Sarah Huckabee Sanders
White House Briefing CSPAN August 15, 2018 7:38pm-7:59pm EDT
>> supreme court nominee judge brett kavanaugh testifies before the senate judiciary committee beginning tuesday, september 4. judge kavanaugh currently sits on the d.c. circuit court of appeals. judiciary committee chair, chuck grassley expects the hearing to last 3 to 4 days. watch it all live on c-span3, c-span.org or listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> white house press secretary, sarah sanders, today announced president trump was revoking the security clearance of john brennan. the former cia director under the obama administration. the statement from president trump came at the top of a press briefing for reporters at the white house. this is about 20 minutes.
>> [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. i would like to begin by reading a statement from the president. as the head of the executive branch and commander-in-chief, and i have the unique responsibility to protect classified information. including by protecting access. i decided to revoke the security clearance of john brennan former head of the intelligence agency.the former head of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after the government service. so that they can consult with their successors regarding matters. that which they may have
special insight and as a professional courtesy. neither of these justifications supports his continued access to classified information. first, at this point in my administration, any benefits that senior officials might glean from consultations with mr. brennan are now outweighed by the risks of his erratic behavior.the conduct and behavior has far exceeded the limits of any professional courtesy that may have been due to him. mr. brennan has a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility. in 2014 for example, he denied to congress that cia officials under his supervision, had improperly access the computer files of congressional staffers. he told the council on foreign relations that the cia would never do such a thing. the cia inspector general
however, contradicted mr. brennan directly. concluding unequivocally that agency officials had indeed improperly accessed congressional staffers files. more recently, mr. brennan told congress the intelligence community did not make use of the so-called steele dossier in an assessment regarding the 2016 election. an assertion contradicted by at least two other senior officials in the intelligence community and all of the facts. additionally, mr. brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations while on the internet and television about the ministration. mr. brennan's lying and recent conduct with increasing commentary and consistent with access to the nations most closely held secrets. and facilities. the very him of our adversaries, which is to so division and chaos. the larger question about the practice of former officials
maintaining access to our nations most sensitive secrets long after their time in government has ended. such access is particularly inappropriate when former officials have transitioned into highly partisan positions and ct is real or perceived access to sensitive information to validate their political attacks. any access granted to the nations secrets should be in furtherance of national not personal interest. for this reason i have begun to review the more general question of the access to classified information by government officials. as part of the view i'm evaluating action with respect to the following individuals. james klapper, james comey, michael hayden, sally yates, susan rice, andrew mccabe, peter strzok, lisa paige and bruce ohr. security clearances for those who still have the may be revoked. those who have already lost security clearance may not be able to have it reinstated. it is for the foregoing reason that i have exercised my constitutional authority to deny mr. brennan access to
classified information. i will direct appropriate staff at the national security council to make the necessary arrangements of the appropriate agencies to implement this determination. with that, i will take your questions. >> seems like everybody you mentioned has been a political critic of the president. i see going after his political opponents with this? >> no, there were others that we deemed necessarily we would take a look and reviewed those as well. >> i want to ask you about the president's attorney ted, rudy giuliani said of special counsel, robert mueller, -- he said if it is not written in the next two or three weeks we will unload on him like a ton of bricks. the president okay with his attorney threatening the special counsel in this way?
>> certainly we have made clear we would like to see this wrap up. for questions specific about comments by mr. giuliani i would refer you back to him. >> was that authorized by the president? >> once again for question specifically about the investigation, particularly from rudy giuliani i would refer you back to him to address that. >> how can americans not interpret that as getting back against his critics? isn't it also an attempt to curtail their freedom of speech by penalizing four being critical on television? >> not all. the president has a constitutional responsibility to protect classified information and who has access to it. and that is what he is doing, fulfilling that responsibility. this is actually specific to mr. brennan and the others currently under review. >> is this something he wants to set a precedent for other
future presidents and why are there not republicans on the list? >> once again if we deemed necessarily we would look into that and be happy to review those. >> i guess, the reason people say this argument of credibility that is obvious -- the former national security advisor admitted lying to the fbi. why is this only democrats that have been critical to the administration and why should americans have confidence that you are taking us seriously if there's not a single republican on the list? >> again, certainly, we will look at those if we deemed it necessary. we will keep you posted if the left gets updated. >> on turkey -- turkey announced today they are going to tariff billions of dollars on american goods. can i get a response that if there's any discussion internally about retaliatory -- >> the tariffs from turkey are certainly regrettable.
a step in the wrong direction. the tariffs the united states placed on turkey were out of national security interest. there is are out of retaliation. i'm not going to get ahead of anything what we may or may not do in an effort to respond but certainly, we don't support turkeys decision to retaliate against us protecting our national security interest. >> in turkey today they denied having -- [inaudible conversations] >> we feel that turkey and the president have treated the pastor that we know to be a good person and good christian they've not treated unfairly and it is something we will not forget. >> the administration has put up a defense but at the same time there are tens of thousands of christians in
north korea who have been imprisoned over their religion. they consider them to be a normal country when it comes to prosecution of the question. is this something that ministration has also been looking into? >> certainly, we would like to see any individual -- we would like to see anyone imprisoned released. we're been working with north korea and it is something we would like to see them change their behavior -- it has been discussed and again certainly something we would like to see their behavior change. [inaudible] [inaudible question] >>. >> we would like to see every single member of isis defeated across the globe. i think that would be the
ultimate victory. john, go ahead. >> thanks a lot. closing arguments are taking place across the river in alexandria for the tax fraud trial of paul manafort. in mid-june, the president said he felt badly for mr. manafort and he believes he is being treated unfairly. if the president still friends with mr. manafort? was last time that he spoke with mr. manafort? >> i'm not aware of any recent conversations they have had. >> why did he say he is being treated unfairly? >> i think the president made it clear his previous comments. i don't have anything to add beyond that at this point. go ahead. >> he said a couple minutes ago the increased tariff level with turkey were out of the national security interest. when the president announced it on twitter, last week or earlier this month, he said quote - at the time he said our relations with turkey are not good at this time. the suggestion there being that this had to the pastor being held in turkey.
simply put, if the pastor is allowed to leave turkey, to the tariff levels go away? is it that kind of a deal that could be in place? >> the tariffs that are in place, on still would not be removed with the release of pastor brunson. sanctions however, that had been placed on turkey are specific to pastor brunson and others that we believe are being held unfairly. we would consider that at that point. >> and that interest of national security what has changed over the last month or so with turkey that they are justify national security? >> again, the president has been clear on the steel and aluminum industries.steel particularly in this case. those are industries that must be protected. we must have the ability to reach certain levels of manufacturing those products here in the united states. for the purposes of national security. john? >> thank you, sarah.
i was going to ask about turkey but based on your opening statement, i have to put out that the attorneys for former director james comey and former deputy director mccabe, stated that their passes were automatically demagnetized the day that they were separated from their offices. two others, mr. klapper and general hayden have said they do not use them at all. and also, it is my understanding from a historical standpoint, this would be the first time the president himself removed the passes from anybody that it has normally done by an agency head or immediate superiors. have you considered all of these things in the process that you say you're going through? >> again, the other individuals -- those are being reviewed. that determination will be made at a later date.
those that have already been revoked it would be for the purpose of reviewing whether or not they should be reinstated or not. [inaudible question] >> is that the only standard by which this administration is concerning he should have his security clearance revoked? >> again, i laid out the reasons. in the opening statement. specific to director brandon. the others-- specifically to di brennan. [inaudible question] >> this is on a case-by-case basis. each individual is being reviewed. >> is there any reason to suggest that brennan misused information or access? >> again i laid out the reason for the decision made on this
specific instance. we'll continue to review the other actions. >> the absence of you not saying those things you did not fight any of it. >> no i would not make assumptions. i'm telling you what the decision was based on. andrew? >> today there was another -- [inaudible question] >> as always, we're going to continue to review and look at the best ways to move forward. i will leave it to the department of defense to get into specifics about tactical situations on the ground. what i can tell you is we are committed to finding a political solution to end this conflict in afghanistan.we are exploring all avenues for dialogue and close ordination with the afghan government. we're going to continue to do that. we have announced since or changes we will let you know. peter?
>> to assess whether the liquidity situation in turkeys financial sector is a risk in light of -- [inaudible question] >> certainly we are monitoring the situation with respect to the turkish economy and the decline of the lira. turkeys economic problems are part of a long-term trend. something of its own making and not the result of any actions united states has taken.>> thank you. one of the individuals listed on that list, under review is bruce ohr. he is a current employee of the department of justice. at some point, is the president
leaving that he should be fired?>> i don't a personal announcement on that front. i can only speak to the specific. >> why put a security? clearance under review that would make him unable to do his job and not fire him? >> once again i don't have personal announcement but we are looking into the specific matter. peter. >> people criticizing the president publicly on tv, are there greater risk of losing their security clearances than people that stay silent? >> once again it is looked at on a case-by-case basis. we will do an individual review and make determination. >> the question about the return of lawmakers on capitol hill. now that they are back can you lay out the white house strategy for moving forward with the agenda we have talked about wall funding, obviously a lot of people are regular curious about the brett kavanaugh nomination moving forward. daca and other issues. if there is strategy in place with lawmakers now that they are back. >> certainly, we have continued ongoing conversations on a number of fronts. with lawmakers even while they were not here in washington. we are happy that hearing dates have been set for justice
kavanaugh. we look forward to seeing him get confirmed. >> my very quick follow-up. first we did not mention anything about a possible shutdown. is it still something the president is continuing? and on the farm bill. there are a great number people in a grantor states curious about this work requirement. the usda is trying to implement. some places they already have it. they say you have to work. in other areas you do not have the requirement. it is something to support?>> something we still support in terms of a shut down. i do not have announcements on that front. we certainly still want to see a lot of things happen. we would love for congress to actually do his job particularly when it comes to immigration. we have a completely broken system. we would like to see them work with us to fix it. >> i do not have updates on that front right now. >> omarosa was the highest ranking african-american staffer in the west wing.
>> she actually did not work in the west wing but go ahead. [inaudible question] >> certainly, as i addressed yesterday, we value diversity. not just in the white house but through the entire administration. we're going to continue trying to diversify the staff. we have a large number of diverse staffers from various backgrounds. race, religion, gender. i'm not going to go through and do a count. the same i am not going to do a sit down and count on the staffers that are in your news organization. [inaudible question] >> we would love to diversify our staff and continue to do so. we do think it's important. will continue to work to make that happen.
raquel? >> thank you very much. we are seeing the democrats embracing a more diversity choosing muslims, also candidates transgender, -- my question is why do you think will be the agenda and also the recent controversies about race and minorities on the election in november? >> i think we're looking at the policies. that the individuals are implementing and how they will affect the communities and whether or not it will actually help individuals. people across this country. that's what we're looking at, that's we are focused on and will continue to do. one last question. >> harley-davidson, the president commented earlier in the week. many harley-davidson owners plan to boycott the company of manufacturing moves overseas. if the president of the united states endorsing the boycott -- >> look, the president has made his feelings on that very
clear. the president's focuses on making sure that we get good trade deals and that we keep business and industry here in the united states. i think you would rather see them put all the companies back in the united states and build all of their great machines here in this country. thanks so much guys, have a great day! [inaudible question]