TOWOIT #348

July 23, 2018.

Today the briefing started 41 minutes late and was 15 minutes long.

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Here are the questions the reporters asked Sarah Sanders:

  • (Kevin Corke, Fox News) Sarah, thanks. Is the President considering the Republican House Intel request to declassify key sections of the records with respect to that FISA document release? And will he do that declassification before the House goes into recess at the end of the week?
  • (Steve Holland, Reuters) Sarah, we saw the President’s tweet on Iran last night.  What prompted him to use such strong language on them?
Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 4.34.22 PM
in case you missed this doozy — sorry, just seemed like you should see the full effect of all those caps !
  • What would it take to have direct negotiations between the President and President Rouhani? (This is a follow-up from Steve. Sarah Sanders seems perfectly content to burn up time talking about Iran)
  • MS. SANDERS:  I’m not going to get into specifics, and certainly not negotiate with the press.  That would be a determination that the President would make on what that looks like.
  • (Phil Rucker, Washington Post) Sarah, the President tweeted yesterday that Russia’s election interference was “all a big hoax.”  Those are the words he used. But last week, he said he had “full faith” in the U.S. intelligence agencies. So does he believe the interference was a big hoax, or does he have faith in the intelligence agencies that have concluded definitively the other way — that Russia did, in fact, interfere?
  • But is (inaudible) calling it — the tweet suggested overall that it was a hoax, though.
  • (Jonathan Lemire, AP) Thank you, Sarah. Sort of following up on that question, the President has very forcefully spoken out against Iran. He’s very forcefully spoken out against North Korea. He has said that he will forcibly speak out against any threat to the United States. Russian election interference is a threat to our democracy.  Why will he not forcefully denounce that?
  • (John Gizzi, Newsmax) Thank you, Sarah. Senator Rand Paul today made a strong attempt to vitiate the credibility of former CIA Director John Brennan, saying that he’s — and I quote — “monetizing his security clearance” and that it should be removed from him. He even called on the President to do this. Will the President consider Senator Paul’s suggestion and call for the removal of former Director Brennan’s security clearance?
  • (Weijia Jiang, CBS News) I have a follow-up question to Steve first. When the President pulled out of the JCPOA, he did not reveal an alternate plan to address Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He seemed to bank on economic sanctions being enough to get them back to the table. Is that still his plan B?
  • And I have a question about Russia, Sarah. Sarah, my question was a follow-up. But my question about Russia is that, you know, President Trump continues to air his grievances about the coverage of his meeting with Vladimir Putin —

MS. SANDERS:  Because you guys continue to obsessively cover it.

  • But we CAN’T really, because it’s been seven days and we have not received a readout, we have not received any specific details about agreements that were reached, whether formally or verbally. So when can we expect that? And, by the way, did he take notes —
  • (Vivian Salama, WSJ) Sarah, so does President Trump plan on ordering to move any carriers or additional military resources to the region, should Iran continue to pose the threat that he alluded to in his tweet? And I also have a follow-up.

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 8.45.07 PM

  • Just to follow up, then — Secretary of State Pompeo yesterday talked a lot about corruption and human rights abuses in Iran. Why is he zeroing in — why is the administration zeroing in on Iran when a number of other states are guilty of the same transgressions, including Russia, which we are now warming up to?
  • (Saagar Enjeti, Daily Caller, can never figure out this guy’s angle) Thanks, Sarah. Could you explain a little bit of the threshold that the President has for taking away a former official’s security clearance? Is it his position then that any former Obama administration official who holds clearance and does make political statements about him should have their clearance revoked?  Or is it just limited to the names right now that you read?
  • (Jon Decker, Fox News Radio) Thanks a lot, Sarah. The language the President used in the tweet that he sent out last night was very similar to the language he used last August in New Jersey, when he spoke of fire and fury being rained down on North Korea. And, of course, that led to a one-on-one meeting the President ultimately had with Kim Jong Un. Is the President open to diplomacy with Iran, meeting perhaps one-on-one with President Rouhani? (Lord this is a disingenuous question)
  • Can I ask you about your statement regarding Judge Kavanaugh, I think you made at the very top?  There is one Republican senator who says he’s undecided. Well, there’s a few that say they’re undecided. But Rand Paul, in particular, says, “I’m honestly undecided. I am very concerned about his position on privacy and the Fourth Amendment.” Are you concerned about losing Rand Paul once this vote for Judge Kavanaugh ultimately gets to the floor of the Senate?
  • (Stephen Herman, Voice of America) Yes, Sarah. Flipping around Jon’s question about Iran, considering the comments that we’ve heard in the past day from the President’s tweet, Ambassador Bolton’s statement, which you put out, and Secretary Pompeo’s speech last night, what is stopping this administration from just openly advocating regime change in Iran?
  • (Stephen Portnoy, CBS Radio News) Sarah, regarding one of the stories that broke on Friday, how did the President feel when he found out that his longtime lawyer and fixer had reported him surreptitiously?
  • Does the President still deny that he ever had a relationship with a woman named Karen Mcdougall? (Sarah keeps saying, now, that the President MAINTAINS that he’s done nothing wrong, and not that he HASN’T done anything wrong)
  • Sarah, I just wanted to follow up first on this statement you made about Brennan and his security clearance. Are you considering any additional actions against Brennan and the other names you read off?  In addition to revoking their security clearance, is there any other action under review?
  • And then, to go back real quick to the Russia investigation — so the FISA application on Carter Page states that he is a Russian agent involved in clandestine activities. Given that the President continues to say there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia, is he concerned or does he not believe the intelligence community’s assessment that Carter Page was a Russian agent?
  • The President is threatening to punish Brennan and Comey and Clapper for saying things about him that he doesn’t like. Is that presidential?
  • Their free speech, he doesn’t like. And he wants to punish them for it.
  • (Hallie Jackson, NBC News) Sarah, I want to follow up and ask a separate question after. But to follow up on that, isn’t the President doing exactly what you just said the President doesn’t want all these people doing: politicizing matters of national security by going after his political enemies?
  • The other topic, Sarah, was actually on the message to Paul —
  • That’s okay. Just the second question —
  •   — was on the President’s message to Paul Manafort. Does he have one?
  • The President’s message to Paul Manafort, Sarah? Just does he have one?
  • (Kaitlan Collins, CNN) When is the President going to make this decision on those security clearances?
  • Okay, so my other —
  • My question — that was just a follow-up on that. My question: Has the President — since you didn’t answer if he’s briefed — since they haven’t briefed reporters on what went down during the two-hour meeting between President Trump —
  • So my question is not about the press, but has the President briefed his national security advisor, his Secretary of State, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Defense Secretary on what exactly was said between him and President Putin?
  • But when he briefs them, is he relying solely on his own memory to tell them what happened during that two-hour meeting?
  • But it’s on what he remembers that happened? It’s not any notes he took or —

MS. SANDERS:  Kaitlan, I’m not going to go into the specific details on how the President interacts every single time with his national security team, but —

  • Well, this is a rare one, though. It’s a sit-down with the Russian President for two hours, one on one. (Sanders says no, it’s normal)
  • But not the President of Russia, who attacked the American election.
  • (David) What about President Obama and Vice President Biden, and their security clearances? Are they on the list as well?

Ok, that’s the best I can do for now. I’m having a little trouble with heat and sleep-deprivation. XOXO.

2 thoughts on “TOWOIT #348

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