November 16, 2017… Day 301… I think…

Sarah Huckabee Sanders press briefing #32.

Freshly returned from watching Trump laugh along with Duterte as Duterte called the press spies, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was back at the podium today lying her face off.

Here are the questions the reporters asked her:

  • [Cecilia Vega, ABC] Thank you, Sarah. Two questions — two topics, if I may. Does the President believe Roy Moore’s accusers, or does he think Roy Moore should drop out of this race?
  • So that’s a no? He thinks Roy Moore should stay in?
  • [Major Garrett, CBS] How would the President like to see that truth proven?
  • Does the President believe the accusations themselves — that is to say the women themselves and their own credibility — can be established outside of them making these allegations? What’s the mechanism by which the President would be satisfied that the allegations are true?
  • [Woman sitting next to Major Garrett] Sarah, Ivanka Trump says that she has no reason not to believe the women who have come forward. Does the President disagree with her position?
  • [Matthew] Thank you, Sarah. Having the information that we have and the information that the people of Alabama have, would President Trump vote for Roy Moore?
  • I know he’s not, but he endorses candidates all the time in states that he’s not a voter in. And if he says, “I would vote for this person or I wouldn’t,” would he vote for Roy Moore.
  • Would you get back to us on that?
  • [Jon Decker, Fox Radio News] Thank you, Sarah. A number of Republican senators have pulled their endorsement for Roy Moore. They’ve urged him to step aside. And Senator Sheldon said he wouldn’t even vote for him; he would write someone in on the ballot. Senator Cruz has pulled his endorsement. The President is not only President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief, he’s also leader of the Republican Party. Why won’t he weigh in on this? Why won’t he take the same type of strong position that these other Republican senators have taken on Roy Moore?
  • [James] Thank you, Sarah. I don’t mean by asking about that to suggest it’s necessarily the most important thing facing the country right now, but it happens to be my story assignment for the day. You say that the President finds these allegations against Mr. Moore, Judge Moore, to be very troubling, extremely troubling, et cetera. As we all know, the President faced a number of similar allegations, or somewhat similar allegations during the course of the campaign, and he vigorously denied them. But I wonder what you would assert to be the difference between the two situations such that, on the face of things, we should find one set of allegations very troubling and, on the other, we shouldn’t pay attention to them at all or we should totally disbelieve them.
  • [Jeff] Sarah, I’d like to ask you about two other topics. The tax bill passed the House today. One of the things that the tax bill does is increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion. I know the White House has argued that that will be paid by growing the economy. But if the economy doesn’t grow, how do you square that with the Republican view of — or general principle that deficits are bad?
  • But are you confident that the economy will grow consistently enough to cover these costs that otherwise would lead to a ballooning deficit?
  • [Blake] Sarah, let me ask you about the tax code as well. On the House side, they passed it today. The Senate side still has a ways to go. These are similar but they are also different bills and plans. At this point, does the President have a preference for the House or the Senate bill? And if so, which one?
  • You didn’t say they’re repealing the Obamacare individual mandate. Is that a priority for the President as well?
  • [Mara Liaison, NPR] Sarah, thank you very much. I have a question about the trip. But just, first of all, does his endorsement of Moore still stand?
  • Okay. And my question about the trip is that he’s made a strong argument that having a good relationship with Russia and with Vladimir Putin is a good thing for the United States. Does the President believe that Putin would ever lie to his face?
  • [Steven] Can I ask you another question about tax reform? Thirteen Republicans in the House today broke from the President, broke from their party leaders because they believe that this bill will actually increase taxes for some, if not many or most, of their constituents in California, New Jersey, and New York. Those 13 members represent millions of people who, in theory, voted for the President believing that he would lower their taxes. So what does the President say to those people? And how is this whole tax reform endeavor for them not a bait and switch?
  • [Jim Acosta, CNN] On Roy Moore, would the President campaign with Roy Moore?
  • And can I ask you a follow-up? Do you think he’s a creep?
  • Yeah.
  • [Kristen Welker, NBC] Thank you. Does the President think that Roy Moore is qualified to serve in the U.S. Senate?
  • Sarah, we’ve heard from– Sarah, we’ve heard from you and we’ve heard from Ivanka on this. When are we going to hear from the President himself?
  • But he’s ignored shouted questions for two straight days. He’s the President of the United States, the leader of the Republican Party; I think a lot of people want to hear —
  • But he’s the President.
  • Does he think Senator Al Franken should step down? What does he think of Senator Al Franken?
  • [Man] On the other side of the aisle, does the President have a response to the allegations against Senator Al Franken and also the mistrial over Senator Bob Menendez?
  • [Another man] Could you talk a little about the decision-making behind apparently appointing Mick Mulvaney to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Board, at least on an interim basis, given the fact that he’s been a longstanding critic of the board — and (inaudible) existence in the first place? And what signal should we take from that in terms of the future of that board and the director?
  • [Francesca, NY Daily News] Thank you, Sarah. China has announced that it’s sending a special envoy to North Korea tomorrow. The President was just in Beijing. Is that something that the President talked to President Xi about while he was there? Is that something that the President favors?
  • Sorry, I have another question about China and trade. Yesterday in his remarks, the President said that we can no longer tolerate unfair trading practices that steal American jobs and wealth and intellectual property, and the days of the United States being taken advantage of are over. He specifically mentioned China as he said all those words. Does the President still believe that China is raping the U.S. economy?
  • So on China–
  • [Jordan] Thanks, Sarah. Before the President left for Asia, officials here hinted that North Korea might be added back onto the list of state sponsors of terror. Has the President decided to go forward with that move?
  • [Hunter] Thank you, Sarah. The Fish and Wildlife Service is lifting a ban and will now allow elephant trophies imported from Zambia and Zimbabwe. President Trump has previously said he disagreed with big-game hunting. Why does he want this ban lifted? And has he changed his view on the practice?
  • I did speak to them today. They said that they have a draft of what’s going in the Federal Register tomorrow.
  • So he might change this?
  • [Toluse] Thank you, Sarah. The Senate Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to Jared Kushner alleging that he did not provide all the information that he should have about his e-mails during the campaign, including e-mails regarding WikiLeaks. Do you acknowledge that Mr. Kushner has not been fully forthcoming? And then, secondly, Donald Trump, Jr. sent out all of this correspondence with WikiLeaks on his Twitter account. Do you acknowledge that the campaign was in touch with WikiLeaks during the campaign? And was the President aware that his son was corresponding with WikiLeaks?
  • [Debra] Thank you, Sarah. After the House passed the GOP healthcare law, you had a celebration in the Rose Garden. I’m assuming there’s not going to be a celebration today about the tax bill. What are you doing differently this time around?
  • Yes, you have talked about the tax bill in terms of fulfilling the promise to middle-class people that the President made during the campaign and afterward. Why does the President support a bill, though, where the individual tax rates will — the cuts will expire at the end of 2025, but the corporate rates will never expire, going down from 35 to 20?
  • Does he think that’s a fair bill, to have that one provision expire and the other not?
  • [Jessica] Thank you. One of the other things that happened in China right after the President left was that this announcement about more foreign ownership in the financial sector in China was announced, but it was announced after the President left. I wonder if that came up in the conversations between the Presidents and if that was part of any ongoing conversations or deals that were reached during the visit or before the visit.
  • The Chinese Foreign Ministry has taken issue today with the President’s statement yesterday that he and President Xi agreed that there would be no freeze-for-freeze proposal regarding North Korea. What is your understanding, or the President’s understanding of what he and Xi agreed about that? And does the President stand by that statement yesterday?
  • Thank you, Sarah. Sarah, before the President left for his trip to Asia, he called on the Justice Department to look into the Democrats and that situation, as he put it. And then days later, the Attorney General asked special prosecutors to look into the Uranium One allegations in the Clinton Foundation. Did the President cross any lines and try to influence the Justice Department and the Attorney General to look into the situation of the Democrats?
  • Thank you very much. Going back to Russia just a bit. When he said that he spoke with Putin and he believed that he meant what he said — in other words, there was no collusion with the government —
  • Okay, so the question being, he’s always maintained that it was the Democrats who colluded with Russia. Is he saying that Putin exonerated the Democrats?
  • Sarah, as a New Yorker, is President Trump concerned at the potential tax increases for hardworking New Yorkers who can no longer deduct state and local taxes, and might cause an exodus from New York losing his spot as the U.S. and world financial capital?
  • [Eamon] Thank you, Sarah. So Senator Johnson, a Republican, raised some questions about the fairness of the tax proposal, particularly the disparity between corporate and individuals in the way they’re — big corporations and regional corporations in the way they’re treated as well. So the question is: What concessions is the White House prepared to make to Senator Johnson? And if you do make concessions to him, are you worried that other Republicans will demand their own concessions on issues of importance to them and you’ll have just a revolving door of senators who want something from you in this bill?
  • Did he offer Senator Johnson anything when they spoke?

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