tv CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello CNN January 19, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PST
let me say, i've been very honored to serve as chair of the transition effort. but all that we've accomplished here, credit goes to a great team. our volunteers, literally hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who put in hours and hours to support this effort. our executive committee, our vice chairs, our staff. but really the credit, i can tell you, goes to our president-elect. sometimes people stop me on the street and they say, how you holding up, i can't imagine how busy you are. i tell them, you have to understand the energy and enthusiasm of donald trump is contagious. it's been his energy and his expectation that's driven this transition effort. i'm proud to be at a place where we've named our entire cabinet before we reach that historic day tomorrow. our job was to make sure the president-elect had the opportunity to make decisions, to assemble the people around him that will make america great
again. and i'm humbled to have been a small part of that. our job is to be ready on day one. the american people can be confident that we will be. let me say to all of you, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow. it will be a humbling and moving day for the president-elect, for his family and for me. let me tell you, we are all, we are all ready to go to work. in fact we can't wait to get to work for the american people to make america great again. thank you very much. we'll provide that information for you at the end of the briefing. thanks. >> thank you, mr. vice president-elect. i think he speaks for all of us when we say we are truly excited for tomorrow. there is historic change coming. it is infectious. the entire team is looking forward to this, now that we're 24 hours out of this.
so the president-elect continues to make edits and additions to his inaugural address. we will have further updates for you on that. i know it was asked yesterday, in the speech, it's going to be a very personal and sincere statement about his vision for the country. he will discuss what it means to be an american, the challenges that we face, as members of the middle class, that they face. they'll talking about infrastructure, education, our manufacturing base. i think it's going to be less of an agenda and more of a philosophical document, a vision of where he sees the country, the proper role of government, the role of citizens. so look forward to that tomorrow. with respect to the action on capitol hill that the vice president-elect was mentioning, i think the nominees continue to go up to capitol hill and impress the american people and the united states senate with the caliber and quality of people that the president-elect has chosen. scott pruitt has been called the
best choice for the epa and will help restore it to its mission. wilbur ross will help turn the country around. john thune said his business know-how will make him a great commerce secretary. dr. tom price, someone that americans can finally work with towards a patient-centered health care. today we've got more activity on capitol hill, wrerick perry and steven mnuchin will be on capitol hill testifying. no one understands the intersection of the american economy and the american energy industry than former governor rick perry of texas. he's well-known to the senate and to the american people. there is a great deal of reform coming to washington. and nothing sends the message stronger than nominating a leader like rick perry to take the helm. over a 30-year career in
finance, steven mnuchin has established a reputation of being a dedicated team builder and communicator. these qualities will serve him well as he works with the congress and the administration to hammer out a tax package that will spur economic growth, create jobs, and allow businesses to compete on a global basis. i mentioned yesterday but we'll have further staff announcements today, both on the commission staff, the special assistants, deputy assistants, and assistants to the president. we'll release some of the noncommissinon commissioned support staff as well. we have officially filled the cabinet with the announcement of sonny perdue as the next secretary of agriculture. a few more staff announcements, personnel notes that i want to get through. we will announce today that dab kern will remain at the white house as director of the white house military office. he's been serving in an acting role during the obama
administration. the president-elect intends to make that a permanent position for him. the president-elect understands it's important to ensure the continuity of government. in addition to the appointments we've announced and will announce, the president-elect has asked over 50 individuals to stay in critical posts throughout the government. included in this group are robert work, currently the deputy secretary of defense, chuck rosenberg, the dea administrator, nick rasmussen, director of the national counterterrorism center, tom shannon, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, susan coppage, department of state, brett mcgirk, cody kingsly, assistant secretary of management, department of treasury, adam suvin, the acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence of the department of treasury, are just some of the individuals who will
be staying aboard through the time being until a replacement can be named. here is the rundown for events that are occurring today and tomorrow. please keep in mind that all timing is approximate and continue to check the official schedule. today at 12:30, the president-elect, chief of staff reince priebus, mr. tom barrett, sarah armstrong, the ceo of the presidential inaugural committee, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, white house majority leader kevin mccarthy and cabinet designeeies and white house senior staff will attend a leadership luncheon, that's a pool event. at 3:00 p.m., the president-elect, the vice president-elect somebody else famili and their families will attend a wreath laying ceremony. at 4:00 p.m., they'll attend a make america great rally and concert at the lincoln memorial. tomorrow, a big day for everyone, it's inauguration day. it will begin with the
president-elect, his family, the vice president-elect and his family, cabinet designees, family and friends attending a church service at st. john's church, right across from the white house. at 9:30, the president-elect and his family, the vice president-elect and his family will attend a white house tea at the white house. at 10:30 they'll travel to the capital for the swearing-in. at 11:00, the president-elect, the trump family, the vice president-elect and his family, will attend the swearing in on the west lawn of the u.s. capitol. at 1:00 p.m., the president-elect, the vice president-elect, first lady, melania trump, second lady karen pence, will attend a joint congressional committee luncheon. at 2:30 p.m., they'll attend a military review at the east front. at 3:00 they'll attend of gnawing rinaugural parade in st outside the white house. at 7:00 p.m., president trump,
vice president pence, will attend the liberty and freedom ball. following that they'll attend the military ball at the national building museum. on saturday, at approximately 10:00 a.m., the president, the vice president, and their families will attend the national prayer service, the washington national cathedral. over the weekend, the incoming staff will be locating here at the ptt to help support the transition. on the eve of the natiinaugurat one point that's important, we have beach head team members, the individuals that are being placed into agencies and departments throughout the government. they have been identified to support those things. this is an unprecedented number of individuals that have going to be ready on day one as far back as we can see, i think that's important, as well as the individuals i mentioned to ensure continuity of government and to ensure we're ready on day one to get things happening. we intend to have the first
briefing at the white house on monday in the james brady briefing room. the time will be announced. as a logistical note, i would just say that during this weekend, we intend to -- we've worked with the white house correspondents association to make sure a pool camera is located here. should there be a need for any briefing, this would be the location it would take place, in order to facilitate logistics of getting in and out. i know some of you are interested in getting your passes. we're working with the current white house, they've been very helpful, make sure you e-mail our team, we'll facilitate reporters who don't have hard passes to get in and out of the white house complex. obviously the greater leeway we have in terms of timing is appreciated. with respect to the cabinet before i turn it over, i think there's no question we've noted before the highly quality and caliber of the individuals that the president-elect has selected to lead his government. i think even the senate leadership on the democratic side admitted so much, they talked about going after just a
few of them. and i think what's a shame right now is to see some of those individuals who we would call consensus candidates, people like secretary elaine chao, ben carson, nikki haley, suddenly not be part of senator schumer's list that he will work with us to get done on day one. it's disappointing. these are people that are highly qualified, considered quote unquote consensus candidates a few weeks ago. it speaks volumes that the democratic leadership is not working with us to ensure our continuity of government. this was not the precedent that was set by senate republicans when they worked with the obama administration in 2008 to ensure that president obama, despite political differences, got the cabinet of his choosing when they were qualified individuals. i expect the same standard for our individuals. senator schumer should do the same, recognize that this is more about continuity of government and ensuring that these qualified individuals get voted on as soon as possible so
that we can lead this country forward. with that, i'll be glad to take some of your questions. john roberts. >> reporter: yesterday you promised that you would be able to shed a little more light on the first orders that the incoming president will sign. >> i'm going to have to continue to update you on that. the president-elect is continuing to get briefed on some of the orders that he wants to do and the sequencing thereof. i think we've talked about that for a few months now. obamacare, the fight against isis, he talked about immigration. key issues that have been important to him throughout the campaign that will continue to be important to him in this administration. he is committed to not just day one, but day two, day three, of enacting an agenda of real change. i think that you're going to see that in the days and weeks to come. what he's trying to do is ensure a proper sequencing. staff is continuing to meet with him about that. again, i think you'll see activity on both tomorrow, over the weekend, and then monday, tuesday, wednesday.
so it's going to be a robust not just day one but i think first week, first month, and probably first term. >> reporter: do you have if those orders will simply process -- >> i don't want to go there yet. i think the president-elect is still working through which ones he wants to deal with tomorrow versus monday or tuesday. we'll try to get a readout of those going forward. but it is a work in progress. there's a lot to be done. yes? >> reporter: i would like to know if we are, the white house press corps, will still work at the west wing. >> that's been asked and answered. there's an unprecedented interest in covering this president, the demand and enthusiasm to understand the agenda that he has. what he's going to be doing is frankly unprecedented. we have tried to be accommodating and look at additional room space. as i noted, we'll host the first meeting in the james brady
briefing room. it's going to be a little cramped, i imagine. but that's where we'll hold at least the first couple of briefings for now. i hope that answers. cecilia? >> reporter: can you confirm that the president-elect has plans to go to the cia in the near future and for lack of a better term, to make nice after everything that's happened? >> i would say there's no -- i'm sorry? yeah. so assececilia asked whether or he had plans to go to the cia. i'm sure at some point he will visit not just the cia but a lot of the departments. the president continues to be humbled by the people who serve this nation and the work that they do so many times without proper recognition for the sacrifices they make in terms of time. so many of them could be making more in the private sector but they continue to serve this government. and i think the enthusiasm to serve in government and be part of this administration has gotten greater by the day. there are so many people that had submitted a resume or said i want to go back into public service or join the military because they've been inspired by
the president-elect's message. and so i think not just the cia, but several departments, he's going to visit and make sure that he tells them how much he appreciates their service to our country, their commitment to enacting an agenda of change, and recognize how much they really do for this country. not just the cia but you'll see activity through the first week, month, and year of making that a priority so thank so many people who serve our government, not just federal servants but people who volunteer their time to serve this nation. >> reporter: does there need to be some fence-mending with the intelligence community? >> no. he's been clear in the statement that he put out on friday, he respects the work and diligence of the intelligence community. the men and women who so often serve in the intelligence community without recognition because of the very nature of the work they do is something he has a true understanding of the
sacrifice they make. he has been very, very clear that while he may have differences sometimes with the leadership of the intelligence community, that the work of the individuals, the men and women who tirelessly support the analysis and readings of the intelligence community is something that he will continue to show his support for and his thanks. kristen? >> reporter: your list of cabinet persons doesn't include any hispanics. i know you got a question about this yesterday as well. what do you say to hispanics who are concerned about that and more broadly about the criticism that this undercuts president-elect trump's argument that he's here to serve all americans? >> thank you for the question. when you look at the totality of his administration, the people he's talked to, the people that he's met with, the people that he's appointing, you see a president who is committed to uniting this country. look at the cabinet.
elaine chao, dr. ben carson. i think the number of one thing americans should focus on is is he hiring the best and the brightest, is he hiring people who are committed to enacting real change, respecting taxpayers, bringing about an agenda that will create jobs, lift up wages. and i think that what you're seeing and you're going to continue to see, not just the cabinet but the entire thing, is diversity in gender and diversity in thinking and a ger diversity in ideology. it's not just about skin color and heritage. when you look at the totality of this cabinet, an indian-american, african-american, asian-american, it's about a lot of things. and i think you can start to pick out one group and say, where does the percentage of that, but when you look at the totality of people that he's meeting with, people that he's bringing in for senior staff positions, cabinet, subcabinet, deputy, we'll have 5,000 positions. i think that you can pick out one subset. but if you look at the totality of the diversity that he's bringing in this, i would say
that it's probably something to hold up second to none. >> reporter: some of his comments about latinos, immigration, such an a hot button topic during the campaign. why not make it a priority in terms of -- >> it is a priority. >> reporter: rather than sending that signal. >> it is a priority. it's a very narrow way to look at it and say, if you don't appoint appoint people to this particular position, that's a problem. i just mentioned the level of diversity that's throughout not just the cabinet but his staff and the other appointments that he's going to make. i guarantee you that when we've continued -- as we've continued to announce this, that problem will be something that people look at and respect the level of diversity throughout his entire administration. yes, sir. >> reporter:. [ inaudible question ] >> reporter: do you think as president he should consider reinviting russia to the meeting? >> that's up to them to decide. i'm not going to get ahead of what the italian government does. >> reporter: how many nominees
do you expect to have confirmed in the next few days and what conversations are you having with senator schumer to get the process moving? >> the vice president has been in contact with the senate leadership. senator mcconnell has been working tirelessly to get it going. there's no excuse for the delay tactics and frankly the partisanship being exhibited for the democrats. there's a time and place for it, i get it. again, if you hold them to the standard they were held in '08, you recognize the fact that they are continuing to deploy delay tactic after delay tactic, which isn't good for the government. i cited a poll, over 50% of the american people believe that the national economic and security teams should be confirmed immediately. and the idea that they're delaying that further calls into question their desire to have a government of discontinuity. it sends not just a signal to folks in the united states but frankly around the world that they're questioning the ability of continuity of government. we've taken the proper steps to ensure, as i mentioned earlier, critical positions were filled. we have a plan to ensure that in
every department there is a key individual ready to go. but i think it's disappointing that they have chosen to do this. again, i noted this before. if you look at the questions that are being asked in these confirmation hearings, it's not about substance. it's not about policy. it's not about the issues in front of that department. it's about partisan hacks -- i mean, partisan attacks and ethical questions. these people have had their paperwork in. they're quality and caliber. and their integrity is unquestionable. for the focus not to be on schools, teachers, homeland security, is a problem. there are so many issues facing this country that we need to get moving on. the idea that they would use these stall tactics is not in the country's best interests. [ inaudible question ] senator mcconnell has been working tirelessly to get as many nominees confirmed as
possible so that we're ready to go. as soon as senator schumer and other democrats are willing to work with him. but again, you look at the comments they made. they came out with their so-called hit list. there are individuals, as i mentioned, secretary chao, dr. ben carson, governor nickki ha y haley, that weren't on their political hit list. they're consensus candidates. while every one of them is unbelievably qualified to lead this country in their respective department, the idea that they're expanding this list and slowing down the continuity of government is unacceptable. they owe an explanation on those three individuals at the very least. why are they delaying elaine chao? why are they not moving on dr. ben carson? why are they not moving on governor nikki haley? the other ones, there is no question their qualifications, i would agree they should move all of them, but those individuals weren't even on their political hit list. why are they holding up those three individuals in particular? yes, ma'am. >> reporter: the question on global trade specifically, as you are probably aware, the chinese president lauded the merits of free trade this week. i would ask you two questions about trade.
what is your message to beijing about the role america is going to play in global trade, and secondly, are you willing to work with beijing in places where you have commonalities as well as confront them in places you don't? >> i think the president's message on trade has been fairly clear. he is going to fight for american workers and american manufacturing. and that's going to be the number one thing that guides him going forward. and so he has talked about bilateral deals, making sure. but he's going to make sure every deal he cuts, just like he did in business, puts american workers and american manufacturing, american services, americans first. whether it's china or any other country, that's going to be the priority. but with respect to china alone, it's huge marketplace for american workers and small businesses. you look at the commitment that al alibaba made, talking about access to small businesses. it's important that individuals who of my a craft or a product they're working at home at or maybe it's a small business, have the opportunity to access
those marketplaces that at one point might be too far for them to reach, but through the technology that we have available to us now. and he's going to continue to fight, whether it's the chinese market or other places around the globe for market access. but again, the guiding principle is always going to be the american worker, the american manufacturing. yes. >> reporter: dan housley from whtv, boston. the idea that the president wants to work with people, how long will he keep trying when he's not helped by the other side, before he says i'll just work with the people that got me here? >> that's not going to happen. he wants to unite people who were before him, against him, ack no, s agnostic during the campaign. if people have a good idea, he's
not concerned with what they've said or done in the past if their commitment is about the future. >> reporter: have people been brought into the fold? >> sure. he sat down with the tech industry, 25 tech titans. i think look at some of the individuals he met. i don't think some of the individuals, i'm not going to getting into some of the past statements they may have made, but if you start googling you'll find some folks that may not have been entirely focused on supporting him or supported another candidate. again, i think it's shown through his actions in terms of who he's appointed, who he's met with. this is about moving the country forward. i think he has shown a deep concern for putting america -- getting america back on track. and he is really not concerned with the past. major garrett. >> reporter: sean, can you reconcile the vice president-elect's statement that you're ready on day one with your comments that there are continuity of government issues created by the stall of senate democrats? you can't have it both ways. >> sure you can. absolutely. sure. i think there's a difference. as i've noted, we've appointed
over 50 people in critical conditions to maintain their office until we can find a successor for this administration. so we've looked through the entire government and found areas where there's a critical need to maintain someone. in an area where a department, for example, the secretary won't be available, there is a continuity in government in place to make sure that the highest level person assumes those duties. >> reporter: those are people placed until the secretaries are confirmed. they can't carry out the mandate -- >> there's a difference between enacting an agenda and making sure if there's an issue or concern. continuity of government is if there's an attack or some kind of weather incident that occurs where each of our departments have to be called into action to support the american people and be ready to go. make no mistake, we're ready to go on day one. there's a big difference between being ready to go and enacting -- there are limitations as to what these individuals can do in terms of enacting an agenda.
but in terms of being ready to go to respond to an incident, we're ready to go at 12:01 tomorrow. [ inaudible question ] we'll have to evaluate that. right now our focus was on continuity of government and on a case-by-case basis, we'll work with individuals and the departments. >> reporter: on trade, is the president-elect going to wait until his cabinet is all in place before beginning negotiations with mexico and canada on nafta? or if the ustr and secretary of commerce are not in place, will the president contact those countries' presidents? >> i'm not going to get ahead of him. i will tell you that he is -- part of what he announced in the executive order list around the thanksgiving time included the actions on tpp and nafta that will be done by executive order. i think you'll see those happen very shortly. when and where, in terms of where that cabinet piece falls in, some of it has to do frankly
with senate democrats. i don't think he's going to wait. he's made it clear some of those things are huge priorities for him. >> reporter: i'm just wondering, you said yesterday there would be a couple of visits next week, theresa may, britain is top of the list. >> i was talking about agencies and departments. >> reporter: there are no foreign leaders expected next week? >> nothing is expected next week in terms of foreign leader visits. we'll have an update on that at some point. phil rucker. >> reporter: you talked about some of the agencies and the contingency plan. can you address the national security council in the white house? only a couple of people i believe have been appointed so far. are there going to be more appointments before tomorrow or over the weekend or what are you doing to make sure that's -- >> i'm not sure that that's true. we have a great group of folks that's been in constant contact with the homeland security council and national security council. you have tom bossert on homeland security front. several individuals within the
homeland security council and national security council are being held over in critical positions and they're working with it. there's a lot of individuals who are detailed and are going to be staying on board. the contact and level of support back and forth in the national security council alone has been tremendous. we've had reams of briefings and people that have come over and met with the incoming national security council. that is one area where frankly they have been very, very aggressive and robust with both meeting with their counterparts and ensuring that the team is ready to go day one. >> reporter: ethics experts and former white house lawyers have expressed deep concern over donald trump's plan to separate himself from his business. the og director said that handing over control to his sons is not enough, is wholly inadequate. given that he hasn't released his taxes, given that 74% of americans want him to release his taxes, will he at least give a list of who he is in debt to,
and if not, why not? >> i think that question has been asked and answered a hundred times. katie -- no, i heard the question. i think the president-elect has been made it very clear, he has no conflicts by law. he has gone above and beyond in terms of making sure that he separates himself from his business, hands it over to his kids, then put in place a very, very rigorous plan to ensure that no conflicts of interest occur. he has gone above and beyond what is required of him. he has no conflicts by law. what he has done is extraordinary to ensure that his focus is entirely on helping this country move forward. francesca. francesca. thank you. thank you. francesca. >> reporter: could you give us a little bit more color and information on how the then-president plans to spend his first weekend at the white house and what he plans to do during his first meeting and also clarify that those departmental meetings that were coming up, like the cia, will also be taking place next week? >> as i mentioned to cecilia, i'm not going to get into the schedule at this point in terms
of what he's doing. i read out the schedule so far as to what he's doing. there will be time carved out for executive order signings as he chooses. there's a lot of work that occurs over the weekend in terms meeting with staff recall getting prepared, and then as we get closer to monday, we'll have an update on the schedule in terms of where he might be going or other signings that he'll be conducting. yes, ma'am. >> reporter: i was wondering, there's a lot of rumors going around about the first executive orders. can you clarify whether or not he'll issue an immigration executive order on monday or sometime next week? i know you promised that you would give us more details. i know you've already gone over the ones that deal with logistics and government operations. but there's a lot of concern about what he'll come out with in terms of immigration. >> look, a, as i said earlier, we'll have an update on the schedule. the president-elect is still working with the team to decide how he wants to sequence these things. but i would refer you back to
the video again. he laid out very clearly what his top priorities are going to be. it should be no surprise to anybody that immigration, job creation, manufacturing, tax reform, are all at the top of that list. and so it's just frankly a question of sequencing. but right now he is committed to getting those things done. and we're working on the timing. zeke miller. >> reporter: in terms of the campaign against isil or isis, the ongoing strikes, the u.s. troops on the ground, in training or other capacities, will all of those continue? is the president-elect providing any new orders on that front at 12:01 tomorrow on that front? >> with respect to isis, he's talked about very clearly that he wants a plan from the joint chiefs very quickly to combat isis, how we look at a whole of government approach to that. he's continuing to meet with his national security team about what's in place and what he
needs to do. i'm not going to get in front of what decisions he'll make tomorrow. what we've ensured is that we have a team in place to advise him and make sure the country remains safe and priorities are carried out. shane. >> reporter: last week trump's lawyer talked a lot about separating from business interests. last night and today he scheduled a visit to his hotel to promote the dining room there. how do you square those two things? >> that he's going to his own hotel? i think that's pretty smart. again, i think the idea that he's going to his own hotel shouldn't be a shocker. it's a beautiful place. it's somewhere he's very proud of. i think it's symbolic of the kind of government that he's going to run, on time, under budget -- excuse me, ahead of time, under budget. the same theme that the vice president-elect expressed earlier. his transition, 20% under budget, $1.2 million returned to the treasury. he's very proud. it's stunning hotel.
i encourage you to go there if you haven't been by. but i don't think the idea that president-elect trump is having a reception at the trump hotel should be a shocker to anybody. >> reporter: now that the cabinet nominations are filled, what message do you have for senators on capitol hill when it comes to the speed of confirmations? >> look. i think i've talked about this before, but it's important that we get these individuals up in front. there's no one that's really questioning their qualifications or their caliber or their ability to lead their department, they're understanding and grasp of the issues. these are amazing individuals that have a commitment of enacting a message of change. my message is simply, let's get it done. this is not time for partisan politics. this is time to get the american -- to ensure that the american people have a government in place, that they can get that done. >> reporter: coming from israel, there are plenty of -- the
president moves the american embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. can you confirm that he's decided to do it? >> what i can tell you is stay tuned, there will be further announcement on that. the president has made very clear that israel has not gotten the attention it deserves or the respect in the last eight years. he intends to really show his respect for israel, the importance of it in the middle east, and i think he has continued to talk with his team, both ambassador-designate david friedman, jared kushner, others, rex tillerson, but how we're going to work with israel. i think first and foremost, how to make sure that we continue to support our ally, israel. that is something that is going to be the priority of this administration. yes, ma'am. >> reporter: you said the president was focused on finding the best and the brightest people for his government. but i wonder, can you understand that with 56 million of hispanic
people in the u.s., it's like adding offense to the injury to say that there was none that was bright enough for the president? >> that's not what i said. he has tremendous respect. again, you have to look at the totality of diversity that exists within this cabinet. there are so many ways to express this both in terms of gender and background, race, ideology. he continues to put together an amazingly diverse cabinet. so if you're looking specific at hispanics, as we move forward, we've got 5,000 jobs to fill, there is going to be a tremendous number of hispanic-americans that fill those posts. i caution people to stay tuned, lots of great things are coming. >> reporter: are you guys going to send anybody to the syria talks on monday? >> i'll have an update for you soon. i'll try to read that out to the pool. >> reporter: the numbers that you were talking about earlier, i want to make sure we're not conflating different things. you talked about the 536 people on the beach head teams. what does that mean in terms of
the 4,000 political -- >> that's a great question, thank you for clarifying that. there's 536 individuals on these beach head teams. they're temporary employees that serve as assistants to the secretary-designee's office. those individuals that able to work in the various departments as temporary officials for i think it's up to 120 days. in some cases they stay on. it will be up to the secretary or the administrator of the department or agency to decide whether to maintain them on. maybe they choose to not stay on board. but in any case, that will be a decision that gets made. if they stay, then they are counted as part of that overthing. that's a mutual decision that the incoming secretary, director, would make in consultation with the individual, whether or not they want to stay on board, whether the individual wanted to stay on board. >> reporter: in terms of where you guys are on the 4,000.
>> we're going to break away. sean spicer, incoming white house press secretary, briefing reporters on a whole range of issues. but making an important point from his perspective, jake, that he's blaming the democrats in the senate for delaying what he calls the consensus cabinet selections. they want to get started, obviously, on day one, but only a few of the cabinet nominees are going to be confirmed as of tomorrow afternoon. >> that's right. he was talking about the ones that he called consensus nominees, people like elaine chao who was nominated to be secretary of transportation, and should not have any problems getting confirmed, she served previously in the george w. bush administration as secretary of labor, saying why can't she get a quick appointment, we want to get the government up and running very swift condemnation by sean spicer there about democrats, he said they are being partisan, they are impr e
impugning the integrity. this is the least diverse cabinet in decades, we should point out, of the 23 positions, president-elect trump finally filling it out with his pick for secretary of agriculture yesterday, sonny perdue, 18 of the 23 of these picks will be white men. 18 of the 23. that is the least diverse cabinet we've seen in generations. the first time no latino has been named to a cabinet since 1988, sean spicer's response was that you can't look at these positions here, that the people in the media are cherry picking the cabinet secretaries, that's an interesting formulation, but that you have to look at the totality of the diversity which he says would be second to none, which seems a questionable comment. >> he also said if you look beyond these cabinet level positions, throughout the
administration, it is diverse. that was one of the points he made. >> i don't know how he arrived at that statement. but let's go now to the confirmation hearing of one of these cabinet picks, his pick for secretary of treasury, steven mnuchin. let's listen. >> and i just have an observation, i think that today, mike -- what have you done with my -- here it is. senator wyden, i've got a valium pill here that you might want to take before the second round. just a suggestion, sir. >> just another suggestion. we've got a lot of colleagues waiting. if you could be brief, it would be helpful. >> i'm going to be very brief. mr. mnuchin, from the distinguished ranking member's remarks, i understand you were in charge of the great
recession. >> mr. chairman, mr. chairman, i hope that that comment about valium doesn't set the tone for 2017 in this committee. i like senator roberts. but i can't quite believe that he would say that to a distinguished senator from oregon. >> i said that to the president of the united states at one point. >> perhaps you did. i would hope that doesn't set the tone for the session. mr. chairman, i sit -- >> i have the time. >> the relationship is so different from this. this is just outrageous. >> i have the time. i don't know about outrageous. i think just a little pinprick of humor might help this committee from time to time, which i engage in. and i appreciate the gentleman's contribution with regards to the agriculture committee. and he's a good member of the committee. we work together on the ethics committee. i'm sorry if i have, you know, incurred your wrath, sir.
so we'll be all right. the passthrough things on -- >> mr. chairman, we have many colleagues waiting. >> fine, ron. i'm done. thank you. >> mr. mnuchin, we'll take your statement at this point. >> thank you very much. chairman hatch, ranking member wyden, and members of the committee, it is an honor to appear before you today. i am grateful and humbled by president-elect trump nominating me to serve as secretary of the treasury. it is truly an honor and a privilege to be considered for this position. thank you to all the members i have already had an opportunity to meet with during this process. i enjoyed meeting with you and learning more about the issues that are important to you. for those few members that i didn't get a chance to meet with, if confirmed i look forward to meeting with you as well. i would like to thank chairman
hatch and his staff for working with me to support me through this process. i would like to introduce my fiance louise linton and my children, emma, j.t., and dillon who are with me today, and thank them for their unwaiver support. i would like to introduce my brother, alan mnuchin and his wife alessandra and my father robert mnuchin who has always supported me and taught me that hard work, determination, and the ability to bring people together can make anything possible. i would like to acknowledge my late mother elaine turner cooper, who was an inspiration to me. i would also like to acknowledge my grandparents, emanuel and matilda turner, who were also a tremendous influence in my life. my grandfather was a first generation american whose father
emigrated from europe. he truly embodied the american dream. he started out blowing glass bottles by hand and later built midland glass into one of the largest glass manufacturing companies in the united states with five factories employing thousands of workers. my first job ever was in his factory when i was in high school. it was there that i first learned the importance of humility, hard work, and commitment. for those of you who don't know my background, i studied economics at yale university. at the age of 22, after graduating from yale, i got a job at goldman sachs where i spent the next 17 years. i started on a folding chair in the mortgage department. nine years later, after many sleepless nights, i was put in charge of mortgages, u.s. government bonds, municipal securities. several years after that, i
worked directly for future secretary of the treasury hang paulsen as the firm's chief information officer. in that role, i oversaw 5,000 people and a $1 billion budget. while at goldman sachs, i learned the importance of the financial markets in providing liquidity and capital to business, governments, and consumers. a few years later, i decided to leave goldman sachs to build an investment business. after working briefly at esl investments, i started my own investment business, dune capital management. throughout my career, my commitment was to my clients and shareholders for whom i worked tirelessly to get the best results. 30 years later, my commitment is now to the american people for whom i will work tirelessly by working to grow our economy and create jobs. i'm eager to share with you why
i believe i will serve well as america's next secretary of the treasury. but first, i want to correct the record about my involvement with indy mac bank. since i was first nominated to serve as treasury secretary, i have been maligned as taking advantage of others' hardship in order to earn a buck. nothing could be further than the truth. during the summer of 2008, i saw the devastation that was caused by the housing crisis, when i watched people line up to get their life savings out of indy mac bank. it was the middle of the financial crisis and despite the global panic, i saw a way to save the bank. i applied for a banking charter and submitted a bid to the fdic for indy mac. on december 31st, just before midnight, we signed a binding
agreement with the fdic. they later confirmed that our bid was almost $1 billion higher than the next best bid. we were willing to invest $1.6 billion into the most costly bank failure ever to the fdic deposit fund. we did this because we believed in our ability to rebuild and create a successful regional bank. we believed in the recovery for the american economy. let me be clear. my group had nothing to do with the creation of the risky loans in the indy mac loan portfolios. when we bought the bank, we assumed these bad loans, which had been originated by previous management. some of those individuals had to answer to federal authorities for their bad lending decisions. we invested $1.6 billion into a failing financial institution when most investors were running
for the hills. we renamed the business one west bank and saved thousands of jobs. we developed a prospering community banking franchise in southern california as most banks were pulling back. over the next two years, we bought two more struggling banks from the fdic, first fed of santa monica and la jolla bank, both through competitive bidding. combined, we had almost 70 branches and built a robust rendering business, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. as chairman of the bank, i met with hundreds of business people from all walks of life who were seeking loans to grow their business and prosper. like many banks at the time, indy mac and its reverse mortgage division, financial freedom, was unstable due to the large amount of distressed credit mortgages in its portfolios. we bought indy mac.
these legacy loans were included in the purchase. the responsibility landed on me to clean up the mess others made but we inherited. we worked very hard to help homeowners remain in their homes through modifications wherever possible. ultimately, one west extended over 100,000 loan modifications to delinquent borrowers to try to help them out of a bad situation. i am proud of the fact that loan modifications started at indy mac under the leadership of the fdic. however, the fdic loan modification program did not work for everyone. when the fdic took over indy mac, they estimated that more than half the foreclosures wouldn't meet their test for a loan modification and they demanded that we extend assistance to sympathetic
borrowers by establish iing reasonable payments to borrowers, and stabilize housing markets. my group had to adhere to servicing agreements that limited our ability to make loan modifications that could have helped more borrowers. in the press, it has been said that i ran a foreclosure machine. this is not an accurate description of my role at one west bank. on the contrary, i was committed to loan modifications intended to stop foreclosures. i ran a loan modification machine. when we could do loan modifications, we did them. but many times the fdic, fannie m mae, freddie mac, and bank trustees imposed strict rules governing the process of these loans. i am proud to be able to say that our bank was able to do over 100,000 loan modifications that allowed people the
opportunity to stay in their homes. unfortunately, not all the homes were able to be saved through these programs and despite my best efforts, some were sadly subject to foreclosure. so sincere was my concern over this, that in 2010 i instructed my lawyers to sue hsbc as trustee of the securitized loans to allow us to do loan modifications on loans and mortgage trusts that they oversaw. we won on summary judgment and were consequently allowed to do more loan modifications and keep more americans in their homes. similarly, in 2015, when hud issued a mortgagee letter 2015-2015 2015-11, i wrote hud and asked them to change the policy so we didn't have to foreclosure on senior citizens that were behind small amounts of money on taxes
and insurance. i was so troubled by this that i discussed it with our primary regulator, the office of the controller of the currency. unfortunately hud did not agree and we were forced to foreclosure on senior citizens even if they only owed one dollar. not complying with these hud policies would have subjected the bank to penalties and losses from hud. despite our inability to save every home from foreclosure, i am proud of the fact that one west bank was the only one of 14 banks that was able to complete the independent foreclosure review that was conducted by the occ. every one of the 175,000 borrowers that were in the foreclosure process during 2009 and 2010 were able to have an independent review of their loan. we had a very low error rate,
and independent government reviews routinely showed that we had the most effective loan modifications of any bank. if we had not bought indy mac bank, the bank likely would have been broken up and sold in pieces to private investors, where the outcome from consumers could have been much more bleak. overall, i helped many homeowners stay in their homes and escape financial ruin through my management of one west bank. my experience confirmed that we must identify and eliminate unwise and burdensome policies which contributed to the disastrous outcomes that came in the wake of the financial collapse. many americans are still suffering from the disastrous ripple effects the 2008 crisis had on our nation. faithfully ensuring this does not happen again means supporting careful oversight of
a financial system which prioritizes the needs of everyday americans over the wishes of financial institutions or the federal government. i felt great empathy for the millions of hard working american families who lost their homes because the system failed them. if confirmed as treasury secretary, i will work diligently and compassionately for the american people so that we never see anything like the meltdown of 2008 ever again. i was deeply honored when donald trump asked me to join his campaign as finance chairman. i had the opportunity to travel with him and hear firsthand from hard working americans about their concerns for the american economy. over the last year, i visited over 50 cities in 26 states. i remember attending my first
rally with him in indianapolis. it was an unforgettable experience. as we arrived into the stadium packed with 20,000 people, i saw the excitement that people had for a trump presidency. on our trip to flint, michigan, i went with the president-elect to visit the water treatment facilities and saw firsthand the crumbling pipes and the devastation caused by that lead-tainted water. we met with water engineers and saw the impact it had on that community and the families that lived there. across the country on my travels with the president-elect, we heard the pained and heartbreaking stories of americans who had lost their jobs to workers in foreign countries. we heard the concerns of people and small business burdened by high taxes, just trying to make ends meet. in my meetings with you over the last month, you have shared the concerns of your constituents,
like farmers who worry about the death tax wiping out the family farms or workers who are nervous whether their retirement accounts will be safe from ruin. one of the greatest reasons i was drawn to president-elect trump's campaign was it was predicated on a commitment to stimulating prosperity for americans of all backgrounds, whether they live in the inner city of detroit, rural north carolina, the coal country of ohio, or west virginia, or nip in between. i share the president-elect's goal of economically empowering every citizen. we will not rest in our mission until that is a reality. among the president-elect's signature issues in this campaign was reviving trade policies that put the american worker first. i will enforce trade policies that keep our currency strong on the world exchanges and create and protect american jobs.
we will also make america the best place for companies to do business. sensible regulation is a necessity for healthy markets. however, i saw firsthand how regulatory excess can inhibit lending by financial institutions, resulting in a lack of access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs. alexander hamilton remarked that wealth of a nation may be promoted by, quote, multiplying the objects of enterprise. hamilton knew the unique value of entrepreneurial activity to a thriving economy. from our nation's earliest days, american business has been the greatest repository of ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit in the world. we need to unleash that power to generate jobs and create abundance for americans of all backgrounds. we will work diligently to limit regulations, lower taxes on
hardworking americans and small business, and get the engine of economic growth firing on all cylinders again. in this age of unprecedented online attacks, we must also be vigilant about cyber security. if confirmed as secretary of the treasury, i will use my expertise in technology to protect americans' information at the irs and keep our financial architecture safe from malicious attacks. i will use the treasury department's office of terrorism and financial intelligence to stop the financing the terrorism. i will partner with other government agencies in our shared goal of allowing our financial markets to operate free from digital and physical threats. if i am confirmed as treasury secretary, i promise i will work hard with this committee, all members of congress, and the administration to put forth
policies that will help american families reach and maintain prosperity. we will make america great again. thank you and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, mr. mnuchin. we appreciate your comments. i have some obligatory questions i ask all nominees, we do on this committee. first, is there anything you are aware of in your background that might present a conflict of interest and the duties of the office to which you have been nominated? >> i have not. i have worked with the ethics office and signed an agreement with them to dispose of investments that might create ethical conflicts. >> do you know of anything that would prevent you from fully and honorably discharging the responsibilities of the office to which you expect to be nominated? >> i do not. >> do you agree without reservation to respond to any reasonable summons to appear and testify before any duly
constituted committee of the congress if you are confirmed? >> absolutely. i look forward to it. >> finally, do you commit to provide a prompt response in writing to any questions addressed to you by any senator of this committee? >> i provided over 5,000 pages to the staff. i think i have the record of that. so i commit, if there's any additional questions, i will respond to them promptly. >> all right. i have to go outside here for a minute. so instead of my starting the question period, i'll turn to the ranking member, my partner in this matter, and then i'll ask questions when i come back. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. mnuchin, medicare finance is about taxes. and it would be your responsibility if confirmed, with the attempt to repeal the affordable care act, medicare solvency is threatened. what steps are needed in your view to strengthen this program
that every senior in america relies on? >> first of all, senator, thank you very much. i very much appreciated the opportunity for us to meet yesterday and especially the opportunity to talk about tax reform with you, which i think is very important. i completely agree with you that medicare is very important and a very important program, and the safety of that is an important issue. and if confirmed, that is something that i look forward to working with your staff on and to make sure that we have the appropriate policies. >> now, if you're confirmed, mr. mnuchin, you would be the managed trustee for medicare. now, wouldn't you like to offer something by way of discussion about what you would be doing if confirmed? this is an important part of the job. >> senator, i acknowledge that it's a very important part of the job.
and there's many parts of this job that i consider myself an expert on and understand, and certain parts of this job that if confirmed, i will work diligently with this committee and others. and there is obviously a significant staff. this is a very important issue. as i've said, i'm committed to be very responsible in my position there and make sure that i properly provide the support from the treasury department. and i would take my responsibility very seriously. >> i will just tell you that without any specifics on a matter that is so important, that you would have direct responsibility over, i find it very troubling that you won't discuss medicare. let's go to terrorism financing. the country is fighting isis and other terrorist groups. the treasury department plays a key role in fighting this battle. what would be your ideas on additional actions for strengthening how the d