tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN August 2, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
members of congress will have a choice to make. they can either vote with the interests of u.s. citizens and u.s. workers, or they can vote against their interests and whatever happens as a result of that, i think, would be somewhat predictable. let me go to john and come back. >> how do you wedge this into an already jam packed legislative calendar? >> well, ultimately, we're going to have to have conversations with senate leadership and house leadership about the steps forward. but this is an issue that we campaigned on. the american people voted for it by electing donald j. trump as their president and that is of enormous importance to the american economy because again, we're protecting blue-collar workers, and we're bringing in workers who can add to the economy. and so i really think this is a -- it's a really historic moment that happened today. again, the biggest proposed change that would take place in 50 years at a time in which you have automation that is replacing a lot of jobs in the united states, you have american workers without high school
diplomas who have very low participation rates in the labor force, and then you're bringing in workers to compete directly against the workers who are either losing their jobs to automation or who can't find work because there's not enough jobs for workers in our own country without education. and so particularly, i mean, go to an american city that has labor force problems. wherever that may be. say detroit. how is it fair or right or proper that if, say, you open up a new business in detroit that the unemployed workers of detroit are going to have to compete against an endless flow of unskilled workers for the exact same jobs, reducing pay for those positions, and reducing their chances of getting those jobs while at the same time ultra-high-skilled workers are on the back of the line to get into the country. it makes no sense. the numbers are too large, and the numbers of low skilled workers in particular is a major detriment to u.s. workers. so i think the more we have this conversation publicly and ask america who ought to get a green
card in this country, the more momentum there's going to be. the more support there's going to be, and our message to folks in congress is, if you are serious about immigration reform, then ask yourselves, what's in the best interest of americans and american workers and ultimately this has to be a part of that. let's go to glen. >> two quick questions. first of all, let's have some statistics. there have been a lot of studies out there that don't show a correlation between low skilled immigration and the loss of jobs for native workers. cite for me, if you could, one or two studies with specific numbers that prove the correlation between those two things because your entire policy is based on that. and secondly, i have sources that told me about a month ago that you guys have sort of elbowed infrastructure out of the way to get immigration on the legislative queue. tell me why this is more important than infrastructure. >> the latter statement isn't true. i think the most recent study i will point to is the study from george borhas that he just did
about the boat lift and he went back and re-examined and opened up the old data and talked about how it actually did reduce wages for workers who were living there at the time. and he's of course done enormous amounts of research on this, as has the peter kersenow on the american civil rights commission. >> how about the national -- >> the recent study said that as much as $300 billion a year may be lost as a result of our current immigration system in terms of folks drawing more public benefits than they're paying in. but let's also use common sense here, folks. at the end of the day, why do special interests want to bring in more low skilled workers. >> i'm not asking for common sense. i'm asking for specific statistical data. >> i think it's pretty clear you're not asking for common sense. if i could answer your question. >> common sense is wonderful. >> i named the studies, glen. >> let me finish the question. >> glen, i named the studies. i named the studies. >> i asked you for a statistic. can you tell me how many -- >> maybe we'll make a carveout
in the bill that says "the new york times" can hire all the less skilled low paid workers from other countries and see how you feel about low wage substitution. maybe it's time we had compassion, glen, for american workers. president trump has met with american workers who have been replaced by foreign workers. >> i'm not questioning any of that. i'm asking for statistics. >> ask them how this has affected their lives. >> i'm asking you for statistics. the number of low skilled jobs that americans might otherwise have. >> first of all, if you look at the premise, glen, of bringing in low-skilled labor, it's based on the idea that there's a labor shortage for lower skilled jobs. there isn't. the number of people living in the united states in the working ages who aren't working today is at a record high. one in four americans or almost one in four americans between the ages of 25 and 54 aren't even employed. for african-american workers, their labor force participation rate who don't have a high school diploma --
african-american males without a high school diploma has plummeted. i will use common sense. the reason why some companies want to bring in more unskilled labor is because they know that it drives down wages and reduces labor costs. our question is as a government is, to whom is our duty. our duty is to u.s. citizens and u.s. workers to promote rising wages for them. if low-skilled immigration was an unalloyed good for the economy, then why have we been growing at 1.5% for the last 17 years at a time of unprecedented new low wage arrivals. the facts speak for themselves. at some point, we're accountable to reality. on the other hand, like i said, you have ultra-high-skilled workers who are at the back of the line which makes no sense in the year 2017. neil, let me go to you. >> here's a fairly simple question.
>> are you now targeting the black unemployment rate that is traditionally and historically higher than the average american? are you looking at that? >> there's no doubt and it's very, very sad, and very unfair that immigration policy, both legal and illegal over last several decades, this has a deleterious impact on african-american employment in general and certainly african-american males and it's been quite tragic and we as a country have to have a conversation about that. >> so, one of the arguments made against this bill is that large-scale immigration will increase the total number of jobs. senator graham, for example, said he wants more immigration to bring in more restaurant jobs, more resort jobs, bed cleaning jobs and such like. is it better for this country to have more jobs or higher wages and higher productivity for americans. >> well, i think at the end of the day, president trump's been clear that he's a pro-high-wage president. he ran as a pro-high-wage candidate and that's what this policy will accomplish. at the same time, to the point about economic growth, we're
constantly told that unskilled immigration boosts the economy, but again, if you look at the last 17 years, we just know from reality that's not true. and you look at wages, you can see the effects there. if you look at the labor force, you can see the effects there and so again, we're ending unskilled chain migration, but we're also making sure that the great inventors of the world, the great scientists of the world, that people who have the next great piece of technology can come into the united states and compete in a competitive application process, a points-based system that makes sense in the year 2017. let me go to you. >> two questions. one, you did personalize it with the "new york times," so normally this wouldn't be a question but will the trump organization stop bringing in foreign workers on visa programs to set an example for other businesses in the interim before this bill becomes law? >> well, as you know, the only way to have immigration policy work is it has to be national.
it has to be uniform. you can't have different rules and different procedures for different companies. this bill, of course, doesn't deal with guest workers and temporary non-immigrant visas, which is, i think, what you're asking about and that's a separate thing. but the president was clear, if you go back and look at his debate on this during the primary where he said as a businessman, my responsibility is to operate my business according to the laws of the united states as they exist. he said, as president, my responsibility is to pass laws that make sure we have an immigration system that prioritizes american workers. he said that throughout the campaign. and he said it as a candidate and he said it now. but just as a technical matter, you're talking about a different aspect of the immigration system. today we're talking about the green card system but it's a good question. >> my second question. >> hold on a second. >> thank you, stephen. just to take the question in another direction, "usa today" and others have shown that over the last seven years, there's been a negative flow of immigration across the southern border and of course unemployment is at, perhaps, a ten-year low right now. so, will there be enough workers
in the southwest states if this policy were to go into effect. >> well, yeah, i think we're talking about different things and i appreciate the question. net migration overall has been at a record pace. you're talking, i think, just about some questions about net migration illegally across the southern border. we're talking today about green card policy. every year, we issue a million more green cards, and it just keeps adding on every year after year. and so the supply of foreign labor is at a record high. i think the foreign-born population right now is 45 million. i think there's 25 million foreign workers in the united states. all right. right there. >> thank you, stephen. two questions for you. first, does the trump administration plan to defend the daca program that texas and eight other states bring a lawsuit challenging it in court. >> we are not going to make an announcement on that today because there is ongoing litigation, and doj and dhs are
reviewing that but whatever we do is going to prioritize the interests of american citizens and workers. >> you've talked about the australian policy. can you speak more specifically about what the administration likes and also how that extends into things like family sponsorship. you mentioned bringing in elderly relatives, for example, who might not be productive, yet in australia, adult children can sponsor their parents to immigrate. so which elements of the policy are you choosing that you might like to use. >> we looked at the australian system, the canadian system. we took things we liked. we added things that made sense for america and where we are as a country right now. one of the things that i think is most compelling about the australian system is the efforts to make sure that immigrants are financially self-sufficient. and make sure they're able to pay for their own health care and things of that nature and that's certainly one of the things we took from that and obviously the points-based system that canada has has a lot to recommend it and actually we took that and added things that were all new to it and make sure
that we have a highly competitive application process. there's 7 billion people in the world. the question of who gets that golden ticket needs to be a discerning process that makes sense. again, in an environment in which you have this huge pool of unemployed labor in the united states and you're spending massive amounts of money, putting our own workers on welfare, doesn't it make sense economically to say, let's get our own workers, immigrant and u.s.-born off of welfare into the labor market earning a living wage, able to pay into taxes instead of bringing in lower wage substitutes while at the same time ensuring that the inventors, the innovators and the scientists are able to come into our country and add to our economy and our gdp but not as substitutes for americans. >> can you respond to some of the critics within your own party who say, well, what we really should be focused on is comprehensive immigration reform in order to really tackle the problem in a serious way. and secondly, what do you say to those who say this just
separates families, cutting. >> actually, legislation for folks who are already here, they are able -- who have pending family. >> based sponsorships, they're grandfathered in. point two is that beyond the immediate family members that are covered in the bill, i.e., your minor children and your spouses, your other relatives can come in. they just have to come in through the points-based system. >> question about comprehensive immigration reform. some republicans say we should be focused on comprehensive immigration reform instead of a sliver of the problem in order to really address the broader root problem with immigration. why not tackle it from that standpoint? >> let me ask a hypothetical and i mean it in all sincerity. let's say that we had introduced a 2,000-page comprehensive immigration reform bill. would we be having this conversation today about green card policy? i suspect we wouldn't be.
i think it's time that we forced the conversation on to this core issue. i know the president feels that it's enormously advantageous to have a conversation about this core aspect of immigration reform because it does receive to little discussion and yet it's so enormously important. >> follow-up, stephen. >> let's go to you. >> thank you, stephen. you mentioned lawmakers had a choice to make. is president trump going to make this a campaign issue next year? >> well, i mean, we're making it an issue, period, starting, well, he started in the campaign when he was running, but as far as a real push for change, that begins in earnest, aggressively, starting today, and i do think, you know, i just work on the policy side, but i do think that voters across the country are going to demand these kinds of changes, because again, of the effects it has on their lives and communities, and this is overwhelmingly popular and i challenge any news organization
here, do a poll, ask these questions, do you think we should favor applicants to our country who speak english, yes or no. do you think that we should make sure that workers who come into our country don't displace existing american workers. do you think people who come into our country should receive welfare or be financially self-sufficient. do you think we should prioritize people based on skill. do you think that we should reduce overall net migration. do you think we should have unlimited family chain migration. ask any of these questions, look at the polls, look at the results you'll get in your own news organizations and they'll be very clear. >> first, follow-up question regarding the president's talked a lot about immigration reform and this has been held up in the past. he has the power today to take personal action on this by changing the way his trump properties, mar-a-lago and others, bring in unskilled foreign workers, displacing as we talked about the large numbers of americans who are looking for work in these states. so, is the president planning on taking that action? and secondly, does this signal that the white house does not believe that any sort of comprehensive action on immigration is possible with
this congress, that immigration needs to be tackled in a piecemeal fashion going forward. >> again, just as a technical matter, you're talking about non-immigrant guest worker visas and this legislation deals with green cards, i.e., permanent immigration, so they're two totally separate categories, but i'll refer everyone here today back to the president's comments during the primary when he said, my job as a businessman is to follow the laws of the united states. and my job as president is to create an immigration system that works for american workers. and that's one of the reasons why i think americans so deeply admire president trump is because they see every day he's not working for himself. he's said over and over again, i've been very successful. i've had a great life. now i'm here to work for the american people, but for any immigration system to be functional and to work, it has to be uniform across the board. one standard for everyone. >> how close the president is to getting a nominee for dhs and can you add if this legislation
is not moving by the end of the year, how much is it possible for you to do through executive action, if any. >> well, i certainly think that on the administrative action front, you can tighten up -- continue to tighten up enforcement on visa rules and standards and i think that's certainly something that we'd be looking at doing. but we'd like to create a permanent change to our immigration system that will endure through time, that will still be in place many decades from now. and that's what this legislation would accomplish. and i would just, again, encourage everyone to understand the depth of this change, what president trump has done today is one of the most important legislative moves that we've seen on this issue in many, many years. the president of the united states said, i am taking a stand today for american workers and the american economy, and we're putting american families first
on immigration. we're saying our compassion, first and foremost, is for struggling american families and our focus is on the national interest. that is a major event, and all of your news organizations should take a hard look at the polls on these questions and see where folks are, and you'll see that this is an issue that's supported by democrats, independents, and republicans across the board. one last question and then i'll hand it back to sarah. >> stephen, what about -- >> two questions. i'm getting a lot of energy from up front here. >> if this is so huge and major, you make it sound so enormously important, why did the senators who were with the president today call it modest and incremental? is it modest and incremental. and aside from that, you seem to be suggesting this is immigration reform. does this come even close to stemming illegal immigration for the president? >> well, so, of course, the answer is, is that it's the divide between how americans think about immigration and how
washington thinks about immigration. so, to everyday americans, this is the most rational, modest, common sense basic thing you can do. of course you shouldn't have foreign workers. >> so it is modest and incremental. >> of course you shouldn't have foreign workers displacing american work erkers. >> an incremental sea change. >> just depends what lens you're looking at it through. i guarantee you, go to, say, like a couple papers and see what they think about it. they'll see it as a c change. talk to an everyday guy in the street and he'll say, this is the most common sense thing or she'll say, this is the most common sense thing that i've seen in my entire life and it's right down, straight, the center of american politics and american political views. so i take one last question. who has the best last question? all right, so, i'll do -- for the last question, right here. >> thank you. i appreciate it. and i thank you very much for coming out here and talking to us on camera. i'd like to ask you if you've
recently spoken to your old boss and the rift between president trump and attorney general jeff sessions. >> that's not why i'm here today but if i remember what sarah huckabee sanders said, the president has confidence in all his cabinet and expects them to perform his duties. but since the last question is not on the subject at hand, i will take one actual last question on the subject at hand. >> what you're proposing or what the president's proposing here does not sound like it's in keeping with american tradition when it comes to immigration. the statue of liberty says, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, doesn't say anything about speaking english or being able to be a compute programmer. aren't you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you're telling them, you have to speak english, can't people learn how to speak english when they get here? >> well, first of all, right now, it's a requirement that to
be naturalized you have to speak english so the notion that speaking english wouldn't be a part of immigration systems would be very ahistorical. secondly, i don't want to get off into a whole thing about history, but the statue of liberty is a symbol of american liberty lighting the world. the poem that was added later is not a part of the original statue of liberty. but more fundamentally -- >> you're saying that does not represent what the country has always thought of as generations coming into this country. that sounds like some national park revisionism. >> what i'm asking you is -- >> the statue of liberty has always been a beacon of hope to the world for people to send their people to this country. >> jim, do you believe -- >> they're not always going to speak english, stephen. they're not always going to be highly skilled or -- >> jim, i appreciate your speech. so, let's talk about this. >> it was a modest and incremental speech.
>> in 19 p 0, wh70, when we let 300,000 people, was that violating or not violating the statue of liberty. in the 1990s, when it was 500,000, was it violating the law of the land. tell me what years -- tell me what years meet jim acosta's definition of the statue of liberty poem law of the land. you're saying 1 million a year is the statue of liberty. >> you're sort of bringing a press 1 for english philosophy here to immigration and that's never been what the united states has been about, stephen. >> you're also -- your statements also shockingly ahistorical in another respect too. if you look at the history of immigration, it's actually ebbed and flowed. we've had periods of large waves followed by periods of less immigration and more immigration. >> right now, the president wants to build a wall and you want to bring about a sweeping
change. >> surely, jim, you don't think that a wall affects green card policy. you couldn't possibly believe that. the notion that you actually think immigration is at a historic lull, the foreign-born -- >> talking about how border crossings were. >> i want to be serious. do you really at cnn not know the difference between green card policy and illegal immigration. are you really don't know that? >> he came to this country in 1962 right before the cuban missile crisis and obtained a green card. yes, people who immigrated to this country can eventually -- people who immigrate to this country not through ellis island, there are other ways, do obtain a green card at some point, they do it through a lot of hard work and yes, they may learn english as a second language later on in life but this whole notion of they have to learn english before they get to the united states, are we just going to bring in people from great britain and australia? >> i have to say, i am shocked
at your statement that you think that only people from great britain and australia would know english. it's all -- it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree that in your mind -- no, this is an amazing moment. this is an amazing moment. that you think only people from great britain or australia would speak english is so insulting to millions of hardworking immigrants who do speak english from all over the world. jim, have you honestly never met an immigrant from another country who speaks english outside of great britain and australia? is that your personal experience? >> of course there are people who come in from other parts of the world. >> that's not what you said and it shows your cosmopolitan bias. >> just sounds like you're trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country. >> that is one of the most outrageous, ignorant, insulting things you've ever said and for you, that's still a really -- the notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong.
>> i didn't say it was racist. >> jim, the reality is, is that the foreign-born population into our country has quadrupled since 1970. that's a fact. it's been mostly driven by green card policy. this bill allows for immediate nuclear family members to come into the country, much as they would today, and then it adds an additional points-based system. the people who have been hurt the most -- the people who have been hurt the most by the policy you're advocating -- >> what policy am i advocating? >> apparently just unfete everyda -- unfettered, uncontrolled migration. the people who have been hurt the most by the policy you're advocating are immigrant workers and minority workers and african-american workers and hispanic workers. >> are you targeting the african-american community? you've brought it up again. you said you want to have a conversation and not target. is it going to be a targeted -- you're saying the african-american community, are
you going to target? i'm not trying to be funny. but you keep saying that. >> what you're saying is 100% correct. we want to help unemployed african-americans in this country and unemployed workers of all backgrounds and insinuations like jim made, trying to ascribe nefarious motives to compassionate immigration reform is wrong. this is a positive, optimistic proposal that says ten years, 20 years, 30 years from now. >> you called me ignorant on national television. >> we want to have an immigration system that takes care of the people who are coming here and the people who are already living here by having standards, by having a real clear requirement that you be able to support yourself financially, be making sure that employers can pay a living wage. that's the right policy for our country and it's the president's commitment to taking care of american workers. i apologize, jim, if things got heated but you did make some pretty rough insinuations. so thank you.
>> i don't know what you mean by rough insinuations. >> i'll hand it over to sarah. i think that went exactly as planned. i think that's what sarah was hoping would happen. i think that was exactly what we were hoping to have happen. thank you. >> thank you, stephen. i want to transition back. should be pretty fun. simple. thank you. that was exciting. throughout this week, we've been talking about the american dream and all that it signifies for people of all ages and nationalities. this morning, counselor to the president, kelleyanne conway, and adviser to the president, ivanka trump, hosted a listening session with military spouses on the unique challenges they face in finding and maintaining employment to support their families. and yesterday, we hosted over 100 small businesses for a discussion on how they help to keep the american dream alive for millions of workers around the country. as i mentioned last week, i want
to take time to recognize people from around the country that write in and ask the president questions, and today, i wanted to read you a special letter to the president from someone who embodies the enterprising and ambitious spirit of america. frank from falls church, virginia, wrote, dear mr. president, it would be my honor to mow the white house lawn for some weekend for you. even though i'm only 10, i'd like to show the nation what young people like me are ready for. i admire your business background and have started my own business. i've been mowing my neighbors' lawns for some time. please see the attached flyer. here's a list of what i have and you're free to pick whatever you want, power mower, push mower and weed whacker. i can bring extra fuel and batteries. he'll do that with no charge. sincerely, frank. frank, i'm happy to report back to you that i just spoke with the president, he wanted me to be sure and tell you you're doing a great job and keep working hard.
he also asked me, we found out when we called to let you know we would be reading this letter to wish you a happy birthday. i think frank went from 10 to 11 in the time that we received and were able to respond to this letter, and he also wanted me to invite you to spend a morning here at the white house with the grounds keeper. the grounds keeper, we've talked to them, and they'd love to show you how the u.s. parks service maintains the 18 acres of the white house complex and he'd love to give you the opportunity to cut the grass in the rose garden. it's our responsibility to keep the american dream alive for kids like frank. immigrants who are already here and those who dream of immigrationi immigrating here in the future. with that, i'll take your questions. >> does the president believe that white applicants to college are the victims of discrimination? >> i'm sorry? >> does the president believe that white applicants to college are the victims of discrimination? >> i'm not aware of that opinion at all. i certainly haven't had that conversation or have any reason to -- >> can you explain why the
justice department's civil right division is devoting its limited time and resources. >> quite an accusatory question but aid i'd be happy to respond. "the new york times" article is based on uncorroborated sources. while the white house does not confirm or deny the existence of potential investigations, the department of justice will always review credible allegations of discrimination on the basis of any race. i don't have anything further on that. >> why did the president say that he received a phone call from the leader of the boy scouts and the president of mexico when he did not? did he lie? >> no. on mexico, he was referencing a conversation that they had had at the g20 summit where they specifically talked about the issues that he referenced. in terms of the boy scouts, multiple members of the boy scout leadership, following his speech there that day, congratulated him, praised him, and offered quite -- i'm looking
f for the word -- quite powerful compliments. >> but the president specifically said that he received a phone call. >> they were direct conversations, not phone calls. >> so he lied. >> it wasn't a lie. that's pretty bold accusation. it's -- the conversations took place. the they just simply didn't take place over a phone call. he had them in person. >> sarah, if i could ask a couple of questions about russia. the prime minister has weighed in on the president's signing of the sanctions, saying that this proves that the trump administration is, quote, utterly powerless and ends hopes for better ties. what's the white house response to that. >> look, this morning, the president signed the countering america's adversaries through sanctions act. the president favors tough measures to punish and deter the bad behavior of the rogue regimes in iran and north korea and he also sent a clear signal that we won't tolerate
interference in our democratic process by russia. the bill was improved by congress has encroached on the power of the presidency and he signed it in the interest of national unity. we've been very clear that we support tough sanctions on all three of those countries. we continue to do so. and that has certainly not changed, and i think that was reflected in the statements today. >> one of the finer aspects of the bill and the findings that stated that russia did, in fact, try to interfere in the u.s. election. in the president's statement on this signing statement, he did not quibble with that. is that an indication that he does accept the finding that russia interfered in our election. >> the president's already said that himself directly at the press conference in poland. he doesn't dispute the fact that russia was and he said that in poland at the press conference that i believe you were present for. >> one more, i said on monday that when you had something to say about the russian action on 755 diplomats, you would say something about it. do you have anything to say about it today. >> no, i don't, but when i do, i'll let you know. >> did president trump speak
with russia's president vladimir putin prior to signing the bill or at all today. >> no. >> that's definitive. that's confirmed. let me just ask you something about north korea. general mccaffrey said that, i think at some point, we are clearly going to take dramatic action short of war against north korea. can you respond to that? do you think that's an accurate characterization? can you tell us where the administration's thinking is right now when it comes to taking some type of military action against north korea to stop its provocations. >> as i've said many times before, we're not going to broadcast our actions and we're keeping all options on the table. >> i'll ask you the question i was going to ask stephen. the president said in a economist interview in may, he was asked whether he supports cutting the number of immigrants who can come here legally, and he said no. this bill today that he supports would cut the number of green cards issued by half. so, when did the president have a change of heart on this issue? >> i'd have to see the specific reference, but i know that the
president has talked pretty frequently about merit-based immigration reform, not just on the campaign trail but he's been talking about this for years, and i can't comment on a story i haven't seen specifically. >> lead to the reduction of total green card, so does he have a separate opinion about the number of green cards? >> i think stephen spoke pretty extensively on that and i don't have anything to add beyond that. >> the president, in signing this sanctions bill today, issued a signing statement, and in that signing statement, he said that the bill significantly flawed. he said that there are provisions in this bill that are clearly unconstitutional. why would he sign this bill if he felt so strongly that this bill inhibits his ability to act as the commander in chief and to carry out his duties as president. >> i think i spoke on this already, but primarily because the president favors tough measures to punish and deter the
bad behavior of the rogue regimes in iran and north korea, and he also sent a clear signal that we won't tolerate interference in our democratic process by russia. i also said that he signed it in the interest of national unity, and again, in support of -- there's no question that there isn't support for the principles of the bill. it's maybe just some of the process piece. >> does he also send a signal in signing this particular legislation that if another bill comes before his desk, that he also finds significantly flawed, and clearly unconstitutional, that he'd sign that legislation as well? >> i'm not going to speak about a hypothetical bill that we don't know and doesn't exist and whether or not the president's going to sign it. >> clear up some confusion. there were almost simultaneously two signing statements that went out. they had slightly different language. did you intend to send both out? >> it was actually one signing statement and one press statement so that's the difference. one's more of a legal document
that goes with the executive secretary and the other one's a press document. so that's the difference. >> i wanted to bring up some unfinished business. when you were named press secretary, because there was so much focus on the other announcement, that you only had a chance to talk about the job in one question. so i wanted to give you a chance to answer two questions that all of your predecessors have faced. the first one is, what is your overall approach to the job, especially in terms of balancing whether you're serving the president or serving the public. and secondly, do you see any circumstances where it's appropriate to lie from the podium? >> i'll take the second one first. absolutely not. i don't think it's appropriate to lie from the podium or any other place. on the first question, i think that the balance, my job is to communicate the president's agenda, the president's message and answer your questions on that as best that i can, as honestly as i requecan, and as transparent as i can possibly be
at any given moment. >> following up on the question about the position, what exactly is sean spicer's role in this administration at this point? and how much longer do you expect him to stay on staff? and then something on the signing statement. >> as he said, i believe it was, gosh, a week or so ago, the days all kind of run together now, but he was going to stay on in a transition process through august and nothing has changed. >> so that's not because of anthony scaramucci leaving. >> no, nothing's changed at this point. >> on the signing statement, one of the things it said was it would drive china, russia, and north korea much closer together, these sanctions. can you elaborate on that? because yesterday you suggested that china was both an alley and a partner. >> i don't have anything to comment beyond the signing statement itself. >> on dhs, should we expect a nomination when congress comes back and the second question is, lots of lawmakers, republicans on the hill and the business
community have been concerned that the president won't stay focused on tax reform, this is something they really want him to talk about, and you've just introduced immigration. you've got health care still hanging. is the president going to focus on all of those issues in the weeks ahead going into september or does he really want to showcase just one or two things. >> as we've said many times before, we can walk and chew gum at the same time and we can work on a multitude of issues at the same time. in terms of the dhs appointment, i don't have any personnel announcements at this time. >> this morning, new orleans mayor, president of the u.s. conference of mayors, took a shot at tom holman, the head of the immigration and customs enforcement. on june 28, right from that podium, mr. holman said, and i quote, most law enforcement officials in cities work with us
but many don't in the largest cities. and that's where criminal aliens and criminal gangs flourish. end of quote. the mayor this morning said he's wrong about that, that kind of rhetoric is not helpful and he added that police officers keep the streets safe irrespective of immigration status and do so all the time. your response to the mayor and his charge against someone who is mentioned frequently to be the next secretary of homeland security. >> look, i think tom has served our country well. he's been active in law enforcement, and i would certainly trust his opinion very confidently -- a lot of confidence in him and his ability, having been in a multitude of different positions within law enforcement, and been able to see it in a lot of different places, not just one location like the mayor, so i would certainly defer to tom on this issue. >> so then you would -- you trust him more than you would
the mayor on that issue? >> i think that's pretty safe to say. jim. >> yes, jeff flake, in a political magazine article, said the president was -- he suggested the president was a carnival barker and had eroded conservatism. is the president still thinking of helping to fund a $10 million challenge against senator flake and does he have any response to senator flake's comments. >> i'm not sure about any potential funding of a campaign, but i think that senator flake would serve his constituents much better if he was less focused on writing a book and attacking the president and writing legislation. >> two american soldiers were killed taoday in afghanistan. it's nine on the year. does the president know about this and does he feel any sense of urgency to implement a new plan. >> i can't comment on that at this time but i'll keep you posted. >> did president trump feel pressured into signing the russia sanctions bill. >> no, as i've said, the
president supports putting pressure on these three countries in particular, and so he supports the principle of it and wanted to take action in that course. >> follow-up. you were asked yesterday whether the president would weigh in on this question of cost sharing payments. can you put this to bed? will the administration continue making cost sharing payments or not. >> the csr payments are bailing out, at this point, a failed law that the president want to repeal and replace. since last year's campaign, the president has been clear that obamacare is a failed law. he's working with his staff and his cabinet to consider the issues raised by the csr payments, and without congress fulfilling its promise to american voters in repealing and replacing obamacare, insurers will continue to flee this failing system. we need real reform that actually lowers cost and provides more choice for americans and we'll keep you posted when we have a final announcement on that. >> did the president call the white house a dump? >> that was, first the fiery
exchange, especially with our own jim acosta there and stephen miller, deputy there at the white house and then of course followed by a number of topics with sarah huckabee sanders, a lot of questions on this russia sanctions bill, also imposing sanctions on north korea and iran. but before we get to that, i think we should start with this immigration policy, this proposal from the white house today that would essentially make the immigration policy, they're hoping to reduce legal immigration by 50%, proposing this merit-based or skill-based workers program. so let me begin with margaret, who is a white house correspondent, and beginning with you, this is all about, and also the fact that it was stephen miller delivering the message, you know, playing to the base 100%, but on the face of it, yes, his base supporters would love this and this is a campaign promise, but would this actually get the support necessary from republicans in congress. >> reporter: brooke, this is, as you know, all immigration proposals are controversial
proposals in the u.s. congress, and this is definitely no exception. you're right to note the timing. we're heading into the august recess. everyone from members of congress to president trump has got to reach their constituents and show them they're doing stuff they care about. that's what this does for now. but look, they saw it on health care reform. the tax legislation has to take front and center when they come back after the recess and there is one senator who once again will be crucial to all of this. it is one senator john mccain. as you know, he played aivi pivl role if the pictuhealth care de and john mccain, as we all know, undergoing cancer treatment right now and a champion of immigration reform that moves in the opposite direction. so, i think this would certainly be an uphill climb, but president trump is putting it out there. >> stay with me, everyone. we now have a microphone on jim
acosta. my cnn colleague and also a cuban-american. i know your back story. but perhaps stephen miller was not aware when the whole back and forth of the green card. jim, your questions were about being surprised that you would have to speak english to come here. what the heck did you make of that exchange. >> reporter: well, you can be cuban and cosmopolitan, brooke. i don't know what to tell you. i think when the white house has to resort to insulting reporters in that fashion -- and we've seen this time and again throughout the course of this administration, they're just really not advancing a terribly powerful argument. when somebody who is steeped in immigration policy knowledge like stephen miller is, he worked for jeff sessions for many years, they're very much on the anti-illegal immigration footing, you know, in terms of what their policy beliefs are and some critics say they are very much anti-legal immigration
and what you're seeing from this policy proposal today here at the white house, when they put in the policy proposal, brooke, that there's this prechference r people who speak english coming into the country, my question simply was, well, you know, what about what our statue of liberty tells us. we've welcomed generations of americans over the course of our history, many of those people, whether they came from ireland or germany or other parts of the world, latin america, you know, in recent times, those people don't always speak english. and so why is it that the white house is advancing a policy proposal that has this sort of english language speaking preference. you heard stephen miller say, well, when you're naturalized, you have to speak english. yes, when you're naturalized, you're at the very end of the immigration process and so i was simply trying to press him on some of those questions as to whether this sort of goes against this tradition of immigration in this country that we bring in all types of people, not necessarily people who are highly skilled who can -- who are computer programmers who
speak fluent english. there are people we bring into this country from all walks of life, from all income levels, from all language speaking abilities, because we're the united states of america. you know, i mentioned my father, my father came here three weeks before the cuban missile crisis in 1962. he was 11 years old, didn't speak any english. he tells me the story about how a teacher at his school in virginia sat down with him and patiently taught him english as he was growing up here in northern virginia. you know, i think this goes back to a problem that this white house has. remember when the president launched his campaign for president, he referred to mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. and that bias against latino immigrants has just sort of infected the president, some of his top officials who deal with this issue of immigration throughout that entire time period, and i think you saw some of that spill out in the briefing room today. >> let me just remind everyone, we cited this as well, from the statue of liberty, this was
precisely your original point. give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. jim, you know, you brought up illegal immigration but this whole proposal is about the goal of cutting legal immigration by 50%. do you think it goes anywhere or does it just fire up the base? >> reporter: well, you heard stephen miller say in his comments here, well, this is very popular in certain battle grounds states and so on, and so they do feel, and keep in mind, when you go back, i covered this campaign, brooke, you covered it as well, we were out there on the campaign trail in places like pennsylvania, ohio, wisconsin, michigan, that blue wall that president trump is very proud of the fact that he cracked on election night, there are people in those states who feel as though they've been displaced unfairly, economically in this country, and of course it is going to be a very powerful message if you have the president of the united states constantly blaming immigrants coming into this country for taking people's jobs away. and does the president come out and say that emphatically and does he say it overtly?
no, but when you hear the president make some of the comments that he makes about immigrants during the course of the campaign, talking about deportation forces and when you see stephen miller, a policy adviser to the president, talking about an english language preference for people coming into this country, it is a wink, it is a dog whistle to certain parts of this country that they are going to be looking at the racial and ethnic flow of immigrants coming into this country. i just think that's undeniable so i just wanted to remind him, this is what the statue of liberty says. we bring in people from all walks of life. it's what makes america great. it was already great because of immigrants in this country. >> jim accost osta, thank you s much. we were talking and then as we were listening to jim and sarah huckabee sanders, thinking of the why, why -- let me step back a step and say that they are making good on a promise on immigration. this is something that candidate trump championed day in and day
out on the trail so for your trump supporterers os out theres is great news. why is this happening now, in addition to that, the affirmative action story out of the "new york times," sarah huckabee sanders says it's incorrect. why now? >> a few different things. first of all, you look at what happened last week with the failed health care bill in the senate, that was a major campaign promise as well, undelivered. you have this tension between donald trump and jeff sessions who stephen miller used to work for. a very hard liner on immigration. trump's connection to the really conservative policy aspect of the base, that tension has created some issues. going back to kind of these principles of the base, principles of the campaign, it's a way for donald trump to show, look, i'm going without congress. i don't care what they're doing. this is my priority. the thing ais, with this kind o piece, you need support from congress. this is a piece of legislation,
and as margaret alluded to earlier, reports -- support among republicans, this is an issue that kind of divides the party in some respects on immigration, and there could be a way in a broader package, perhaps, to try to kind of needle democrats from the wisconsins, the michigans, elsewhere who are up for reelection in 2018 with this worker issue. the interesting thing, though, as we've been watching democrats, they haven't crossed the line. they haven't been fearful of this president on policy. they haven't had any political incentive to work with him on other things, so i don't see them doing that now. >> let me add, as we're thinking about the base and the core support among republicans versus maybe more moderate republicans, we saw this tweet, i'm going to come to you on this. senator lindsey graham said in his home state, the number one industry is agricultural tourism -- south carolina, number one industry is agricultural tourism. number two, if proposal were to become law, devastating to south
carolina economy which relies on this immigrant workforce. ann, thoughts on that. >> well, i mean, i think clearly, there's a tension here that this white house proposal for legislation doesn't address, which is, you know, what is both legal and illegal, and it is largely to fill jobs that go unfilled or less than fully filled otherwise. it's interesting that steven miller was premising the whole idea of this legislative proposal on the idea that it would serve under-employed and low education, low wage american workers as there was a question in the briefing on this, and there is a fundamental question whether that is factually true. there are studies that
absolutely do not support that in addition to the few that he appeared to cite that do. and, i mean, i think what graham is referring to there largely is the whole idea that you've got to have a large, mobile work force that isn't going to be paid a great deal in order to serve both the agriculture and the tourism industry. >> sure. >> and he's saying, look, somehow or other, we have to have people to do these jobs. >> so he needs a congressional support there. where he unquestionably got congressional support was in this russian sanctions bill which he apparently signed into law today. we heard the president earlier today call it flawed. you know, this was something that was veto-proof, and it seems to me, admiral kirby, that this is something -- we talk about the different branches of government, and you have to
listen to the legislative branch because they have a say, and this encroaches on the power of the president. what do you make of that and why this seemingly took so long? >> you talked about support from congress on this. he obviously would consider it unwelcome support. this is not a bill that i think he was all that interested in signing for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which you talked about the impingement on some of his executive authority. i want to believe, brooke, that the reason it took several days to sign this was because he had his lawyers poring over these authorities and what it meant so he could make a legal case for why the bill is flawed in that regard. i sure as heck don't want to think that he was delaying signing it because he was concerned about slapping these sanctions on putin. i have said for many days that i'm disappointed that he won't criticize putin directly and russia while everybody else does, but if he signed this bill, to me that was proof enough in my mind that he actually was willing to hold russia accountable. i'm glad he signed it.
i understand the concern over his executive authority, and i hope that's really the limit of his concerns over this, and then we can move past all this and continue to hold putin accountable. >> tim o'brien, what do you think? you've written the book on the man. >> i think the russia question is an interesting one because that is the background music to everything that's happening now. the investigation that's hung over the administration. i think the time of the bill comes at a time of efforts of this white house to shore up the base, divert people's attention to what the real issues are, and i think to ultimately roll the dice. john mccain is rearing his head again in this administration. they'll need him to get this bill through. they're probably not going to get him. he's a senator from arizona. like lindsey graham, you have migrant workers coming in and out of that state that the state
economy relies upon. i think it's a very strange choice for this white house to put steven miller out front again. he's a controversial person -- >> he's the bannon branch. >> remember, some of the first missteps this administration took was the extraordinary on banning migration from mostly muslim countries and steven miller was the flag bearer for that, i think, very flawed executive order. and now they're bringing him out again at a time when the administration has had enormous upheaval in the west wing. they've been unable to get obamacare repealed. they should be focusing on tax reform, which is another one of the things important to their base, and they throw this sort of bomb into the middle of the dialogue. it's not tied to legislation. they're actually going to be able to get through the congress, so why? i think the answer to the why is they're playing politics. >> kaitlyn hit on that, totally. >> i think it explains a lot. >> to your point it's august 2nd
right now. this is -- we talk about tax reform. i've covered the immigration bill in congress several years ago. there is very little appetite among members of congress to take up the divisive issue of immigration at this point in time when they want to figure out things on health care, on fixing the markets and on tax reform. >> let's move toward repealing and replacing obamacare and let them drop immigration. >> before we turn this over to washington, i want to make sure we have this conversation, because listening to the house secretary, she was pushing back on the report that maybe the trump administration was about to take affirmative action in colleges. >> does the president think white applicants to college are the victims of discrimination? >> i'm not aware of that opinion at all. i haven't had that conversation. >> can you explain why the
justice department has had a limited time for resources? >> the "new york times" is based on corroborative influences from a leak of interior posting on a violation of policy, and while the white house does not deny the existence of potential violations, the white house will always review potential violation on the basis of any race. >> let me bring in a few voices on this. joe e. jackson, brenda schrum for the lawyers committee of civil rights under law, and linda chavez, chairwoman for the women of equal opportunity. she has led this action for more than 30 years. welcome to all of you. i have four minutes and i know we need more time on this super-important topic, but linda, you welcome this approach, from what i understand? tell me why and do you think there is an anti-white bias in
college admissions? >> well, the question of racial preferences is not about anti-white bias. in fact, my organization has done studies of this for the last 20 years, and what we find is the group most discriminated against on the basis of racial preference are not whites but asian americans and occasionally some hispanics have some disadvantages as well. what is unfortunate is that this administration likes to throw dog whistles, does try to racialize everything, so naturally it's going to raise the hackles of everybody. my preference is that these programs serve as a disadvantage to those students whom they're intended to help. they result in mismatching of students, students are rewarded with lower grades and test scores and put in situations where they're less likely to graduate, their gpas are lower. for 20 years we've done more than two dozen studies of racial
admissions policies, and my concern is more about the black and hispanic students who will incur greater debt and be less likely to graduate as a result of these policies and asian students who also are kept out because of them. >> brenda, how do you see it? >> this move by the department of justice to assemble a team that intends to investigate and challenge race-based admissions simply perpetuates this myth that such policies are -- constitute i mpermissible race-based discrimination, and that's simply not true. i believe that, to the contrary, the supreme court just as recently as june of last year clearly decided that such admissions policies are constitutional. and this action represents the next step in what we believe to be an aggressive and strategic campaign to roll back the civil rights protections of a number of historically disadvantaged
students, including trans youth, women and girls, and of course students of color. i think that it's inappropriate for this department of justice to imply that the civil rights division has not historically investigated, adequately investigated, legitimate complaints of race-based discrimination, and there are many within the asian-american community which are wholly supportive of affirmative action policies and recognize that this is a politicized attempt to drive a wedge within the community of students of color. >> we have 40 seconds left on the show. is it time for joe e., guys? why are we heading over early? okay. joe e. jackson, my most profound of apologies to you. let's go to "the lead." the stock market hitting a
record high today as the president's approval ratings hit record lows. "the lead" starts right now. crisis of credibility. the white house trying again to clear up another potential disconnect as a new poll shows 62% of the american people say president trump is not honest. a harrowing close call after analysts say a missile test came crashing down near the flight path of a passenger plane. the latest from the powder keg that is north korea's nuclear program. plus, she's blaming the triumph of myth over truth. why a top official at the environmental protection agency said after 30 years, she just can't work there anymore. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. let's start with breaking news on our money lead. the dow close to hitting another record money-making high today. the dow is holding close to the