TOWOIT #326: BE BEST!

May 7, 2018

  • (Kevin Corke, Fox News) Thank you, Sarah. A couple questions. First, on Gina Haspel. Is it true the President and yourself and others had to, sort of, convince her not to withdraw her name from consideration? And if so, what was that like? And has this circumstance happened before since you’ve been at your position here at the White House?
  • And a follow-up about Don Blankenship. Why does the President believe he can’t win an election in the state of West Virginia?
  • And the follow —
  • — was on Blankenship in West Virginia. Why does the President believe that he can’t win an election in the state of West Virginia? Why not?
  • (Cecilia Vega, ABC News) Thank you, Sarah. We also congratulate Alex and Katherine. Rudy Giuliani said that, if necessary, it’s possible that Michael Cohen could have paid off other women to keep them quiet about alleged affairs with the President. Is that possible? Are there other women out there who received money from the President to stay quiet?
  • But you’ve been in his circle for a long time now. You were on the campaign. Is that anything that came across your desk?
  • (Steve Holland, Reuters) The President has got a May 12 deadline on the Iran nuclear deal. Is he wavering on this deal based on the pressure from the Europeans with Boris Johnson here this week?
  • And John Kerry’s shadow diplomacy — how does that impact the deliberations?
  • (Jon Decker, Fox Radio News) Thank you, Sarah. Back to Gina Haspel. Her confirmation hearing is on Wednesday. It’s an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Are there any questions that are off-limits, from the White House’s point of view, as it relates to her career at the CIA?
  • So, Sarah, if she’s asked any questions regarding enhanced interrogation techniques that took place during her tenure at the CIA — that Democrats say that she was involved with — she can answer them fully in an open hearing. Is that your position?
  • (Steve Herman, Voice of America) Yes, Sarah. President Putin, in Moscow, was inaugurated today for a new six-year term. Over the weekend, throughout Russia, we saw police arresting, it’s estimated, about 1,600 anti-Putin demonstrators, including organizer and anti-corruption campaigner, Alexei Navalny. We’ve seen the President tweet about other Russia matters today but not about either of these things. What message does the President have for the Kremlin and the Russian people about these events? (she said, well first he says congratulations…and upon re-listening I can confirm that she treats the anti-corruption protesters as a fringe group who yeah, sure, should have some rights to be kooks in public, etc — but this WH is aligned firmly with Putin)
  • (Blake Burman, Fox Business News) Sarah, thank you. The President has said in the past that the Russia investigation is an excuse for Democrats losing the 2016 election. But today he appeared to look forward to the 2018 midterms, and tweeted out, “Is this Phony Witch Hunt going to go on even longer so it wrongfully impacts the Mid-Term Elections, which is what the Democrats always intended?” And he ended that with a question mark. Does the President now believe that the Russia investigation actually has to do with the 2018 midterms, as well?
  • Is the President pleased with the appearances of Rudy Giuliani over the last few days?
  • (Francesca Chambers, Mail Online) Thank you, Sarah. On that note, Rudy Giuliani said yesterday that the President could plead the Fifth if he’s subpoenaed by the Special Counsel. And I want to know why the President would even go that route if he hasn’t done anything wrong, as he’s said repeatedly that there was no collusion and there was no obstruction of justice.
  • (Jim Acosta, CNN) In the same vein, does the President believe he is within his executive powers to reject a subpoena from the Special Counsel’s office?
  • And can I follow up on Gina Haspel? (No Jim, you cannot) 
  • (David someone) The President, this time around, on Iran — Mike Pompeo is Secretary of State, and you’ve got John Bolton, the new National Security Advisor — they’ve been amongst the most prominent critics of the Iran deal. I mean, is there any reason to think President Trump won’t kill the deal when Saturday rolls around?
  • (Michael Shear, New York Times) On the EPA, Andrew Wheeler has been now confirmed as the second-in-command at the EPA. Does the President think that he would be able to continue the deregulatory agenda that Mr. Pruitt has been in charge of, were he to remove Mr. Pruitt? And given the sort of cascade of ethical problems, how close is — what’s the status of the review that you guys have been saying you’re doing? And is the President closer to removing Mr. Pruitt from office?
  • (Justin Sink, Bloomberg) I wanted to catch back up with — on China, after the delegation came back. Presuming that the President has had some sort of briefing on that interaction now, can you tell us his reaction to the talks that happened; if the U.S. has plans to talk to China again before the May 22 public comment deadline; and what sort of next steps are there?
  • (Steven Portnoy, CBS News) Sarah, in its front-page story this morning, the Washington Post, among many things, reported that there are persistent rumors that Mrs. Trump does not live in this White House and that she lives with her parents somewhere in the suburbs. What do you make of those rumors?
  • (Peter Alexander, NBC News) Sarah, we’re going to hear from the First Lady in a moment. She’s going to promote, among other things, good behavior among children. Part of this effort has to do with cyber bullying right now. Does the President accept any responsibility for American skepticism that the First Lady from the White House would be speaking out against cyber bullying?
  • Just if you could, the question was about him, not about her. I know that we’ll wait to hear what she says. But does he accept responsibility for this climate that exists right now, that there is the need to sort of address an issue like cyber bullying?
  • Is he not at all to blame?
  • (Ayesha Rascoe, NPR News) Thanks, Sarah. There have been some reports that an Israeli intelligence firm was hired to kind of dig up dirt on former Obama administration officials regarding the Iran nuclear deal. Does the White House have any knowledge of that or the idea that any Trump aides were involved in hiring this intelligence firm?

Sarah answered questions for 12 minutes. She scheduled when the briefing would be, was thirty minutes late for it as the reporters sat there, then acted like a total jerk and like it was the reporters’ fault that scheduling between events was tight, refused to actually give any information, and ran away. So, about like usual.

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