call now, request your free decision guide and start gathering the information you need to help you keep rolling with confidence. go long™. ♪ we are following several breaking news stories out of washington wusht. we're only moments away from the white house press briefing. the press secretary sean spicer will liable be asked lots of questions about the president's decision also breaking this hour, democrats are now boycotting committee votes on some of president trump's cabinet nominees. health and human services secretary nominee tom price and
treasury secretary nominee steve manuchin. just a little while ago we heard this from democraticleahy who a travel ban controversy. >> i've been here with president ford, president carter, president reagan, president clinton, president bush, both president bushes, president obama. never ever seen anything like that. in fact, the administration's unpredictability reckless, extreme agenda casts a shadow over all of the presidential nominees, and that includes senator sessions. >> senator leahy was in the judiciary committee for the vote on the attorney general nominee, jeff sessions. the committee, by the way, expected to vote on sessions any moment now. we'll update you on that vote.
meanwhile, the nomination of betsy devoss as education secretary is headed for the full senate. she passed the health education labor and pensions committee by a 12-11 vote along strict party lines. that vote came just as reports surfaced that devoss may have plagiarized parts of answers in the committee questionnaire. last hour we heard directly from the homeland security secretary john kelly who said the controversial executive order on travel was not a surprise. >> i knew he was going to sign an order about a year and a half, two years before he became the president-elect. people on my staff were generally involved. i guess probably wednesday i think we learned -- tuesday, wednesday that there would probably be during the week that it would be signed out. i did not look at it from a perspective of as i say, correcting the grammar or saying, you know, we need to change these words or do this thing. people that know the immigration process infinitely better than i
do right now were people -- that includes people around the inner agency that were the ones that did the staff work and ultimately the president signed it. >> i remember tonight president trump will name his nominee to the united states supreme court. his choice to fill the seat of the late justice antonin scalia who passed away a year ago. the two finalists neil gorsuch and hardiman. they're both headed to washington d.c. today 8:00 p.m. eastern. we'll have live coverage on cnn. joining us now from capitol hill, our chief congressional correspondent manu raju. from the white house briefing room and jim accosta. jim, yesterday the white house press secretary sean spicer, he chided democrats for moving too slowly on the president's cabinet nominees. how much will that dominate the upcoming discussion?
snoo donald trump's education policy point person on the white house domestic policy council, and this is in response to these allegations of plagiarism facing betsy devoss. "this is character assassination. the secretary designate has been referencing the need for safe and supportive learning environments, free of discrimination nor tall students so they can learn, thrive, grow, and lead successful productive lives." wolf, since we're getting that statement here in just the last few minutes, i think it's pretty safe to say you're going to hear sean spicer echo those sentiments from the podium. there's a lot going on from the firing of the acting attorney general last night, sally yates, to what appears to be an episode
of scotus apprentice taking place here in washington with those two finalists that you mentioned, wolf, on their way to washington. >> i know -- have they confirmed over at the white house our reporting that both of the two finalists are either already in washington or on their way to washington? we don't know who is going to be the final selection. >> they have not, but our sources are telling us that these two finalists are certainly very much in the mix, very heavy favorites for this selection that we're going to hear from donald trump later on this evening, but no word yet from the who is confirming these two contenders are other this way to washington as we speak, wolf. >> stand by for a moment. manu, i want to go to you up on the hill. democrats, they seem to be uniting. what's the reaction there to the decision to actually boycott votes involving tom price and steve manuchin? >> yeah, that's right, wolf. it was actually just a few hours
ago the democrats not attending the senate finance committee vote where actually one democrat is required for this vote to actually take place, so in a rather extraordinary and very unusual move, boycotting this vote altogether, that is something that just is not really done particularly on such a huge issue. like a cabinet nominee. now, the question for the republicans is how to deal with this going forward. it's something that they have not figured out yet, but they may not be able to have a full floor vote in the senate if the committee does not act, and that means the onus might be on donald trump to recess appoint these two cabinet nominees. i had a chance to catch up with orrin hatch, who is the chairman of the senate finance committee, and i asked him specifically how do you -- what's your response to the democrats' boycotting this? he was not happen. take a listen. >> hopefully they'll get their head screwed on right and come to a mark-up. i am very disappoint thad they
treated the committee that way and me personally that way. at least call me and say they can't do it. you know? even that would be -- call me and say they have to feel ashamed. >> you called them -- >> especially this kind of crap. >> you called them idiots in there. >> they are idiots. anybody that would do something like that, it's just complete breach of decorum. it's a complete breach of committee rules. it's a complete breach of just getting along around here. we know we have differences, and we should be willing to meet over those differences. you know, especially on a mark-up that they had plenty of notice on, and i was led to believe would be four, and then they would delay the vote on the floor probably, but still, it's going to happen one way or the other. >> pretty strong words from the senate finance chairman. the question is how do democrats respond? they haven't said whether they participate in any of those
hearings or participate in the vote. i should say they want more information from tom price and steve manuchin. they believe they were not forth right with this committee. they believe they misled the committee on some key issues. even one democratic senator saying they lied to the senate finance committee, so we'll see how the republicans respond, but as i said, wolf, the last resort could be a recess appointment, something that is rather unusual and could limit how long they stay in office until the senate acts and confirm them to the post. tensions really flaring at this point, wolf. >> manu sfs raju, thank you. >> that's coming up momentarily. in the meantime, i want to bring in senator jeff americaly, a democrat from oregon. senator, thanks so much for joining us. >> you're welcome. great to be with you, wolf. >> you just heard your colleague, senator orrin hatch. he has been in the senate for a long time. he called out democrats for actually boycotting these votes. one democrat in these committees
in order to get a vote. do you support this extraordinary boycott? >> well, yes, i do. the committee leadership has a responsibility to make sure all the questions that the senators are asking on the committee are fully answered. in both these cases both the disclosurure king steve manuchin -- >> hold on, senator. sean spicer is about to begin this briefing right now. i want to listen in. we'll get back to you soon. >> i know you're all looking forward to what promises to be a historic night for the nation and for this president. the president is very excited toic ma his announcement of the next associate justice of the supreme court later this evening. according to some polls and you know we love polls around here. for 70% of the voters president's choice for supreme court it was an important factor of their choice for the ballot box in november. for more than one in five it was the most important factor. tonight he will formally present his nominee, to the american
people, and i can assure you that this individual will make those voters and every american very, very proud. this particular choice is one that the president takes very seriously. he knows we'll impact the juris prudence for generations to come. as such, he has taken careful steps to insure that this process has both been transparent and inclusive. he has been speaking about the list of individuals that he may nominate since may of this year, and after consulting with several influential groups, rebleesd e leased a definitive list of 21 in september, pledging that his nominee will solely come from that list. he sought the advice and consent of both republicans and democrats. senators throughout this process. the president recognizes the gravity of his choice to fill the seat left by justice scalia. one of the most steadfast protectors of our liberty and devotees of our constitution that ever graced the bench. whom ever the president selects will be a worthy successor to the brilliant legal mind and
constitutional dedication of justice scalia. it's our intention to start promptly tonight in the east room at 8:02 p.m. preset will begin at 6:30. the east room will be available for live shots approximately 20 minutes following the announcements, and both the briefing room and pebble beach outside have extended hours tonight to accommodate any additional journalistic needs. we'll have further guidance on tonight's plans as the day evolv evolves. moving to the news of the day, i know that secretary kelly along side other dhs officials just recently concluded a briefing. on the operational implementation of the president's executive order. i think it's pretty clear from the secretary's press conference that this executive order was enacted with the proper preparation and coordination between the white house and dhs. that implementation will continue and proceed as planned. we also have a few updates on the leadership of some of the most critical government agencies. last night, as you know, the president relieved sally united states -- yates of her duties
and named -- as the u.s. for the reason attorney for the eastern district of virginia until democratic senators finally quit their obstruction and confirm the unquestionably qualified senator jeff sessions as our next attorney general. ms. yates failed to enforce a legal order approved by the department of justice's office of legal counsel in design to protect the citizens of the united states. calling for tough vetting from individuals travellers from seven nations is not extreme. it is reasonable and necessary to protect our country. the president signed an affidavit last night of nomination for mr. vuente as one of his first official actions as his new post as acting attorney general he signed a memorandum rescinding sally yates' guidance regarding the president ace executive order to insure its full implementation. last night the president also announced the appointment of thomas homan as acting assistant
secretary of homeland security and director offer of ice. he has a long career at ice. most recently serving as the executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations. having a professional in place like this to serve as the acting director is critical to insuring the efficient administration of the president's agenda. one other update from a story yesterday, i hope you all saw the statement that was put out from the joint chiefs of staff where chairman dunford noted -- discussed the reorganization of the national security council, and he made it clear that he would continue to fully participate in the inner agency process and provide the best possible military advice to the president and members of the nsc. i really hope that that statement closes the book on the misleading narrative and this should hopefully be the final time we have to address what was in the national security directive. the family of the president also has -- the president also had a very somber and lengthy conversation with the family of chief petty officer william ryan
owens. his wife, his father, and their three children. chief owens was on his 12th deployment from what i understand. we could never repay the debt of gratitude we owe him. the freedom that he fought for and the sacrifice that he made as well as the other members of his unit who were injured in this operation. today in the senate two of the president's nominees advanced out of the committee. the energy and natural resources committee approved the nominations of both congressman ryan zinke as the next interior secretary and the nomination of former texas governor rick perry as the next secretary of energy. elaine chow also grafrlly received the approval of the full senate to approve the next secretary of transportation. i expect further guidance on her official swearing in to come very soon. the senate democrats have done everything in their power to slow the work of the senate. the president continues to take
decisive action. it's unfortunate the senate democrats remain so out of touch with the message that the american people sent this past november. the people want change. president trump is delivering that change. the only response from senate democrats so far is to try to stall the core functions of our government. i know that i have repeated in every day, but honestly it's getting a bit ridiculous. the idea that these highly qualified fom knees ahave the votes for their nomination to be endorsed out of committee and get a full boat e vote are being stalled because democrats are boycotting the committee vote is outrageous. the mere idea that they're not even showing up to hearings is truly outrageous. i would like to give a special shout-out to the folks at c-span for making sure that all of these embarrassing actions by senate democrats get the wall to wall coverage that they deserve. voters are going to remember what senators stood in the way of when president trump -- while president trump is trying to install his agencies and department heads the next time their name is on the ballot. the numbers don't lie.
16 of president trump's nominees to head major department and agencies are still waiting to be confirmed. at the same time in 2009 president obama only had seven of these people waiting confirmation. in 2001 president bush had all but two. moving on, here at the white house this morning we reiterated the president's intention to continue to enforce the executive order protecting employees from the anti-lgbtq discrimination while working for the federal government or contractors. also this morning the president had a breakfast and listening session with major pharmaceutical company executives in the roosevelt room. merck, johnson & johnson, selene, eli lily, and the pharma trade groups were at the meeting. chairman greg waldon, also participated. during the meeting the president commended their progress in lowering drug prices, and also reiterated his insist ens there's more work to be done. he promised to continue reducing the burdensome regulations that raise the cost of doing business
in america. he was pleased to hear that the chairman have amgen, robert brayway discussed how 1600 american jobs will be added by amgen. this administration will continue to prioritize jobs and make it easier for businesses around this country to hire more americans. the president had lunch with mayor giuliani a short time ago who serves ats ceo of a -- mayor giuliani was asked to initiate this process because of his long and very successful government career in law enforcement and his 15 years in private sector security providing solutions for the challenges that we face in the cyber world. during the transition, the president announced that he intended to host a series of meetings with senior corporate executives from companies that are facing challenges such as hacking, intrusions, disruptions, manipulations, theft of data, identity, and securing information from technological infrastructures. these are the same challenges facing the government that are
facing public entities and businesses and the president believes that solutions to these issues will often come from the private sector. following the lunch with mayor giuliani the president will host a listening session with these cyber security experts and mayor giuliani. no consensus or advice on the recommendations resulting from the group are widely expected, but we do expect a spirited wide-ranging discussion regarding the growing cyber security threats that our nation is facing. later this afternoon the president will sign an executive order or potentially sign one that the federal government cyber security efforts and give leaders the tools they need to keep the country safe from cyber attacks. the order does three main things. it secures the federal networks we operate on behalf of the american people. it will work with industry to protect critical infrastructure and maintain our way of life, and it will advance the cause of internet freedom. more information will be available later this afternoon, but the executive order is the first step in the president taking the address of new security challenges in the 21st
century. the vice president today participated in the republican policy lunch in the senate. he will hold several meetings with members on capitol hill. he will be getting extensive outreach by our legislative affairs team on the president's supreme court choice. tonight the vice president will swear in elaine chow. we'll have further updates we expect at 5:00 in the ceremonial office across the way in the old executive office building. secretary chow is one of the most successful cabinet officials in american history. having been the longest tenured labor secretary since world war ii, and serves as the deputy secretary of transportation under george h.w. bush's administration. she's the perfect choice to lead the department of transportation into what promises to be a significant period of modernization and improvement. as i already mentioned, the last thing on the schedule for tonight is the president's announcement of the soesht justice for the supreme court. tomorrow is the kickoff for black history month, and the white house is excited to host a series of events this month in recognition of it. in particular, the u.s. post office will hold a ceremony
tomorrow celebrating the official issuance of the dorothy height forestaver stamp. she led the negro women for four decades and is a pioneer in the civil rights movement. finally, a couple of administrative notes. on friday the president will depart from the -- from this white house to the winter white house where he will spend the weekend and be holding meetings. further guidance on both trips will be coming out throughout the week. i'm excited to announce that following up on our announcement of expanding the press briefing room to skype seats will officially be launching the briefing room tomorrow. the inaugural panelist will be natalie from fox 8 in cleveland, ohio. lars larson of the lars larson show, jeff joby from joby publishing, and kimberly from wpri in it rhode island. not sure how she snuck in there. i look forward to virtually welcoming them to the briefing room, and with that some questions. john roberts.
>> the removal last night of ms. yates from her position has raised questions as to how this president will deal with dissent in the ranks currently and in the future. did he see what she said yesterday as a difference of opinion, an act of insubordination? how will he act on similar things in the future? >> there's a big difference, john, between listening, sharing ideas, and executing lawful orders. it is the right of every american to express their idea and opinion and, frankly, that's what you're going to see the president do today. we're talking about leaving -- to get their opinions and ideas on how to protect their critical infrastructures. when she's the acting attorney general, she's not only responsible, but required to execute lawful orders and defiantly says no as someone who is chozen to lead a department. she was rightfully removed.
that is a position of leadership that is given to somebody who is supposed to execute orders there are handed down to them properly of which that executive order was 100% done. the department of justice office of legal compliance. the idea that it went through the entire process of which they were part of and then she chooses not to execute it actually is bewilledering as well as defiant. >> mr. president, sir, can you follow-up? is the president laying down a marker now to all of his cabinet secretaries and all of his other officials to say if i give you a directive and you do not follow it, you're gone? >> i think that that kind of comes with the job, right? if you don't believe in the president's agenda and i think every one of the cabinet members, every one of the appointees understands that they serve at the pleasure of the president.
>> the president is clear during the campaign where there's economic security or national security. he has an agenda that he articulated very, very clearly to the american people. and that -- hold on. thank you. he appoints to nominate and announces a staff members or cabinet level members or agency heads. their job is to fulfill that, and they shouldn't take the job. it is the president's agenda that we are fulfilling here. >> how will the trump administration insure the digital privacy as to the president looks to strengthen -- >> just to be clear on the executive order, i think one of the things that the president -- the reason the president wants mayor giuliani and some of the cyber experts to come in is to get their ideas to make sure that where we're headed in cyber security is fulfilling the intent that insures that our critical infrastructures throughout the government and, frankly, throughout business to the extent that the government can be helpful in that are
protected and secured. i just want to caution what we may or may not do today. i think the president has a pretty good idea where he is going to go, but i think he wants to hear what mayor giuliani and some of the other experts have to say about the steps that we can take in terms of executive action that will help secure further these critical infrastructures. >> i want to go back to the issue of this travel ban. >> well, first of all, it's not a travel ban. i think you heard secretary kelly. i apologize. i just want to make sure i get this straight. i think secretary kelly or one of the other individuals that got up there from dhs mentioned that a million people have come into that country. that's not a ban. what it is is to make sure that the people who are coming in are vetted properly from seven countries that were identified by the obama administration. a ban would mean people can't get in. we've clearly seen hundreds of thousands of people come into our country from other countries. sorry. >> mind you, i have two questions.
>> of course. >> with all of this happening and as you are trying to give spechks about whaegts happening, what is the concern about the fall-out from other countries who are viewing this still in a certain way? have you looked at the fall-out, and how to counter it and how to work with these other countries that may be allies and may not be allies in order to prevent something from happening? >> i think, april, one of the things that we're doing is trying to make sure that people understand what actually happened. you know, i saw reporting today that secretary kelly was out of the loop when he was on a plane and flying and then it was reported on one of the networks and major institutions about what happened. secretary kelly comes out and says i was brief odd this time and talked on this time. the edits came from my staff. i don't know how -- i don't want to spend each of these briefings talking about misinformation, but at the end of the day a major newspaper and a major network reported today that they were kept out of the loop.
the secretary detailed multiple occasions in which he was briefed on it. his staff made edits to it. i don't know how much more, and i think part of what we're trying to do is make sure that people actually understand what happened, what the process was, and what the order actually does. when we use words like travel ban, that misrepresents what it is. it's seven countries previously identified by the obama administration where frankly we don't get the information that we need for people coming into this country. what this isn't about is not just the people. it's about the information that another country provides us. we work with other countries, and we have systems in place to insure that when you travel from our country to their -- or from there country to our country, vice veteransa,ing that we are sharing information about passengers and citizens that are going in and out. these seven countries in particular, we don't have the information that is necessarily required to make an accurate determination at the time of entry into our country. we are going to make sure that
because that country doesn't have maybe the systems in place or in some cases the willingness to provide us the information necessary to insure that the people that are coming into this country are properly vetted, this isn't about refugees. it's about travellers. that's what this is about. part of what we're doing is frankly making sure that other countries understand exactly what was in the order, how it applies, what it means to visas and waivers and all this kind of stuff, but for the most part you have seen a lot of panic in the people actually stopping reading the order and realizing, oh, that's it? i think that's where we've tried to make sure that people have the facts. we're doing -- we're not just doing outreach. i think we're doing as many briefings. secretary kelly going out there a little while ago with the head of both ice and cvp. they're trying to make sure that people understand that the process is working correctly. it's working very well. the government is doing what it's supposed to to protect its people. that's the number one thing that we can do. >> i'm sorry.
>> the president met with the pharmaceutical heads. when is this meeting scheduled for congressman elijah cummings and president trump. after that call -- >> my understanding is that congressman cummings, he was invied to this meeting. he had a scheduling conflict, and we're looking at setting it back up. he was invited to the meeting today. he informed us he had a scheduling conflict, and we're looking to get it back on the books as soon as we can. >> one-on-one -- >> i expect at this point it be will one-on-one. >> thanks a lot, sean wrrks does the president anticipate a difficult confirmation for his nominee, whoever that is? >> no. i think we've proven so far the democrats can try to obstruct, but at the end of the day the will of the mile an hour people is going to overcome that. again, what i mentioned at the outset of this is the advice and consent piece of this. he and our team have met with senators from both sides of the aisle to make sure that we understand that qualities that they are looking for in the next associate justice, and i think that we've done a very, very
good job of getting a nominee in place that will be announced tonight that meets the criteria that they set forth. they may not like their political or philosophical background, but i think the criteria in terms of academia background, time on the bench, the expertise and criteria meets the intent of both republicans and democrats. john -- >> do you believe you can get nine democrats to support the nominee? >> i do. absolutely. i think at the end of the day one of the things that's been a time-honored tradition in this country is that we recognize that the confirmation process is -- if you -- the default is if you are qualified for the position, then you should be confirmed. not the other way around. i think that most democrats realize that at some point that is -- having a court that is not fully operational is not the way -- is not the political fight to have. >> john daley. >> let me ask you the obvious
follow-up question then. at least one republican senator has said democrats have removed the filibuster from just about every other appointment aside from the supreme court, and several republicans say they would have no hesitation about moving for another nuclear option if democrats attempt a filibuster of any of the possible nominees. is this something the president would support and has he discussed it with members of the senate? >> first and foremost, taking a step to the last question. i think we're going to et go the nine senators, and i wouldn't be surprised if we get more. when you look at -- i'll be able to shed more light on this tomorrow in terms of the background, but i think that -- we have an individual that we think hopefully will garner widespread bipartisan support. i think this individual has the qualifications and the experience and the judicial philosophy that should win bipartisan support. that being said, beyond that, i would suggest that that's
senator mcconnell has done a phenomenal job of moving things along, and i'll leave any further questions on how the senate operates. >> we know that at 8:02 tonight the president will reveal his selection. can you fill in the gap of how often the president might have spoken with this person, whether there were any meetings here at the white house, just any of the -- how he got there and then the last hour or so -- or in the last days here really who has he leaned to kind of narrow this down and then i'll follow-up with you. >> i will say i think i probably shed a lot manager light on this tomorrow. i appreciate the effort to try to -- tomorrow i think we might be able to have a little bit more of a discussion as to how the president came to this choice. he may touch on it tonight. i'll leave it to him. i appreciate that. >> prescription drug prices, the
president met with the pharma leaders earlier today. what makes him so confident that he can drive down drug prices where the administrations past tried to do the same and haven't been able to. how will he go about it? >> the story of his entire administration. he is a successful businessman and a top notch negotiator. several people tried to get the cost of planes down, the cost of the f-35 and the cost of the air force one and through a couple of conversations he did it. shaved billions off of the cost of both. off the f-35 and significant off the next generation air force one. i think he has a track record so far just during the transition, but also as a businessman he knows how to negotiate, and i think he will sit down with these individuals in the same way that he is getting people to understand the agenda and the regulatory and tax climate that he wants to institute that's bringing jobs home.
it supports the american worker and american manufacturing. i think, you know, you look over and over again the number of companies that want to come back and say we want to be part of this agenda to grow the economy and to create jobs or to help you on behalf of taxpayers, and i think you're going to continue to see that. he understands the challenges that the bureaucracy that's holding back some of the negotiating that's allowing these prescription drug prices to drop or get the best deal for the government, in cases whether it's medicare or medicaid, who are such large buyers of the v.a. that you are not -- you have got such purchasing power that's want being utilized to the full extent. hunter walker. >> yes. thank you, sean. the president is meeting with mayor giuliani today. what do you think of the mayor's claim the executive order on the seven countries evolved from the muslim ban that the president proposed during the campaign. is that accurate? >> i think the president has talked about extreme vetting and the need to keep america safe for a very, very long time.
at the same time he also made very clear that this is not a muslim ban. it's not a travel ban. it's a vetting system to keep america safe. that's it. plain and simple. all of the facts and the reading of it clearly show that's what it is. >> he said that it came out of the desire to help. >> that's just his opinion. i'm telling you what the president has said and done has been to focus on making sure we keep the company safe and that the executive order that was drafted does just that. it's to make sure and insure that people coming in from seven countries identified by the obama administration that we didn't have the proper systems to know who was coming to our country, was put in place in a 90-day period and was also granted to insure that we knew how to further address vetting situations in the future. >> if you can address sort of
the killing of the american citizen in this same terrorism operation. >> i'm not going to go any farther than what the department of defense has released. obviously we recovered a tremendous amount of information and we killed an estimated 14 members of al qaeda aqap individuals. then we suffered the loss of life of a service member and four people were injured. that's as far as i'm willing to go at this time. kristen. >> thank you. you're saying it's not a ban. this was president trump's tweet yesterday. if the ban were announced with a one week notice, the bad would rush into our country. he says it's a ban. >> he is using the word that the media is using, but at the end of the day -- hold on. he can't be -- >> it's his words. >> jonathan, thanks. i'll let kristen talk. it can't a ban if you are letting a million people in. it's 325,000 people from another people can't come in. that is by nature not a ban. >> i understand. >> the president himself called
it a ban. >> it is extreme vetting. i think it's regrettable that there was some confusion on the roll-out of this. the house speaker saying that. what do you say to republicans who argue that this is a part of a broader issue. president not enacting this policy smoothly. >> first of all, i think we've addressed that. we could haveth telegraphed this days in advance in which people could have gotten out of planes and come over here, which would have undermined the exact nature of what this sought to prevent, or we could have done it in a way that inconvenienced some folks for a little while. can i answer the -- no, no, no. i do -- there's clearly some confusion. i think part of it, your network was one of the people that just hours ago told people that general kelly was unaware of what's going on and moments later she gets on air saying here's how many times i can
brief. with all due respect, i think you have been part of the confusion. you have helped cause this despite claims that whatever you claim you have sources that tell us general kelly stands up and says this is how many times i have been briefed. this is how many people were involved, and, yet, you were out there for -- >> there was a "new york times" report that was cited. >> i apologize that nbc news is reporting and based on the "new york times" reporting. so the secretary -- secretary of homeland security just stood up and say you are calling him a liar? jonathan, i'm talking -- you said that he was -- the report in the "new york times" said that he was unaware of the ban. answer the question because you just -- >> you had a statement that president trump made where he
accused the acting attorney general of the own department by expressing a counter opinion. don't you think that kind of language has a chilling effect on the public's statement that your officials make? is. >> i think there's a big difference. think about the process that worked here. the department of justice's office of legal compliance vetted the executive order. sent it back to us saying it was completely compliant. then the acting attorney general goes out and says i'm not going to enforce it? you tell me how that jives because at the end of the day the acting attorney general has an office under her jurisdiction that says that something is legal and compliant and then she gets out there and says i'm not going to enforce it, that doesn't sound like an attorney general that is upholding the duty that she swore to uphold. at the end of the day then she should step down. at the end of the day the attorney general either had a problem with her own division approving something, but it wasn't the president she had a problem with. the president followed the
process. sought feedback, went into the inner agency review, had other departments sign off, despite the reporting that said was otherwise. hold on. guys. >> is it a betrayal? that's -- >> why don't we just let me answer glen so we can be polite now, huh? and what the answer is that we went through the process. the office of legal compliance came back and said this is a compliant executive order. it's fully legal. it can be executed. then for the attorney general to turn around and say i'm not going to uphold this lawful executive order is clearly a dereliction of duty, and she should have been removed, and she was. it is odd to me that we're having a discussion about somebody whose job it is to ek cute lawful orders who chose not to do it -- hold on -- who chose not to do it, and then we're questioning whether or not we're right to row move her. that's the right thing to do. if you looked at the folks from the right and the left, constitutional scholars thorng, they say we might not agree with the policies or the political --
or the president, but he was right to do this. he had every right. >> why use the word betrayal? >> because the department's job is to execute. they're the department of justice. if you have a legally executed order and the attorney general says i'm not going to execute it, in a truly, clearly is a betrayal of what she's -- i'm not going to define the word, glen. >> i think the "new york times" report says that secretary did not receive a full briefing through the executive order being signed. my question is can we expect that secretaries, agency heads future economic tv orders or changes of policy -- what i'm
telling you the secretary on multiple occasions was briefed. his senior officials were briefed. not just briefed. they were part of the drafting process. it went through not only that, but just back up. they get consulted and briefed. it goes through the office of legal compliance. then it gets shipped out to the nsc and the homeland security council. this went through a very, very extensive staffing process. the idea that you can talk -- whether or not he got fully briefed or -- he was briefed multiple times. saw the language. his staff made edits. he came back multiple times. i'm not sure how much more briefing can you do. >> thank you, sean. australian broadcasting. the aus rail i can't be government made a recent deal with the obama administration whereby the u.s. would take refugees from australia's off shore detention centers. now, most of these people are from iran, but also some are from iraq and somalia and other places. can you confirm that this deal is still on? it are those refugees exempt from what you describe as the extreme vetting, or will that deal change or be delayed?
>> the deal deals with 1,250 people that are mostly in papa new guinea being held. those people, part of the deal is that they have to be vetted in the same manner that we're doing now. there will be extreme vetting applied to all of them. the president in accordance with that deal to honor what had been agreed upon by the united states government in insuring that that vetting will take place. >> he said efsz going to gather us all together and he was going to bring us together and the action taken in the first ten days seemed to indicate otherwise from people in his own party. the use of the word betrayal. how is this president going to address the fact that people are looking to him to bring people together and, yet, with his own words seems to be driving us
apart. >> he has brought unions together. business leaders together. democrats, independents, republicans. somebody that doesn't carry out an act and using that as a way to describe how he is not bringing the country together is not a representation. >> what he has said and done and more importantly to start to bring this country together, and his policies, frankly, are focused on keeping every american safe and giving every american a higher paying and better paying job. i think that is something that benefits all of us. >> now that notices have been given to the tpp countries, are you considering any changes in the rules of your three sort of official trade negotiators, and what area of the globe are you going to start first on negotiations? >> there's no change in their
roles. i'm not sure. as announced -- >> negotiate orz -- >> the u.s. -- i mean, he has to be confirmed first, but the u.s. trade representative is clearly the leader of negotiating trade deals. there's a great unbelievably robust brilliant team that has continued to work on behalf of deals and renegotiating. the two step process. number one, we're going to reexamine the trade deals and figure out if we can improve them. secondly, i think we're going to start talking to other countries around the globe, including some of the tpp partners. i think of the 11 other countries, five of them we have current trade deals. >> the president has previously indicated that he would encourage the targeting of families of terror suspects. is that still his current position? >> when did he say that?
>> the thing with terrorists -- he has been clear when it comes to seeking out isis and other terrorists he is going to lean on director pompeo and secretary mattis. >> the families of terror suspects, civilian members of families. sean. >> i got you. >> sean. >> thanks for taking this question. i know that you have been at that podium, and there will be further action. what does this look like, and there are five detainees that have been cleared for transfer that are sitting at guantanamo with this administration, taking action in the next coming months on those detainees. >> i think all of those actions are being currently reviewed, and we don't have anything further at this time. >> the obama administration has been -- the plan to revoke the -- would he perhaps go
further and try and revoke the endangerment finding. all of the option that is we have to use our natural resources to better the country in terms of wind, power, solar, clean coal. we're in the process of reviewing all of our energy policies. i would go back to note that we don't have an energy secretary confirmed right now because the senate hasn't yet moved forward. with that i hope that once that is done, we will have further updates on energy. matt. >> sean, sally yates was obviously an obama appointee and was holding on to it is transition. how many more of them are there throughout the government, a and -- at this time through the -- do you expect any more problems from any of the other ones? >> in some cases we've held some individuals over because they hold a critical position within government. in some cases we've named folks as acting. it's a case by case basis.
again, i think part of it right now is the president wanted to focus on getting his cabinet up and complete. we'll continue to make nominations both at the deputy under and assistant secretary level. in key agencies, ice being one of them where it's an assistant secretary, but there are 30 other agencies where we've named acting heads to insure that as we move through the confirmation process, we have somebody in that position to insure continuity of government. daniel. >> sean, yesterday you said 109 individuals were affected by the extreme vetting. dhs officials said it was over 1,100. >> no, no, hold on. first of all, just to be clear, what they're talking about is the number of people who weren't allowed to board a plane coming in, so they were stopped at their port of entry. had to get additional clearance and then take off. there's a big difference. the numbers that we're talking about with the initial group of people that were in transit at the time the executive order was signed. then there's another group of people the department of
homeland security has those numbers up-to-date on their website where they're talking about people that are stopped at the port of entry to insure that they're properly vetted before they board a plane. this is a very, very dl cat distinction between people who were on the plane coming into this country when the executive order was signed, all of whom have been vetted and cleared, and the people who have been stopped at a port of entry in one of those seven countries to insure that the proper vetting took place before they were able to move on. >> sean, the question was about civilians that are being targeted by the administration in anti-terror raids. zeek's question was about -- >> is the goal to kill and target citizens because their family members are terrorists? >> no american citizen will ever be targeted. yeah. >> one more follow-up -- if are you qualified for the position, you said earlier if you are qualified for the position, you should get confirmed. that's not how merrick garland
was treated in the previous administration. >> there's never been a situation in which you had a fourth term -- someone that late in the election cycle. it's never occurred before. i think the senate republicans were very clear that we should wait and let the voters have a choice, and that's exactly what happened. as i noted at the beginning of this, 70% of people thought that the president's choice for the next supreme court was a major decision. that was something he came campaigned on. i think when you are that late in a term, it had never happened before. the goal was to make sure that the voters had a say in allowing that to happen. i think that clearly it worked. the voters looked at that as a major reason for which they voted for the president. as we move forward, that's why i think we're going to get the support we need. >> sean, if the president does get his pick on the bench, what are any specific cases that the administration hopes that the court takes up in the near future? >> there's a lot of cases in the cue right now that have the potential before four. i think the idea is to get this
individual confirmed as soon as possible. just to get the docket moving. that's probably the biggest priority right now. thank you, guys, very much. have a great day. i'll see you tonight. good luck. 8:00. test test. the white house secretary sean spicer what we can call a very contentious briefing with the reporters in the white house briefi briefing room. lots of news unfolding. we have david gregory, senior political reporter, and supreme court correspondent and justice correspondence pamela brown. the supreme court a big story. the justice department. but let's go through issues, the breaking news you have on the supreme court nominees, two finalists either here already or on the way.
>> we will learn at 8:02 eastern time who the supreme court pick is. >> it's kind of like the apar"t apprentice." and thomas hardiman was half way between pittsburgh and washington d.c. and sosurces close to the process is that the idea is to conceal who the pick of donald trump is, we're told through our sources there are increasing indications that judge gorsuch, a conservative judge 49-year-old, will be his pick, but he has changed his mind. we saw it with vice president pence. so that could definitely happen.
>> david gregory, this was a very contentious briefing that sean spicer had with reporters especially on the secretary of homeland secure now saying he knew what was going on denying reports in the press that he was not really up to speed. >> well, there's a couple areas of controversy with the executive order, one it was hastily put together and not everybody on the cabinet was really brooefiefed and it was fd a way that caused chaos and concern. he said look, i was publicly briefed for those of us who cover washington both things could be true, the reporting could have been accurate and he could say no i everything was above board and he calls and
says you node eed to get in lin >> the officials were kept in the dark. to the extent when they were being fully briefed on the details of the executive order friday they were asking questions about what do we do with these passengers new newly banned on the way to the u.s. so if there was briefing it wasn't to the full extent. >> and mattis was fuming about the fact that there were u.s. troops caught up in all of this as well. >> and the fact that the order itself would not be enforced by the acting attorney general the president saying it was an act of betrayal as he fired her, so this is sending shock waves through washington. >> he kept saying oh, that he saw this coming because of the way that trump was campaigning, guess what, everybody saw this coming. he talked about seeing drafts of it. so even if his presentation he
was sort of dancing around whether or not he was fully briefed. >> jim acosta you were there in the briefing and sean spicer the white house press secretary was clearly anxious to rebut a lot of the charges against the trump administration. >> reporter: that's right wolf and specifically about the ban signed by the president over the weekend that sean spicer said it was not a ban he objected to, the use to have word ban and of course it was pointed out that the president tweeted all of this and used the word ban himself so sean spicer was asked was the president confused about what was in this executive order if he was using the word ban, sean spicer said he was pushing back on this and said no, this was a vetting teexecutive order not a banning order.
there were contentious moments about secretary kellie was fully briefed on that executive order at one point shawn spaean spice are you saying secretary kellie was lying? the question is was secretary kellie briefed on the final draft of that executive order before it was signed and we don't have a clear understanding on that. >> even the president refer today a ban, what i heard secretary kellie, the secretary of homeland security say there was no muslim ban and specific all these other predominantly muslim countries were not involved, there were promptly seven countries select by the obama administration and they would have ex-treatmetreme vett
would not allow immigrations from the seven countries but as far as the travel ban, the seven countries, people that want to come here, they're going to have a lot of problems getting in at least for the next several months. >> reporter: that's right. and at one point sean spicer was asked about rudiul rudy giulian to trump and asked i would like to have a ban how can i do that and the fact that the president was having lunch with him and sean spicer said that is how mayor giuliani recalled that conversation. the other thing they're clinging to at the white house is that everything was executed
perfectly even though you saw huge disruptions even the speaker of the house paul ryan was saying was regrettable that there was confusion about all of this. >> and we do know there's a ban on all syrian refugees coming to the united states and that's an indefinite ban. i'm going to get back to you, laura coats you're our legal analyst, it was pretty clear that sean spicer not backing off in the word of the use betrayal in describing sally yates who was fired last night. >> that word is pretty nonsensical. she discussed the fact at her confirmation hearing she knew she had a lawful obligation to enforce it. you have 11 different states whether or not there's
uniformity to enforce it, so her rejection was not a betrayal but her sworn obligation to ensure there's consistency among the doj, to say she was betraying, with not going forward with an order she couldn't defend but the courts have to believe in the credibility of the justice department. you can't walk in and make a straight faced plausible argument if constitutionality let alone lawfulness is at issue, it's the department of lawyers not a department of justice then. >> and usually they leave the attorney general to have some independence, but that said he has the right to fire the acting attorney general. >> she was expecting it. she probably felt what do i have to lose? >> she's not a hold over like
sessions is going to be. i think he, not surprisingly, decided to turbo charge it by calling it an act of betrayal. one thing about the ban, if they didn't do the ban all these bad dudes are going to come in, the fact is there are existing checks, they don't just get to waul wallet waltz into the country. >> sally yates as we know is out. you can watch president trump's announcement of a supreme court nominee right here on cnn 8:00 p.m. eastern tonight and 9:00 p.m. eastern the house democratic leader nancy pelosi joins jake tapper for a live town hall, joined by a live
studio audience 9:00 p.m. eastern tonight here only on cnn. that's it for me, i'll be back, in the situation room, the news continues right now. all right. here we go top of the hour, i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me, so much news to get to. a head spinning 24 hours from the trump administration all involving moves to obstruct the president's plans but the issue dominating it was the president's ban, secretary of press sean spicer saying let me say again this is not a ban. >> first of all it's not a travel ban. i think you heard secretary kellie, i apologize i just want to make sure i