Is the President aware of this? Any plans of changing anything?
  • Sarah, can you please clarify your answer to Mara — that the stock market is moving downwards on this news that possibly the corporate rate could be phased in over several years? I wasn’t sure if you were trying to make the point that the President would be for a phase-in or against a phase-in.
  • So the red line of — so the red line of the 20 percent corporate rate stands —

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