TOWOIT #306: Raj Gaggle

March 15, 2018  

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Well, everything is bananas. Like, turning-into-a-dictatorship level bananas. I don’t think the White House transcriptionist has gotten to today’s briefing yet, and my chronicling life is easier with the transcript. But I did see that Raj Shah actually did a press gaggle yesterday. So I’ll put those questions up. This was before it was announced that there would be sanctions imposed by the U.S. against Russia.

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Questions asked of Raj Shah on the flight to Missouri yesterday:

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May is calling for the United States to cooperate more in dealing with Russia and the poison nerve gas attack. What is it you plan to do? Will you expel any diplomats, like Britain is doing? What are you planning to do?
  • So no specifics about sanctions or potentially expelling folks?
  • Does the President accept that Conor Lamb won in Pennsylvania-18?
  • What does that mean going into the midterms for Republicans’ chances?
  • A question on the Russia thing. Does the United States accept Britain’s conclusion, or has the United States been involved in any way — the FBI or anybody else — in looking at the evidence in itself?
  • But can you confirm — wait, my question is, though, has the FBI or any American organization examined the evidence or been involved in the investigation in any way?
  • Smattering reports that Larry Kudlow is going to be the next Gary Cohn. What do you have on that?
  • Has he been offered the job? Was he offered the job on the phone call?
  • There was also a report, just as we were taking off, about the President would potentially be open to some type of short-term DACA deal. Can you talk about whether that’s on the table?
  • That’s a no? He doesn’t support any type of short-term? Or does —
  • Raj, what’s the White House response to these walkouts at schools all across the country?
  • Did the President seem happy and satisfied with the wall prototypes that he saw yesterday?
  • Is the President — we heard that the President is pushing for additional tariffs on China.  Can you talk a little bit about what the timeline might be for that, what mechanisms he might be interested in using, what this will look like
  • What’s the approximate timeline?
  • Could you give us, sort of, a definitive timeline on the Rex Tillerson firing?  When did the President decide to do it? When did Kelly contact Tillerson?  What happened exactly?
  • Did Tillerson not believe what Kelly told him? Or was he buying — trying to buy more time?
  • Could you tell us, was there any reaction to Senator Paul saying he will oppose Pompeo and Haspel?
  • Is he comfortable with her history when it comes to torture and running one of those CIA black sites?
  • As the President said yesterday, he’s close to getting the Cabinet that he wants.  We’re hearing about David Shulkin, we’re hearing about Ben Carson, we’re hearing about H.R. McMaster. What can you say?
  • Is he considering Perry as a replacement for Shulkin?
  • Does the President have confidence in Secretary Shulkin?
  • Is McMaster leaving?
  • Has the President talked to Bolton about being National Security Advisor?
  • No, there’s more.
  • On Russia — coming back on Russia. Prime Minister May has taken very significant action in response to what she considers to be an attack against the sovereignty of Britain. Why has the President not done something similar against what most people consider to be an attack on the sovereignty of the United States in terms of the election?
  • You’re talking about prevention rather than retaliation. What has he done for retaliation?
  • What happened to Johnny McEntee?
  • Will the President take some action that we can see that would be tied to what happened in Britain with the poison nerve gas?
  • I have a question about California. In California, the President met with border security officials, he spoke to troops, he met with people who support him in the RNC fundraiser. Why didn’t he meet with California lawmakers or maybe people who disagree with him on some policies issues?

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