TOWOIT #304: “You don’t come back from that.”

March 9, 2018

Questions they asked SHS today: 

  • (John Roberts, Fox News) Sarah, what are the considerations that are under discussion for the location that this meeting between the President and Kim Jong-un would take place?
  • But what are the considerations that are under discussion for WHERE this could take place? I mean, you wouldn’t — I take it you wouldn’t want to have it in downtown Pyongyang.
  • And just if I could —
  • The South Korean national security advisor said that the U.S. responded positively to a South Korean request for a waiver on the steel tariffs. Could you tell us where you are on that?
  • (Jonathan Karl, ABC News) Sarah, does the President think that Kim Jong-un is sincere about talking about denuclearization?
  • But does he think that Kim Jong-un can be trusted as a negotiating partner?
  • And if I could just ask you just one other thing. Lindsey Graham said about this news. He said, “A word of warning to North Korean President Kim Jong Un  — the worst possible thing you can do” with Donald Trump, in person, is to meet with him “in person and try to play him.  If you do that, it will be the end of you — and your regime.” Is Lindsey Graham reading the President correct on that? Is that a correct —
  • (Jeff Mason, ) Sarah, why did the President accept this invitation without ANY preconditions? For example, without demanding that the North Koreans release the three Americans that are being held there.
  • And I wanted to follow up on that because you just said that now. Do you think that a two-month time period is enough time to make sure that they will actually fulfill those promises? He said he wants to do it by May.
  • Does that mean it might not be May?
  • (Peter Baker, New York Times) Sarah, you said they promised to denuclearize. Did they promise to denuclearize or did they promise to talk about denuclearizing?
  • Is that before or after the meeting?
  • Before the meeting?
  • (Older guy in front–big dogs still here) Sarah, isn’t the President giving Kim Jong-un exactly what he wants, which is respect and stature on the international stage?
  • But there’s no guarantee this will be any more than a photo op? Kim Jong-un gets his equal footing, in his view, on the world stage, with the leader of the free world, and the President gets nothing.
  • And one small follow-up question, which is — and I apologize for that — which is, given the economic news and the North Korea news, what words would you use to describe the President’s mood right now?
  • (Kristen Welker, NBC News) Sarah, thank you. Top officials at the White House and at the Pentagon seemed to be taken by surprise by the announcement. Was this done in a haphazard way?
  • But the President came here to the briefing room, though, before reaching out to the President of China. Is that appropriate?  Should he not have reached out to his international partners first before making an announcement here?
  • Were you aware he would make this decision beforehand?
  • And was the Secretary of State aware that he was going to make that decision, Sarah?
  • (Jeff, the other Jeff) Sarah, to follow on what Peter was asking, how will the President and the United States be able to verify this before the meeting? How will they be able to verify the denuclearization?
  • The President has said repeatedly that previous Presidents, his predecessors, have mishandled this and misplayed this. Why can he be so confident that this is the right move, when, just in October, he was telling his own Secretary of State it would be a waste of time to talk directly?
  • Who would he like to have with him —
  • If I could just ask, who would he like to have with him at the meeting? The Secretary of State? I mean, there is not an ambassador now in South Korea. Does he plan to staff up more before this meeting?
  • (Jon Decker, Fox News Radio) Thanks a lot, Sarah. The North Korean government has made promises before; they’ve reneged on those promises in two prior administrations. What’s different now? Why should we trust Kim Jong-un now?
  • Kim Jong-un has starved his own people, he’s murdered his own people. You could say he’s responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier. Why put him on the same stage as the President of the United States?
  • (Francesca Chambers, Mail Online) Thank you, Sarah. Yesterday, the South Korean official came out to the stakeout location and said that this meeting would be taking place by May. But you did not say that in your original statement; that’s not what you said today, that a place and time has not been set. So was there some sort of a miscommunication about that? Because that was definitely what had been said by Mr. Chung yesterday evening.
  • Okay. And so, moving on from that point, can you kind of explain to us how this did end up coming about last night?  Because we had the President pop his head in here at roughly close of business to say to some reporters who were around that there was going to be this announcement —

MS. SANDERS:  Maybe that’s y’all’s close of business. Our hours must be a little later than y’all’s.

(Ugh. I cannot stand this woman.)

  • Well, you know, around 5 p.m., I mean.
  • So, he popped his head in here, though, and said that there would be an announcement coming around 7 p.m. from the South Koreans. Then the White House ends up telling us that it will be here on this property. Then it wasn’t until an hour after that that you even sent out a statement affirming the details — some of the details, not the May part of what this announcement that President Trump would be meeting with Kim Jong-un. Can you walk us through how that all happened, from the President popping in here, to the fact that a South Korean official, and not the White House, briefed us on our own property outside?
  • So why didn’t the White House —
  • So it was the President’s idea to come in here and make that statement?
  • (April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks) On the issue of denuclearization, and going back to Peter and to Jeff, there’s a black hole, when it comes to intelligence, as to what’s really happening in North Korea. What is going to be put in place, specifically, to qualify and quantify what is actually there?  When you talk about denuclearization, what are you denuclearizing? How many? We don’t know. Specifically, what is in place? Are you going to employ world bodies beyond what you have? What is in place? What do you plan on doing?
  • But it’s very important — when you have something — some kind of meeting of this nature, it’s very important to understand what is at play. Because he could say, I’m denuclearizing and not denuclearize everything.
  • And last question — one more subject, last question. Did President Trump — when did President Trump, after that photo, see Stormy Daniels? Did he text, email?  Do you have any other information?

MS. SANDERS:  I don’t.  We’ve addressed this extensively and I don’t have anything else to add.

  • (Debra Saunders, Las Vegas Review Journal) I have a California question. Wednesday, Governor Brown said that Donald Trump was declaring war on California. Now I know that the President has given Jerry Brown money to his campaigns before. Have they talked on the phone recently? And when the President goes to California next week, will it be war or will it be peace?
  • When the President goes to California, will it be war or will it be peace? What does the President plan on doing?
  • (John Gizzi, Newsmax) Thank you, Sarah. Two brief questions.  Stating the date coming up and who might accompany the President, or who’s expected to accompany them, could we assume, then, that General McMaster will remain National Security Advisor throughout the duration of the negotiations?
  • And that means — so it could be in the fall of this year; it could be later. But he’ll still be on there to advise?
  • He’s not leaving anytime soon?
  • (Brian Karem, News Sentinel) Thanks. Thanks. Different policy question for you, different issue. Three weeks ago, the President came out in a speech and said that we’re going to have the largest nuclear force ever. Hopefully, we’ll never have to use it.  We’re going to be so far ahead of everyone else in nuclear like you’ve never seen before, far in excess of anyone else. And as far as disarmament, he said, “We won’t lead the way. We’ll go along with them.” The day after that, OMB Director Mulvaney came in here and said that you all were going to spend close too — or are proposing to spend close to $50 billion to upgrade and enhance the nuclear arsenal. The week after that, the President — or a head of Russia came out and said he has a first-strike weapon. Now, whether or not you believe that he has a first-strike weapon, isn’t it inherently dangerous for the owners of the two largest nuclear arsenals to engage in brinkmanship?  And why are we abandoning our role as a peacemaker in disarmament?
  • But this is global thermonuclear war we’re talking about. You don’t come back from that. Isn’t it dangerous to talk about brinkmanship?
  • But he said it.
  • As far as North Korea goes, can you define —
  • (Hallie Jackson, NBC News) Thank you, Sarah. Just two questions, Sarah, clarifying what you’ve said from the podium. Is there a possibility that these talks with North Korea, with Kim Jong-un, may not happen?
  • So it’s possible that could not happen?
  • And then, second: You said from the podium — you acknowledged that the President, to follow up on April’s question, knows about the arbitration involving Stormy Daniels.  So does he remember speaking with his lawyer about that?  Does he remember meeting Daniels back in 2006?
  • (Trey Yingst, OANN) Thanks, Sarah. Quickly on North Korea, what specific steps is the President taking to prepare for this major summit with Kim Jong-un?
Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.33.03 PM
Just another strange, incompetent communique from the creeps inhabiting the White House

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