tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN March 30, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
advanced out of committee. all thousand he's disappointed to see deblmocratic senators wh approved alex acosta, the labor secretary designee, have stuck to a party line vote. the president looks forward to having him on the cabinet as soon as possible. also, first net announced at&t will build the first broadband network dedicated to first responders dedicated to the emergency and fire and police personnel critical to their missions. it's a sign of the incredible ability of public/private partnerships to drive innovation and solve some of our biggest issues while creating jobs and growing the economy. back to the schedule this afternoon, the president hosted a legislative affairs lunch on opioid and drug abuse. it was an opportunity to discuss
the goals and agenda of the president's commitment to battle drug addiction and opioid crisis which he established yesterday. the commission, which will be chaired by chris christie, is the next step in the president's promise to the american people that he will take real action to keep drugs from pouring into our country. under govern christie's leadership, we will find ways to treat and protect the american people from this epidemic. many members in attendance to the lunch played a key part in passing the bipartisan comprehensive addiction and recovery act, known loan as c.a.r.a. part of the mission of the president's commission will be to ensure that the funds are spent efficiently and effectively. too many lives are at stake to
risk wasting any money on this effort. moving on, later this afternoon, the prime minister of denmark will be here for a working visit. we'll have a readout at its conclusion. a couple follow-ups from yesterday, hunter asked about the disapproving of the federal communications regulations on privacy rules from last year. so let me just expand on that a little and get to your question. the white house supports congress using its authorities under the congressional review act to roll back last year's sec rules on broadband regulation. they will reclassify google as a common carrier at a hotel or retail outlet. this will allow service providers to be treated fairly and consumer protection and privacy concerns to be reviewed on an equal playing field. the president pledged to reverse this type of federal overreach
in which bureaucrats in washington take the interests of one group of companies over the interests of others picking and choosing winners and losers. the president has signed more legislation ending job killing regulations than other presidents combined already and he'll continue to fight red tape that stifles job creation and economic growth. jack was here yesterday, following up on his question, he asked about the administration's position on the paris climate treaty. we are currently reviewing issues related to the agreement and expect to have a decision in late may if not sooner. before i take your questions, i want to speak about judge gorsuch. he's been transparent about his choices and if he had been elected who he would choose from. as a matter of fact, i'd say that the level of transparency is probably unprecedented in modern times at least.
during the campaign, he gave the american people a list of 21 judges which he would pick his supreme court from and he did it. prior to the president making his final decision, the white house spoke with 29 senators, more than half of whom were from the democrat side of the aisle, including every democrat from the judiciary committee. the consensus was that the president's pick should be a respected mainstream judge. as i've laid out many times before, from the unanimous consent of the tenth court of circuit of appeals, judge gorsuch is a definition of a mainstream, respected judge. he's offered the senate plenty of material to vouch for that. since his nomination, judge gorsuch has met with nearly 80 senators. in response to requests from the senate judiciary committee, gorsuch provided the following. over 70 pages of written answers about his personal records in response to 299 questions for
the record by democrats on the committee. the most in recent history, which he submitted within six days of receiving the questions. over 75,000 pages of documents, including speeches, case briefs, opinions and written work going back as far as college. and over 180,000 pages of e-mail and paper records related to the judge's time at the department of justice. in fact, the department of justice provided access to many documents that would normally be guarded by various privileges in an unprecedented move. the judge sat for three rounds and nearly 20 hours of questioning by the senate judiciary committee during which he was asked nearly 1,200 questions, almost twice as many as justices sotomayor, kagan or ginsburg. he did this in the hope that many of whom had afounsnnouncedr attempt to filibuster, would
look at how qualified he was to sit on the supreme court. unfortunately, it looks like senate democrats would do all that they did in reading a he questioning for nothing more than to political theater. finally, before i take your questions, a letter was transmitted just recently to the ranking member and chairman of the house and senate intelligence committees that said in the ordinary course of business, national security staff discovered documents that we believe are in response to your march 15th, 2017 letter to intelligence committee seeking, quote, documents necessary to determine whether information collected on u.s. persons was mishandled and leaked, end quote. we have and will invite the senate and house ranking members and chairman up to the white house to view that material in accordance with their schedule. with that, i'm glad to take a few of your questions. cheryl? >> i'm trying to gauge the
probability of a government shutdown at the end of april. are your directions to hold firm on the spending cuts that the president wants or to try to wheel and deal and get a bill that can keep the government open? >> i don't know that they are mutually exclusive. i think we want did. >> pushback on capitol hill from -- >> there generally is. but i think that we want both. i think we want to maintain some of the spending priorities as well as some of the reductions in the 2017 budget. we want to do so responsibly and do so within the priorities that the president has laid out. i think his funding requests and priorities are laid out in the budget that director mulvaney detailed and sent up for the remainder of 2017. there's key things in that. and i think that it is going to begin a conversation that we will continue to have with the house and senate. but i don't think both of those goals are mutually exclusive. obviously, we don't want the government to shut down but we want to make sure we're funding
the priorities of the government. >> john? >> i want to ask about the news that the president made with a tweet. he seems to be picking a fight with the freedom caucus. the freedom caucus has 30 members. does the president realize how important this caucus is, this coalition is in terms of passing a replacement bill for the affordable care act and passing the rest of his legislative agenda. >> of course he understands the goal is to get to the majority in the house and senate. but at end of the day, he recognizes that he has a bold and an agenda that he's trying to enact that he reason on and he's going to get the votes from wherever he can. >> can he pass that agenda without the help of the freedom caucus? >> mathematically, yes. but secondly, there's a few members of the freedom caucus, both prior to last friday's vote and since then, who have expressed their willingness to
work with him rather than necessarily as a bloc and i think there continues to be some promising signs in that -- with that. so again, i think part of it is if people are more concerned with voting as a bloc and what's in the best interests of the american people, he's hoping that people will see the bigger picture, the goals that we outlined and sometimes not the really good be the enemy of the perfect. >> there was a tweet that he would be in favor of primary in some individuals and the freedom caucus who oppose his agenda. did i read that correct? >> i'm going to say i'm going to let the tweets speak for themselves or just for your understanding, it would be improper to discuss that on the podium. matt? >> two questions, if you don't mind. >> i want phenomenal questions from you. >> that's what i'll give you.
>> first, two white house officials, according to "the new york times" provided representative nunes information about last week and according to "the times," hired by michael flynn started going through these documents after the president's tweet, the wiretapping tweet. so i'm wondering if the white house thinks it's appropriate for national security officials to be conducting what's basically a political task, which is trying to find information but then validates something that the president has said. >> so, i've read the report and respectfully, i think your question assumes that the reporting is correct. >> it does. >> so i would just suggest to you that the letter that was submitted earlier to the ranking -- the chairman of the ranking members of the two committees, two intelligence committees on the hill, the reason that the white house has asked them to come up is to view information. and again, i don't want to get in front of that, as i've said before.
we are not as obsessed with the process as much as the substance and i think our goal is to make sure that the ranking members of both committees as well as the chairman see the information that is important to this and worry about the outcome at the end. >> and then on a different topic, with miss walsh's departure today, are you expecting any other staffing shake-ups in the west wing? >> no. >> are you saying that [ inaudible ]? >> i'm saying in order to comment on that story would be to validate certain things that i'm not at liberty to do. >> so you wouldn't be able to tell us who he met with and -- >> again, i think there's an assumption, as i've said before, we cannot condone -- in the same way that you protect sources when i call you and say you've got 18 anonnous sources and you go, i can't reveal my sources, chairman nunes is conducting an
investigation and review has an opportunity to have his sources. our view was that the smart move was to make all the materials available to the chairman and the ranking member of the relevant committees and i understand the obsession with the process piece. but we are focused on the substance of it and i think the goal is to make sure people have the substance that are looking into this that we have asked to look into this and then go -- >> [ inaudible ]? >> no. no. we've sent a letter within the past few hours to both of those committees informing them that we wanted to make that available to them. >> what ind could kind of messa think this sends? >> i think it sends a message that we want them to look into this. there's a belief that the president has maintains that there was surveillance during the 2016 election that was i improper and we want people to
take the legal, responsible steps to both understand it and then address it. major? >> i want to read you something that you said on march 23rd when asked if the white house had any information in providing nunes with information. i'm quoting you here. i don't know why he, chairman nunes we would have briefed him on. doesn't tend to make a lot of sense. i'm not aware of it. it doesn't really pass the smell test. there's now reporting -- which i can't tell if you're disputing or not -- identifies two people within the white house as the sources of this information. i'm trying to put these things together. you said it doesn't pass the smell test on march 23rd. now there's information within the white house that they were the sources of this. i'm trying to put those things together. >> number one, the first quote that you're reading, if you go back, i was responding to -- i was very clear that i said, based on what chairman nunes has said, i believe the following
doesn't make sense. >> so you've learned something new since then. >> no. no. again, major, i've commented on this both yesterday and today. that your obsession with who talked to whom and when is not the answer here. it should be the substance. in the same way that when you guys print a story with 18 anonymous stories, your obsession is the substance. it seems now that you continue to look at it from a backwards prism which is, what happened, who drove in what gate, what were they wearing that day as opposed to what's the underlying substance of this. did something happen in the 2016 election? did leaks occur? we are not going to engage actively in that kind of leaking that has been a problem. in fact, if you look at the obama's deputy secretary of defense that is out there, evelyn farkus, she made it clear that it was her goal to spread this information around, that they went around and did this and she said, quote, that's why
there are so many leaks. they have admitted on the record that this was their goal. to leak stuff. literally she said on the record, trump's team. there are serious questions out there about what happened and why and who did it and i think that's really where our focus is, in making sure that information gets out. >> but can't the process, from your vantage point, validate the importance of the substance? >> i think there's a review that we've asked for -- >> you told us that you're willing to look into it and talk about the process and provide -- >> and i am. no. please don't put words in my mouth. i never said i'd provide you answers. i said we'd look into it. the responsible thing for us to do is to provide the individuals and the committees doing the review the materials that they're looking for, or some of them. we don't know what they are looking for and what they have seen and haven't. our goal is to be as forthright as possible. they asked the intelligence committee in a march letter for information. we have -- we are willing to
provide them with information that we have -- the materials that we have come across and i think that is an important step. again, our obligation is to make sure the review is done both in the house and senate as we asked for a few weeks ago. not to make sure we legally leak out information to you. >> when you say "we have information," are you disputing the reports of the new york times? >> i'm not commenting on the reports, major. i just got asked the same question. >> you're saying "we". >> no, we, the white house, is not going to confirm -- i get it. we are not going to start commenting on one-off anonymous sources that publications publish. >> if it were wrong, would you tell us? >> i'm not going to get into it. as i just said, i get how many times you can ask the same question. hunter? >> thank you, sean. i have two questions. the first, president trump is pushing for a major tax cut, increases in infrastructure spending at the border wall. does he think this agenda has to be deficit neutral or is he
opened to plans? >> when it. coulds to t comes to tax reforms, it's to lower the rates and is to grow jobs in the economy and part of it is, if you look at it dynamically, as the plans develop and we're not there yet, we're beginning that process of engaging with stakeholders. as the plan develops and there's a cost put on it, that's a decision that gets looked at as well as the economic growth and job creation aspect to it. to answer that question without knowing what the full scope of it is is looking at it and answering it in a vacuum. >> and then just to clarify one thing with "the new york times" story, i know you won't identify devin nunes' sources, but isn't it true that some white house officials had to be involved in getting him information here because they would need to have him access the complex? >> i cannot get into who those individuals were. >> there was someone at the white house?
>> well, again, if i start going down a path of con fifirming an denying one thing, we're going down a slippery slope. i've made my position clear on that. jessica? >> thank you, sean. thank you for announcing the visit of the chinese president. i have a couple of questions about that visit, if you'd entertain me. can you talk about the location and how it was chosen for this visit? >> as you can imagine, on any trip, no matter who the foreign leader is, there's a lot of discussion that goes back and forth between the white house, state department and the equivalence of the other head of governments, you know, their appropriate counterparts. those are the things that go back and forth, in terms of how long, the activities, what will be discussed. every single thing is discussed on both sides. and so that was a long and ongoing negotiation with the government of china and with their representatives lasting several weeks now. >> so how did you arrive at
mar-a-lago? >> i'm not going to get into the back and forth. i would suggest that both sides discussed various locations and topics and agendas and length, et cetera a, and aspects to the trip. >> so what is the goal for the white house to accomplish during the visit? >> well, i think there's a few things. one, this is an opportunity for president trump to develop a relationship in person with president xi. he's spoken to him on the phone a few times. we have big problems. everything from the south china sea to trade to north korea. there are big issues of national and economic security that need to get addressed and i think there's going to be a lot on the table when it comes to that over the two days that they will talk. >> lastly, the chinese are expecting the white house to provide framework for the relationship to be viewed for. are you prepared for that and can you talk a little bit about what that framework might be? >> can you expand on that? >> put a floor on the relationship, looking at how to view the relationship. you had the rebalance and pivot in the prior administration.
is there a tag line or a vision for u.s./china relations that you will roll out during this visit? >> we'll see. i'm not -- if you have any hash tags, let me know. but i think right now we're not worried so much about slogans as much as progress. there's a lot of big things that we need to accomplish with china and i think that we will work on that. kristen? >> thanks, sean. did the president direct anyone in this white house or on his national security team to try to find information or intelligence to back up his assertion about what is happening? >> i don't -- i'm not aware of anything directly. i'd have to look into that. again, there's two sides of this. one is the information side and two is the policy and the activities and the legal piece of what happened. and i don't -- there's -- those are big buckets, if you will. >> so it's possible? >> i'm not going to comment on it. >> and one more. don't sort of the daily questions about this make it necessary to have some type of
outside, independent investigation to lift any lingering cloud that there may be? >> no. i think you have two committees looking into this. the fbi has been looking into this, as they mentioned at the hearing. how many do you want? i understand that there's -- >> the house intelligence investigation is valid after all of these allegations? >> how is it not valid? >> there's questions about where devin nunes got his information from. >> and that's why we've invited all of the -- >> wouldn't it be smart to have an outside -- >> right now you've got the fbi, probably other intelligence committees that looked into the 17 of them issued a report earlier in terms of involvement in the 2016 election. and then you've got two congressional committees looking into it. so i'm not really sure the exact need. i think people are doing -- i understand sometimes there's a need for you guys to have more information and more sources. i think this is being done in a responsible way where people are discussing what they know at an
appropriate classification level and information is being shared. >> can you quickly talk about the timing of inviting the leadership investigation to the white house now. is it because of this report? why not do that initially? >> a couple of things. one is, they asked -- they tasked the various committees in mid-march to -- you know, agencies, rather, to provide information we felt we had information that was relevant and there's a desire to make sure that both sides of the aisle who are looking into this as well as both chambers had that information. anita? >> eric trump gave an interview a few days ago to "forbes" magazine in which he said he would update his father regularly, perhaps quarterly on the business, including giving profitability reports. so i had two questions about that. one, have they spoken about the business since january? and two, how does this not
violate what the president set out as the protocols for how he would deal with the business? >> well, two things. i don't know if they have spoken. it's not -- you know, that's maybe a question better directed to the trump organization. but secondly, i think everything that he's done is in accordance with what the counsel's office and the ethics folks -- >> i believe he said that he wasn't going to talk to his children, his sons, about the business. so how is that -- >> again, i think everything that is being done in terms of reports or updates is being done in con sole tasultation with th counsel's office. justin? >> i have two things i want to ask. >> of course. >> just to follow up on what major said. it's sort of unclear what you guys are telling the chairman and ranking members you have. is it information that would validate the president's claims about surveillance during the 2016 campaign? or is it information about a
broader russian investigation? >> again, i'm not here to share that. that's why we've invited them up to view it in a classified setting in an appropriate setting. it's not to be shared with people that don't have the appropriate clearances. >> you're not intending to imply that this is the information that chairman nunes has been talking about? >> no. what i'm suggesting is that there has been information that has been -- material that has been made -- come to light and we want to make sure that the people who are conducting the review have that information, have access to it. >> and then, westing house center followed for bankruptcy yesterday. i'm wondering if that has prompted national security concerns within the administration and if there's any effort within the administration to sort of help them navigate this bankruptcy, considering -- >> i'd have to check on that. there's obviously a couple of departments that would be interested in that. steve? >> i want to ask you to
elaborate more on what you've so far told us. you said in the ordinary course of business, the national security discovered documents. can you explain how these documents were uncovered? what does it mean that -- >> no. i'm not -- that's why we've invited them up for classified -- into a classified setting, is for them to see these materials and understand this is not the setting that is appropriate to discuss that. >> to whom in the national security staffing uncovered the documents? >> good question. as i've mentioned multiple times, we're not here to go through the process. our job is to make sure the people who have appropriate access to take steps have that. >> are in a position to deny or rule out the possibility that -- >> i'm not going to get into any further details on this. i would suggest to you, again, if i can go back a second to something that the obama administration's deputies and secretaries of defense noted
very clearly on the record, that they were engaged in an effort to spread information about trump officials that had come up in intelligence. that is several networks. and made that proclamation about what was going on during the administration regarding the trump team and that is something that they made very clear on the record. john? >> a couple of things, john. first of all, in the freedom caucus, in response to the president's tweet, congressman of michigan responded on camera saying, most people don't like to be bullied, in response to the president. also saying that sending out such tweets may allow a child to get his way but that's not how government works. can you take a moment to respond to the congressman? was the president trying to bully the freedom caucus? >> no. this is consistent with everything that he has said since friday of last week and i think that he is looking for
members on both sides of the aisle to achieve the goal of a centered patient health care system. that's it. his comments and tweets speak for themselves with regard to how he feels and why. >> following up on that, is this to divide and conquer strategy? >> no. this is an effort to move the agenda forward. >> and then if i could follow up on what major asked, you've accused people in this room being more interested in the process than actually in the substance of things. but when information is discovered by the intelligence committee chairman in the house at the white house that is potentially ex culpatory to what the president has tweeted out and one of the people involved in uncovering that information is a white house staff member kept in his position over the request of the national security adviser by the political leadership here at the white house, does the process not then take on some relevance?
>> well, the process in the sense that we are, as i've noted, we have invited the chairman and ranking members looking into this and reviewing the matter up here. that doesn't mean we allow uncleared members of the media to look at it. >> that's not what i asked. >> yes, you did. >> what i asked was, when you have that connection of dots all the way along, does the process -- does the providence of this information not become relevant to the overall investigation? >> it's up for the people conducting the review to decide that, not for the people in this room to decide it. it is up to the people who are clear to look at that information and that material, to look at it and make their valuations and i think they are conducting the review, both very clearly on the house side and starting today the senate side. that is the appropriate venue and forum and personnel to be reviewing it. plain and simple. >> was the president briefed on
this information -- >> i couldn't hear you. >> has the president been briefed on this information that you're inviting the congressional committee chairs to come review and when was this briefing done? >> i'm not entirely sure or what the status of that is but i can follow up on that. >> i will look into where that stands. blake? >> a couple on taxes. the timeline here of health care first, tax reform second, there was a poll released that says 73% of americans want tax reform to happen this year. with health care now being on hold, is health care the number one priority for this administration -- is tax reform the number one priority for the administration at this point or is health care still taking up oxygen? >> i think there's plenty of oxygen for both to go on. the president would still like to see it get done. there's no reason we can't. if you look at the timeline for
tax reform, you're talking several months. i think the process is beginning on that and you can have a dual-track strategy. it's not an either/or proposition. >> and you described what is going on today is the first phase. can you lay out what is entailed in that first phase? is the president giving detailed strategies or broad principles? >> i think it's both. they are talking about the process that they intend to partake, how this is going to lay out, who they are engaging with and how they are going to begin this process and then side of the guiding principles in making sure that any updates that he has or any principles that he wants to suggest are incorporated into that plan as they begin to be stakeholders but part of this is to level set with him as to what they intend to do and how they intend to do it. >> you mentioned dual track between health care and tax reform and then there's infrastructure hanging out there. can all of those go together?
>> lots of tracks. again, remember, they are not all the same people. some of them overlap, some of them don't. i think part of this is that you've got to remember some things can happen sooner than others because of the legislative calendar. some things are going to take longer because of the legislative calendar and because of the number of individuals involved and the complexity of the situation. there's a lot of things that can be moving at once because of how it plays out. >> thank you, sean. turning to the foreign front, yesterday vladim yesterday the vice chairman of the open russia movement testified before a senate appropriations subcommittee backing continued sanchss against russia. he also called on secretary of state tillerson to meet with russian civil society members. in other words, anti-putin
dissidents like himself when he makes his trip to moscow next month. mr. kara-murza said he was meeting with both parties but would be happy to meet with administration officials. are there any plans for the president or anyone in the white house to meet with mr. kara-murza and will he meet with the russian society? >> i'm not aware. the state department is probably more appropriate for you to address that to. alexis? >> i'd like to get clarification on the answer that you gave to hunter and to major. i thought it was just yesterday that you said that when you were asked about chairman nunes, you had asked preliminary questions and had not gotten answers. so my answer is, you know the answer to that and you're saying you won't answer that question
today or you don't know? >> what i'm saying is that a decision has been made to bring in all of the relevant individuals that are reviewing the situation and make them and veilable, that getting into source and process is not the proper way to conduct this review and we want the people conducting it to understand more fully the materials, not necessarily who came in at what time and what effort. >> so just to clarify again, you asked the questions, you will not give an answer as to -- you asked that -- let me finish. you said yesterday that you asked, you didn't get the answers and so what you're telling us today is that you are never going to get the answer, you yourself, you are never going to get the answer as to who cleared chairman nunes? >> i'm saying a decision was made to focus on the process and substance and the decision was made -- >> you're not answering my question, though. >> i let you ask the question. so let me answer it, please. and the answer that i'm giving you is that the decision was made internally to focus on the
individuals doing the review, both republicans and the democrats, house and senate and have them come in and look at the materials. that's what the focus should be on. >> all right. >> wait. here's my bigger question. the president has expressed his affirmation, his support for the finding that russia interfered with the 2016 election. that is the centerpiece of the investigation at the fbi and the senate intelligence committee. my question is, what -- can you update us, what is the president doing now in the administration to respond to director comey's testimony that that interference is not just election-year based but continuing? >> what -- you're talking about the ex ecutive order. is that correct? >> can you update, what is the administration doing to prevent that, to respond to that preliminary finding already that
we already know, that is continuing. >> the executive order that the president signed that continues the national emergency deals with looking into malicious attempts and cyberattempts to come into the united states. that's what the executive order that he signed is. >> that's the sum total of the response so far? >> i'm not going to get into what's being done behind the scenes in terms of the intelligence and law enforcement committee. but the bottom line is, there was an emergency declared with respect to challenges that the united states faces from a variety of actors outside the united states to come in and use cybertechniques to hack the united states. the national emergency will continue under the president to address the threats that we face from abroad and from a variety of places. april? >> sean -- >> april? >> yes, sean.
i'll do kaitlyn and then april. sorry. >> okay. so sean, what is the ultimate goal of the leaders coming in to get this information and will it be information that nunes received plus or will it just be basically a synopsis of a synopsis of what nunes received? >> well, it's going to be the materials that are relevant to the discussion in the area that they are reviewing and that's up to them to decide the relevancy of that. i think we have -- or the national security committee has gone into -- come upon materials that they want to share with them. it's up to them to make the decision about the relevance and what it leads them to believe. there's two issues here. one is what do they see and what do they want to see in addition to that or as a result of those materials. right?
so, in other words, they may see things and say, hey, this is interesting. i wonder if there's a pattern. this is interesting, i want to see more. or they may come to a conclusion right away. that's part of the idea about sharing information with them, is to allow the members of both of the committees on a bipartisan basis to come in and review materials that we think are relevant to the issues that the president talked about with respect to surveillance, the masking and unmasking of individuals, the handling of it, et cetera, et cetera. and then it's up to those members to decide what to do with that information, how to explore that more in-depth. >> so ultimately, in their questioning, they could actually wind up getting if they did and asked certain questions, just sitting in the intelligence meetings, like the president does, digging, if he decides to dig more, he'll get more? >> it depends. i think that's possible. i don't want to prejudge what they ask and what comes in
response to it. it also has to do with what documents we have. they may go down a particular trail and have to follow up with an agency and say, we saw this. can we see a follow-up on that. as you saw from media reports, the nsa has been asked to provide documents to the house. my understanding is that that was ongoing and some of the materials that they see prompt them to ask additional questions. but that's part of providing it to them. it's an ongoing review. and what we want is for them to see these materials and come to conclusions or need more information to come to a conclusion. but this is part of that review process. >> are they allowed the same type of -- with their liking and who they are, no matter him being the head of the intel committee, are some of these other members allow to see the same things even thoh they are not the head of the committee, are they allowed to see them? >> my understanding i that they
would. >> and lastly, sean, do you know who -- [ inaudible ]. >> you don't know? >> no. >> kaitlyn? >> i have some questions for you. has anyone in the white house ever raised the possibility of a cabinet position or top intelligence post later on in the administration for devin nunes. >> not that i'm aware of. >> secondly, will the president hold a news conference to answer questions about the intelligence claims? >> i'm not good enough? >> not that you're not good enough. but he made the claims. you didn't make the claims. >> i'll convey your question to him. i'm sure he liked the last one so much. does tomorrow work for you? let me see what i can come up with, cecilia. >> iant to clarify, from what you know about these materials, do they validate the president's wiretap claims? >> i don't know. i have not seen the materials. it's members of the national security committee who have come across these documents that want
to make them available to the members leading the review. >> and why not just be more forthcoming about this entire process, who let nunes in. if this was enough -- if the president of e united states could tweet this thing about wiretapping, doesn't the american public have a right to know me? >> yes, they do. that's why we're going through a process. and i say this respectfully. i understand that you want all of those processes answered, what day are they coming in, what door they are going in. the relevance is the substance of this and it's interesting, i don't get the same thing when i see these unpublished stories with anonymous sources. you don't ever tell me who your sources were. glenn, i'm answering cecilia's question. >> i'm sorry. >> thank you. do you accept his apology? >> thank you. >> that's not how it works, though. but i would argue that you guys
have -- when you write a story and you call and say i have four anonymous sources that say whatever and when i ask who they are, you say i'm not revealing that to you but i'm asking you to respond to the substance. when the shoe is on the other foot, you're all about the process. the bottom line is there are two congressional committees conducting a review and they are looking at the relevant information and talking to the relevant people. to your point about the process, we have made individuals available and encouraged individuals to testify or to meet with or to discuss with that have been approached. so i think that what we are doing is -- i know you disagree, but i think we'reoing the responsible thing by making sure documents and materials are showing people what the appropriate classifications and appropriate settings are and i think that's the responsible way of handling this. >> sean? >> yes.
>> thanks very much. >> i have two questions, one on venezuela. with respect to venezuela, because today the supreme court of venezuela said they decided to take over the [ inaudible ] and there is a coup under way. do you consider that there's a coup under way in venezuela and what can we expect the united states to do? and the other question is on climate change. president obama signed a bilateral climate deals with brazil, china and india. >> well, on the first one, respectfully, i would refer you to the state department. the only supreme court i'm focused on right now is ours and getting judge neil gorsuch confirmed by the senate. so i'd be glad -- i think the state department is a more appropriate venue discuss the activities. and second, when it comes to things like the paris treaty, like mentioned at the outset,
that is being -- >> those are [ inaudible ]. >> i understand. but i think that there are things that we'll have updates for on all of these things as we move forward i have nothing on that subject. >> thank you, sean. >> yeah. >> "the wall street journal" reported this morning that the trump administration is proposing more modest changes to nafta. for example, the leading arbitration of trade disputes in place, et cetera, et cetera is the white house backing away from some of the more sweeping changes to nafta that the president proposed during the campaign? >> i'd just argue that robert whiis not even appointed. there's nothing in that report that we're confirming. that is not an accurate assessment of where we are at this time and i think our goal is to get robert lighthizer appointed and then when we have
that, we'll have more about the nafta and trade agreement. with that, i'm going to say good-bye. i'll see you tomorrow. i'm sorry. i promised two days in a row. >> foreign policy and domestic policy. the question is, many republicans were critical of how president obama had handled the iranian revolution years ago. my question is, is this something that the administration feels its role should be regarding that? >> i'm not going to -- that's a hypothetical question to talk about what would happen and if. when it comes to protests, we obviously encourage, as we did last sunday, the peaceful -- the government of russia to allow the peaceful protests of individuals throughout their country. we obviously support the people to have a voice in every government throughout the world. >> and on the subject of partisanship and obstructionism, whose responsibility does the president feel it is to put an
end to partisanship and who needs to be reaching out to whom proactively? >> i think it's a two-way street. part of it is the predent and first lady extended an invitation for everyone to come. we saw a third of senate democrats to come. i wish we had seen more. there's an opportunity to engage in the discussions and come together. when you look at this fight on gorsuch, there are -- i don't disagree with the fact that if you're a democrat, you probably don't necessarily agree with some of the rulings and philosophies of judge gorsuch. i get that. but at the end of the day, the filibuster has never been the norm. it hasn't. and it is odd to see that these individuals, who have -- it's one thing to vote no. it's one thing to say we don't agree. but to now turn to filibustering or threatening a filibuster senate is unbelievably qualified
people and there's nobody that i'm aware of, even on the left, that is suggesting that judge gorsuch isn't qualified to serve as a supreme court justice. republicans in the past have allowed democrat presidents to have their nominees voted on up or down and for the most part, when you go back to president obama or president clinton, republicans have joined with democrats to allow people who are qualified to go into the court and to see this new precedent be formed by leader schumer is disappointing. there was something in the papers today, you are fundamentally changing how the senate is going to operate by doing this. that's an important -- you know, they can disagree with him philosophically. i get that. but when you have an election, you can assume that a republican president is going to choose republicans for appointments and for federal judgeships and the democrats will do the same with their time in office. but it was obama's, you know,
nominees that got through all with republican support. and it's difficult to understand why, when you've got someone as eminently qualified as gorsuch, this is the stake they want to drive. and it further sets a partisan divide in our country when we can't allow people who are qualified and universally so to get on the bench. >> is that from the president's side? >> i think so, sure. but i think it's a two-way street. i would ask you what is -- i remember a few years ago there was all this talk from the get-go of obama, democrats made hey about how they wanted to see him as a one-term president. i've seen a similar tactic from democrats, how they want to defeat him and not work with this president. we have seen a willingness to bring them together. it's amazing how many senators, when you talk to them over the course of the last, you know, almost 70 days, have said i've been to the white house more in
the last 70 days in the trump administration than i was during eight years during the obama administration and i think that speaks to the president's dire to bring people together and find common ground on areas of mutual agreement where we can move the country forward. thank you. i'll see you tomorrow. >> all right. let's take it. you're watching cnn. i'm brook baldwin. a couple of headlines coming out of the briefing but the biggy, the white house not confirming nor denying this explosive report out of t"the new york times" that they got help from white house officials to see information, to see this report related to president trump's tweet claiming that he was under surveillance. let me back up. we talked a lot about this. devin nunes has been raising eyebrows on this secret rendezvous. you remember that day. he took that information to the press and then went on to the
white house, took the information to the president before alerting members of his own committee. but so far, no evidence of that. and chairman nunes will not reveal his sources. he is under fire for compromising the integrity of his committee's investigation. now, "the new york times" reporting is not just one but two white house officials, including someone from the national security council who was brought into the white house by the now fired national security adviser michael flynn. let's first get to jef zeleny who covers all things white house for us. my goodness. a couple of jedi questions. but first, sean spicer didn't want to give up names, process, sources, nothing. >> brook, this is a very significant briefing today. this will take a while to sort through sean spicer's answers. i can tell you that. this certainly raises more questions about this entire last situation over the last two weeks or so.
the fact that the white house is inviting the top members of the house and senate intelligence committee over here to the white house complex to look at more information certainly begs the question, why didn't they do that in the first place as opposed to only having the house intelligence committee chairman, a republican over, to look at it in a quiet matter and then have the dramatic announcement the next day. sean spicer said he did not know, he would have to get more information about whether the president had been briefed on all of this new information. brook, to me, that raises the question again, was the president surprised the afternoon that devin nunes came here to the white house to present him that information. it certainly was presented as a surprise. i was in the briefing room that day. i later asked the president if he felt vindicated. he said somewhat. now with all of this other information that's coming out, brook, it's beginning to look
like in fact that may not be a surprise at all and raises questions on all of this. so now we'll see how the intelligence officials, the ranking members and the chairman on both the house and senate side, how they respond to this. if they come over to the white house and look at this information or not. but i detected a different tone from sean spicer. he was not as combative. it looked to me like he was explaining something that he had just sort of learned about and i think this is a very significant day here, brook. >> agree. agree. jeff zeleny, thank you so much. let's talk now to manu raju who apparently has spoken with manu. you talked with chairman nunes. has he responded to this explosive report from "the new york times"? >> reporter: well, he has not responded to this report because the only thing they've said from his office is that they are not going to discuss any of the
sources or comment on that. nunes has left the building. the house is out of session. sean spicer once again refused to say whether or not anyone from the white house authorized mr. nunes to come on the white house grounds, review this intelligence information which he later briefed the president on. i asked him repeatedly, can you just rule out, say was not way or another whether a white house official is involved and he would not respond. take a listen. why can't you answer that question? >> i'm not going to answer that question or any more questions, guys. unless you have something new, there's just nothing -- >> reporter: but there's a lot of questions still about what happened here. >> you guys are free to do all the stories that you want. and i appreciate that. but our investigation continues and that's how it is.
>> reporter: now, earlier this week, nunes told wolf blitzer this, that it was, quote, not the case that someone in the administration was coordinating the release of the information and then as more questions emerged about him getting on the grounds, reading this information, he would not rule out or say whether someone in the white house was involved. so a lot of questions are still surrounding this. now, the question going forward is whether or not the house intelligence committee can actually carry through with this russia investigation. nunes did meet earlier today with adam schiff, the top democrat on the committee, schiff telling reporters that he's prepared to move forward and also noted that it was a rather tense meeting, not saying whether or not they discussed this very controversial episode of mr. nunes reviewing this information and briefing the president of the united states on clearly a lot of questions that devin nunes has not
answered yet. namely, who is his source and if the white house was involved, brook. >> thank you for grabbing mr. nunes last night. i'm glad you brought up the wolf interview. it's important to point out, one of the questions that was asked on monday, did you meet with the president or any of his aides while you were there, there being at the white house last night. his answer, no. and i'm quite sure people on the west wing had no idea i was there. let me bring in my panel. gloria borger, there's a lot to go through. you kept hearing sean spicer use this word obsessed or obsession, saying, we're not as obsessed with process as we are with substance. but i want you to tell me, why does process matter? why does the who here, the sources here matter if, ak0irdiak0ir according to "the new york times," two high-ranking white house officials, which you talk to critics of the white house and they would say this screams coverup. >> right. go back two weeks ago. the president tweeted and said that he had been wiretapped. and the white house changed that
to the president had been surveilled. okay. devin nunes has been going out of hits way to try and say that, you know, perhaps he was, perhaps people's names were unmasked. here's the question of the day. did white house staffers help devin nunes get classified information to try and proof that donald trump was right. and that, to me, is not a process question. to me, it's a substantive question because we have been told, in fact by sean spicer, that the notion that anybody from the white house would have helped devin nunes doesn't pass the smell test. we were told that earlier this month. the second question is -- and jeff zeleny alluded to this before -- was what did the -- i hate to use the old phrase, what did the president know and when
did he know it? >> it's a great question. >> when he was informed of this information and told jeff that he had felt vindicated, had he actually known about it before? there's a question here about whether the white house orchestrated this, kind of set devin nunes up in a way and presented him with this information to set him down a d divergent path to talk about issues except for the issues that his committee is supposed to be investigating. >> which is russia. >> which is russia. >> yep. >> so sean spicer was trying to deflect all of these questions as, you know, a bunch of process questions. we've invited the committee folks up here to look at the actual substance. >> yep. david, let's go back to what the president told fox. that information would be coming out the following week. the president knew this was coming. >> uh-huh. >> i think so. but, you know, there's a lot of
different moving parts and a lot of people saying different things on this. to me, the most significant part of the this sean spicer briefing today is that he did not outright deny "the new york times" story that says two white house officials facilitated this information, this intelligence to devin nunes. sean spicer has had no problem coming out of that briefing podium every day and castigating false reports. he did it with "the washington post" involving sally yates. he did not do that today. in fact, in one of his exchanges he said it's important when we get new information to provide that information to the appropriate people. now, that's a vague answer. to me, that was a tell that says, hey, it is okay for the white house to provide information to the chair of the house intelligence committee and maybe it isn't relevant intelligence that does show improper surveillance. we don't know that yet. you know, that is the question. i think the other question is
why he is sharing this information with other members of the intelligence committee. i think that's going to be the committee that haunts the house inquiry and why that inquiry has become so hyperpoliticized. >> one of the other great questions from the briefing came from one of the reporters that if one of these said white house officials was in fact a high-ranking official on the national security committee, why then would this person do potentially political bidding if that person wasn't functioning at the white house in that capacity. larry noble, let me get you in about sean spicer saying you all are obsessed with process. you agree that it matters tremendously? >> yes. the process is very important because it goes to the credibility of the information and the credibility of the committee and the work it's going to do and the credibility of what the white house is talking about. process is really important. what was ironic about it is he said we're not interested in
process but what they are asking to be investigated is the process by which other leaks took place. so process is part of the whole system. they have to realize that. two other things struck me about this. one is, gloria said the deflection issue. they've made this all about the leaking of the information, which is an important issue. but they really do obviously want to avoid the talking about the involvement of russia. and then the third thing -- and this is, i guess, more of a perspective issue, i have the feeling watching this that you're seeing once again in realtime the collapse of what looks like a coverup. they say this process is important and what they are doing is the most important and the information will eventually get out. i think if history teaches us anything, it will eventually get out. the question will be, will the house committee have any credibility of getting that information, will we have to go
to a special committee or special counsel? i think they are playing a foolish game at this point of trying to prevent information from getting out and trying to deflect the questions to ones of how it happened. >> how about the ethnics of it, larry. "the new york times" is reporting that the senior for intel and this lawyer that works on national security issues, if these two were at all involved, this is a massive no-no. this is a violation? >> it very well may be. >> may very well be? >> yes. we don't know specifically what happened but if what they did was used for political information and what they did was give it to chairman nunes for political information, they have a serious problem