TOWOIT #335: Texas Gaggle

May 31, 2018

Questions asked in the air between Houston and Dallas:

  • What was the President’s reaction to the Russians visiting North Korea?
  • Who exactly is coming tomorrow? Is it just the same people that met with Secretary Pompeo?
  • Will the President be meeting with these officials, or is it a lower-level meeting?
  • And still no idea of what the content of the letter might be?
  • Would the President make the content of the letter public no matter what it says?
  • Do you expect the President to meet with him in the Oval Office for extended talks, or is just a handover of the letter?
  • Can you tell us who the President met with in Houston at the meeting, at the airport hangar, and how it went and how he received them?
  • Can you just give us a sense as to, were these the families of people who were killed, were they first responders? Do you have kind of — even just — even not names, but can you categorize the kind of people he met with?
  • Two of the people the President mentioned for pardons — he’s considering Blagojevich and Martha Stewart — they both have connections to “Celebrity Apprentice.” Is there a reason he’s thinking about them and not some of the other 3,000 people on the list?
  • The people you mentioned, though, were all celebrities. Is that a fair way — in their own right and in different ways. Is that a fair way to view the commonalities?
  • (Inaudible) Ted Cruz was one of the people who did make the President more aware of the D’Souza case. I think there’s been some reports about that, and I think we saw Cruz tweeting about it. I know the President didn’t comment on that. But can you talk any more about —
  • Can you speak to who else may have impacted his thinking on it?
  • How did he see the case? It hasn’t been in the news recently, I don’t believe.
  • You said he saw the case. But like how did get on his radar? It hasn’t been a particularly buzzy issue recently, unless I missed it.
  • What about the case that Kim Kardashian raised yesterday? How serious is he looking at that one?
  • Last week, there were two different meetings for lawmakers to get briefed on materials by that informant who was connected to the Trump campaign. Has the President himself asked for a readout or some sort of briefing of those meetings and what was discussed?
  • Does he agree with Trey Gowdy that basically the FBI did what was right? Or does he have reason to believe that Trey Gowdy is not telling the truth there?
  • One more about Kim Yong Chol. He’s under sanctions in the U.S. He’s been accused of causing the deaths of thousands of South Korean troops, of various other human rights atrocities. Does the President have any misgivings with sitting down with him in the Oval Office? Does that lend him a certain amount of credibility?

MR. GIDLEY:  Again, no one is saying they’re sitting down in the Oval Office yet. The details are still being worked out.  That’s something that I have to defer you to State on.

The next day:

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 6.00.25 PM

To be fair, we don’t know whether they actually sat down in chairs.

TOWOIT #333: Roseaggle Gaggle

 

May 29, 2018.

Press Gaggle with Sarah Sanders on Air Force One en route to Nashville.

Questions asked:

  • Sarah, the President has been a big supporter of Roseanne Barr. What is his and the White House’s reaction to her comments today and to ABC’s decision to cancel her show? (Sanders replies by saying the President is very focused on North Korea. Spoiler alert: She will launch into a reading a defensive rant when asked a similar question in the briefing room the next day)
  • Because he’s been focused on that show before. I mean, he called her after the show did really well. Does he have a reaction to what she said? (I’m just imagining this was Hallie Jackson but I have no way of knowing)
  • Does he think the show should have been cancelled? (Still, focus is on North Korea)
  • You kept saying “upcoming summit,” and I think there’s just — to kind of put a button on it, at this point, is the President’s letter operative? Or is it operative that he expects a summit to occur after the G7 in Singapore?
  • What determines whether or not the summit is back on? What determines whether or not that gets rescheduled?
  • Sarah, can you talk about why the President said the New York Times had made up that senior White House official when that White House official was someone that was in a press office-organized sanctioned briefing? (sometimes I wish they would pose their questions more succinctly)
  • Sarah, when the President visited Puerto Rico, he said it wasn’t a “real catastrophe” because there were only, I think, 16 people who had died in the official government count at the time. There’s a Harvard study today that I think said 4,600 people died as a result of the storm. So I’m wondering if that’s changing the President’s thought about whether this is a real catastrophe or the grade that he gave himself for the U.S. response to — the federal government response to the storm.
  • Sarah, this weekend the President tweeted that the policy of separating children at the border is “horrible.” But that is a policy that was instated by his own administration. Why would he say that?
  • Sarah, is the President concerned about the political turmoil in Italy and the effect that that’s had on the stock market and the markets in general?
  • This weekend, Rudy Giuliani basically admitted that calling Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt” is part of a public opinion effort — an effort to sway public opinion.  Is that what the President is trying to do? Is he trying to discredit this investigation when he says that? (In her response, Sarah Sanders says “Hillary Clinton was terrible.” I had one of those moments where you can’t believe any of this is happening. Just how ungracious and inappropriate and low it is to say that as the White House Press Secretary.)
  • Sarah, if the President doesn’t want these families to be separated, does that mean that he opposes the zero-tolerance policy laid out by the Attorney General earlier this month?
  • Sarah, has the President had any conversations with Kevin McCarthy about a leadership succession in Congress? Let me amend that to say McCarthy or any of his allies or anybody on his staff?
  • The President tweeted this morning that he believes Robert Mueller’s team is going to interfere with the midterm elections. I’m wondering if you can flesh out how he believes the Special Counsel’s work is going to interfere with the midterm elections.
  • Well, a quick one to follow on Jeff. You were talking about the long-term economic situation in Italy. The President obviously was a big supporter of Brexit. Does he believe that Italy should stay in the Eurozone?
  • Does he believe Italy should stay in the Eurozone? (The amazingness of Sanders simply having nothing to say as an answer to this. Like, have to check, sorry, I don’t know)
  • And one more. Students have started to go back to school in Santa Fe, Texas today.  Will the President stop there when he goes to Texas later this week?
  • When will the North Korea decision be made, whether the Singapore summit is going to go ahead? Do you have a deadline for when you have to say yay or nay?
  • Has he had — has the President — sorry — had any direct communications with Kim Jong Un? (She ends by saying “Again, we’re not going to comment on those comments.” Perfect.)