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  Press Access to President Trump Discussion  CSPAN  October 23, 2017 7:00pm-8:31pm EDT

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economics right so the people who run those servers are punished. >> that's helpful perspective, and austin our legislative director is here and that's an interesting thing to follow up on. thank you. >> it does play into some of the perception management of psychological operation we're also seeing, what's the cost, if russia gets it wrong on twitter. the cost is nothing. >> yep. >> and if they get it right, it's at low cost and we all know that they started the hiv cia rumor, which was all false and now they're just doing it old intent, new tactics. the cost is an issue. >> absolutely. >> we had a question back here and if we can do quick questions, so please. >> you got it. mike klein, university of wisconsin. i think you're being a little tough on state cios and federal cios. aren't many of them appointees, and i think at the state level,
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most cios are appointees and maybe only stay two years. very rarely they stay four years. i think one of the major problems is we don't have continuity of technology management because that position has been made an appointee, not not a permanent position, and this week, all the cios are going to be meeting at national association of governors and cios and the governor across the way is being really strong in terms of bringing the states together and the state cios so could you comment on that? >> sure, i completely disagree with your premise that i'm being tough on cios, because guess what? i'm trying to get them more tools. i'm the one trying to, i don't just bring them in front of my subcommittee. i bring the cto and the deputy agency headle is because they should be getting all the responsibility and authority. you didn't hold somebody accountable if they don't have the authorities to do their job, and so for me, everything we have been doing is to strengthen their authorities in order to do this but yeah, we should be --
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there is not enough continuity and we have to look at why that is. is it frustration with the ability to do their job? is it lack of adequate manpower? these are issues i'm pretty confident that gao has looked at, and we have to make sure we're creating the right culture, and that begins with making sure the cio is part of the c suite. there are still many agencies where the cio doesn't report directly to the deputy or the agency head. that's unacceptable, and so i think making this issue more of a c suite responsibility i think you're going to see the, our cios feel like their work is being valued, because again, federal cios are not getting paid enough. they have huge issues and they have congress breathing down their throats, so i recognize the difficulty of that and that's why i want to make sure they have the tools. >> and last question, because we're actually out of time, and
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i have to be a bit of a tyrant, but with the that state and local question, what are your thoughts on dhs designating electoral systems at the state level? as not a, it's actually a sub critical infrastructure as part of government operations. >> so i think jeh johnson convinced me. >> chief of staff is in the room. >> which is a good move, because what it does is it allow, it prioritized states' cios to get supports and training and dollars from dhs. >> voluntary. >> voluntary, so i think the concern many had was that you know, dhs is going to try to take over managing elections. no. the utilities are considered critical infrastructure providers. dhs are not running utilities. the telecommunications infrastructure is considered critical infrastructure. dhs is not running the phone
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company, right? so i think those fears have been misplaced, and as we saw at black hat this past black hat, where 26 of the voting machines were brought and they were all hacked within i believe six hours, this is something that our local municipalities, states and federal government has to be working together to ensure the protection of our voting systems. >> congressman herd, thank you for joining us today. thank you for your service, and thank you for getting things done. >> my pleasure. thank you. >> if i could get our panel up here now. >> this is george washington university where we'll be
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hearing shortly from white house press secretary sarah sanders. she's joining several white house correspondents for a discussion on the media and its access to the trump administration. it should be getting under way shortly. this is live coverage on c-span3. >> -- president of the white house correspondents association, i cover the white house for bloomberg, i do a little analysis for cnn, and it's just an incredible pleasure and gift to get to spend the time with you guys tonight. the whca for those of you who don't know represents the white house press corps. it's hundreds of journalists, whetherer this print or tv, radio, online, photographers who cover the white house day in and day out, and our job is to be a liaison between our press corps and the white house to educate the public, to raise issues about access, and make sure we can get as much public information as possible to you, to the public, and we do
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scholarships, we do awards every year to honor great work and we champion the first amendment, and this is an important time for the first amendment. so tonight we really look forward to being able to bring you the voices of some of the people on the front lines who do this day in and day out and to be able to take your questions on issues and concerns that you care about. >> and as you may know and if you don't, you should, we have every year a student who has one of these white house correspondents association scholarships. we support that student through his or her four years here, and then he or she caps it off by attending the dinner, presuming the president goes to the dinner, and spending time with the correspondents. this conversation here tonight is exceptionally timely, and remarkable, and fascinating. i was a white house correspo correspondent myself some years ago. i was a very young correspondent, kindergarten f
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correspondent. >> you're still young now. >> i covered the reagan white house, the george herbert walker bush white house and interviewed several presidents. this president changes what we've seen in many ways. donald trump ran as a disruptive president, disruptive candidate he certainly was and certainly disruptive president and some of the challenges to covering the white house, the president's criticisms on the media, on news, what he calls fake news, have also been news and have shaped things as well, so i'm sure we'll touch on that this evening as well. >> for us our work every day really is about doing our jobs day in and day out, but there are moments in a presidency and tonight is one of those moments when it's also about assessing where we've been, where we're going and whether anything really has changed and how. >> our panel will join us in just a moment. we'll start by asking a question on a different topic of each member of the panel and then we'll open it up to arefor a br
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conversation. we will open it up for your questions later on this this evening. there is a discussion. >> when that point in the night comes there will be microphones. you can spend the next hour and a half, next hour, don't worry, thinking about what questions you'd like to ask and we'll give you some instructions later on. couple of things we did want to mention, thanks to some of the folks in the room who are former presidents of the white house correspondents association, thank you for coming and being here tonight and we'd like to welcome all of you students, media, academic scholars, members of the public. >> very much want to welcome the media in the room. it is okay to look at your phones tonight as long as you don't do it too much, if you want to engage your social media we'd love to spread the word.
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we ask to you do it in a full and respectful way. one of the things most under siege is civil discourse and we at gw very much want to stand for that, serious, honest, direct engagement but always civil and respectful. >> and tweet away or snap or whatever you like, but please turn your ringers off and if you can, please keep enough of your attention focussed so you can hear what's actually going on in progress. >> we are really looking forward to this conversation. margaret and i had a couple of drinks, non-alcoholic, yesterday. >> it was, coffee. >> just like where do we begin? hmm. well, probably a good place to begin would be with introductions. >> let's do it. >> so it is my great pleasure to start our introductions with someone you know, even if you don't know him. because you probably have seen him or somebody playing him on "saturday night live," please welcome glen thrush from the "new york times." [ applause ]
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thank you. have a seat. >> you also know our next guest from fox news, and also because president trump feels safe and comfortable with him, likes his questions, he likes to engage with him, so please welcome john roberts from fox. [ applause ] >> safe? >> thanks for doing this. >> just because i'm trump bait -- >> for those of you at the school of media and public affairs you know our next guest, we're privileged to have her as one of our turker fellows. she spends times with students and faculty and well-known to millions of americans and others around the world for her many years at the white house. april ryan white house correspondent with american urban radio networks and also an analyst with cnn. april ryan. [ applause ]
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hi, april. do i get one, too? >> yes. >> thank you. >> our next panelist is the vice president of the white house correspondents association, who will succeed me next summer and also the chief washington and white house correspondent for yahoo! olivier knox. [ applause ] >> hi, olivier. nice to see you. do we have students in the room? how many students in the room, raise your hand. oh, look at that. any political science majors in the radoom? anybody studying politics? anybody taking a course in political science? this person needs no brough ducti introduction. she's written about congress, legislative gridlock, next book is on the federal reserve, sarah
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binder, professor sarah binder. [ applause ] >> and last but certainly not least, it is maybe a little bit intimidating to look at a room like this and panel like this and think that you're the representative of the trump administration, but we know that she is more than capable of doing a great job tonight. we really want to thank her very much for her participation tonight, sarah huckabee sanders, the white house press secretary. [ applause ] >> thank you. thanks, frank. >> before you sit down, sarah -- >> already on the hot spot. >> didn't take long. >> no, no, this is -- i'm fascinated and i think people are here, too, why you came
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here, and what it is you want to be able to talk about. >> maybe you should ask me that question about an hour and a half after this is over and we'll see how it goes. no, i think forums like this are important. i think the ability for the administration to be open, transparent, answer questions is very important part of my job. i try to do that every day, and i'm hoping maybe this crowd is a little bit nicer than the one i sometimes face. you brought a few of my friends back here, but i think this is again a great opportunity to talk about some of the things that we've done over the last year, and hopefully have a friendly and fun back-and-forth conversation. >> i think we want to understand how you go about your job, how you view your job and how you think your boss is doing his job. i'm looking forward to hearing you respond to that. >> oh, good,ily' have some time to think on all of those. >> we pegged tonight's event or we got as close as we could to about a year since that historic election last november.
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of course on november the 8th, president trump and you will be somewhere in the middle of a 12-day trip across asia. so tonight is an opportunity to assess all of the changes, not just to the white house, but to the political landscape, to the way journalists and presidents interact, and perhaps some comparisons between the campaign and the way president trump has governed. so i know for my part i'm very interested in hearing your thoughts on that. >> this should be a great night. excited. thanks for having me. >> join us. >> thanks, john. >> so as i mentioned, i'd like to start by posing a question, and margaret and i will take turns with this, to each of you to get the conversation going and then we'll open it up, as i said, and i mentioned to the audience they'll join us in the questioning a bit later. sarah, let's start with you. since we're taking stock of things. the president made big and
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disruptive promises as a candidate, and a lot of the promises he made he said were going to be quick or easy, or suggested that. the wall, repealing obamacare which was going to happen on the first day, tax reform, inf infrastructu infrastructure. he's had a lot of trouble with each. in thinking about that and where he goes, this is the question. and it revolves around priorities. secretary mnuchin said on fox news tax reform is the top priority. cory liewandowsky said if donal trump doesn't build the wall he won't get elected, that should be the top priority. poll of republicans showed their top priority was repealing and replacing the affordable care act, 53% said that was extremely important. what does the president think he could have done differently to get any of these things done, and what is his top priority now? >> i think that one of the reasons that donald trump is
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president is because there is such a frustration with the way that washington functions, and i think we've seen a lot of that over these first nine months in office. you have so many things get lost in process, and it's very hard to push things through regardless of whether or not you have a republican majority, particularly when it's a narrow majority, it makes it very tough to i think enforce big and bold change, like donald trump would like to do, but we are making a lot of progress, maybe not as fast as certainly i think the president wants and certainly probably not as much as america wants, and i think that's one of the reasons that the congressional polling numbers are so low, because there is such a frustration that it's so polarized that they don't have the ability to get a lot done. right now, i would say the biggest priority is tax reform. we're in the heat and heart of that. i this i that we will get that done by the end of this year, and i think that historic tax
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cuts that the president has proposed and is pushing through will be a massive change to our economic system certainly, really i think empower the economy in a new way through these historic tax cuts, help the middle class families, that's a big priority for this president, and something i think that we're going to see happen in the next couple of months. >> i know i said we'd move one on one but i want to ask one mini follow-up. you said that's one of the reasons congress's numbers are so low but nothing's been done. is that one of the reasons his numbers are so low? >> his numbers are a lot better than congress. i'll take the president's numbers over congress any day. again, i think one of the reasons that you have president trump is the president is because he is not your typical politici politician. they were looking for somebody to come in, change washington, change the status quo, shake things up. i don't think anybody could argue he hasn't done that, that he hasn't been somebody who
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disrupted the way the system normally operates. does that mean we're getting everything done on day one? no, but we've gotten a lot of things done in very short order. you have isis on the run. you have the economy stronger than it's been in decades. you have unemployment at a 16-year low. i mean these are massive things that have taken place in short nine months, and a lot of these things he's been able to do more, frankly, i think in these eight months particularly when it comes to things like the strength of the economy, like the defeat of isis and the toes that we're in, far more in the first eight months than obama did in eight years and that's a big progress and big steps in the right direction. >> we'll come back to all of that i'm sure. >> mr. thrush -- >> just i'll go with what she said. >> what she said. president trump's first year of course has been marked by a lot of well-known and reported internal competition, some staff turn, everyone from michael flynn at the nse, jim comey, the
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hhs secretary, mr. price, sean spicer, anthony scaramucci, steve bannon, reince priebus. i feel like i might be forgetting a couple people. and there are a couple of remaining cabinet advisers or top advisers who have been sort of under threat of will he/won't he, stay or go. how, other than the kind of political rapportage, how do you think that has actually affected the management of the executive branch in the process of governance in the early months of this white house? >> a great question. the first thing i'd like to do is i'd like to thank sarah for coming. i know it's very difficult to be kind of outnumbered. >> kind of outnumbered? >> incredibly cool that you would come here and submit herself to this sort of thing. >> it's just a conversation. >> you're setting it up to be
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real fine. >> no look, i think part of the problem with this white house in general has been the fact that they are learning on the job, so a lot of the disruption that we've referred to, and there's no question that the mood in the country or significant parts of the country is restive. people wanted a change. they want things shaken up but i don't think they wanted it necessarily quite shaken up in this way, and you see that reflected in a lot of the polling which shows that the president has lost a significant amount of support from independents, without whom particularly in the southern part of the country he would not have been elected president. something's going on, is that me? >> ooh. >> i shut it off. >> why do you always accuse me of things? >> i'm off. >> check your phone. >> my phone? >> check your phone. >> it's dead. >> yeah, it's dead all right. >> keep going. >> this makes you even more
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questionable. >> i'll just let that one go. i think in general part of the issue is this guy is learning on the job. he had no experience in this and that was a benefit during the campaign and i think part of the problem is his brand precludes him from saying he was on the job, so he can't necessarily do what a lot of presidents in this position, and a lot of presidents haven't been in this position which is to say essentially that i'm ramping, that i'm ramping up, and that i think reflects itself in the way that with all due respect some of the communication comes through. i thought with general kelly a couple of days ago, what was noteworthy to me was, is not so much that he made what appears to be a fairly significant error in fact with regard to this issue of the congresswoman's characterization, the congresswoman's character skaizn
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and the characterization of congresswoman wilson's speech she gave at the fbi office opening a couple years ago but there was not an immediate attempt to deal with that. clearly the general and i'm imputing this, misremembered to some extent. perhaps he had a different impression of what occurred. that's a fairly easy matter of fact to clear up, but and i won't name the senior administration official who said this to me, but very early on during the presidency, probably in february or march, i add, i don't think i made an error in a story but there was i think a failure to communicate, i didn't get someone to comment on deadline, and the senior administration called me up to complain about it. i said i would deal with it immediately online and then i said to them i'm really sorry about this, and that person said something to me which was really telling. they said don't apologize. it's a sign of weakness. i don't view apologizing or admitting error or admitting
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that you made a mistake to be a sign of weakness of you. i view it to be a sign of strength and i think in terms of the president and his approval ratings and his interactions with all these branches of government and the american people at large that he would probably be doing himself a favor if he would admit as everyone else around him is capable of seeing that he is in fact learning on the job. >> a lot there. john roberts, talk politics for a minute. senator bob corker, senator luther strange, representative charlie dent, dave reichert, ileana ros-lehtinen announced their retirement or defeated in a special primary race. breitbart boss and former adviser to the president trump, steve bannon, spoke about season of war against the gop establishment. what impact from your p perspecti perspective, and you've covered
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politics for a long time, you know this very, very well. >> that's not a joke about your age. don't be offended. >> just because i covered the first roosevelt presidency doesn't make me older than you. >> bully for you. what impact has this year of upheaval do you think had on the republican party and conservatism? >> i think that the ultimate effect of that remains to be seen. if steve bannon does really push a lot of alternate candidates going into the midterm elections, i think that it could have a fairly dramatic effect on the republican party. mitch mcconnell seems to think that it's a bad idea to float the type of candidate steve bannon is putting out there, hence the reason why he said the other day with the president repeated again on sunday that his goal is to get candidates who can be elected, and therefore maintain a majority in congress. i think the biggest problem for the republican party is they have been screaming long and
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loud, give us the house, give us the senate, give us the white house, and you'll see things get done, but things in congress haven't gotten done yet, and the president suffered a stinging defeat twice, when the senate couldn't pass repeal and replace of obamacare. now there are probably a lot of people in this country who are very thankful that didn't get done but if you're a republican, and you want to get elected in 2018 or if you're a republican president and you want to get things done, you're looking at that saying we gave you the keys to the kingdom, and now you're not getting anything done. and you've been promising for the past seven years that the first thing you are going to do when you got the majorities in both houses in the white house was repeal and replace obamacare. they won three elections on that, and they didn't get it done, when push came to shove, when push came to shove. after all of those show votes they took in the congress to say we know this isn't going to do anything so we'll vote yes repeal and replace, when the rubber met the road they choked
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and a lot of republicans across the country are looking at the that saying we keep sending you to congress on the promise you're going to get something done and you don't do it, so then all of these alternative candidates start to float to the surface a little bit more, and many of those are people that mitch mcconnell says won't get elected. so the republican party could end up shooting itself in the foot because it couldn't get done what it promised to get done but i still think it's a little bit early to see the full effect of that. >> april, april covers urban communities across the united states, and this is a big focus of your reporting. >> and other things. >> among other things. >> yes. >> if you were to highlight just one or two policy issues that you think have had the biggest impact on urban communities, which ones would you highlight and are those the same issues that you think have gotten the most coverage? >> no. what we're hearing in the news that's affecting the urban community right now is the issue
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of taking the knee, and this president has a major microphone. he has a bully pulpit. he was able to write the narrative saying it was about the flag and about the soldiers and about this country, which it was not disrespect about that. those who are taking the knee are challenging the system that has been a problem for a long time when it comes to police-involved shootings. that issue still has yet to be addressed and we know that the president when he was president-elect and also when he was a candidate, he was supporting policing. the black community supports good policing, but they want to weed out bad policing. i think about when then candidate trump was running for the oval office, and he was talking about an inner city fix and i fast forward to february when i asked him about that inner city fix. he talked about issues of crime.
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he talked about shaissues of heh care and education and i asked him about the cbc and they did ultimately have a meeting, but a lot of those issues are still yet to be dealt with. when it comes to issues of crime, there's a big problem, and the congressional black caucus is talking about this right now. the trump administration now is dealing with or in the midst of working out this plan, which the cbc considers hoover-esque, where if you are self-identifying and black identifying and protesting, they are now getting a file on you. you now have a file, and that's very hoover-esque, so when it comes to the issues of education, you know, let's talk about hvcus, that still is floundering. there were 1 2 -- historically black colleges and universities, many schools were formed, nine
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of them celebrating 150 years and when you think about when those schools were founded, they came out 150 years ago it was two years after the emancipation proclamation when black people were told that they were free. we could not, and frorgive me, e could not go to schools with white people. betsy devos got the whole thing wrong. we could not go to schools with white people and for slaves to build brick by brick to educate their future, that was a lot to play with this or not play but have it floundering. many in the african-american community are very upset about that because that is one of the key pieces for african-americans to propel into the middle income status, so there are a lot of issues that are still on the table. i'm waiting and listening for some of that, for some of those issues to come around. education, crime, we haven't really heard about the crime yet, and the affordable care act, aca.
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yes, it has problems. aca, the affordable care act better known as obamacare that republicans gave to president obama and he embraced saying yes, obama cares, the issue was trying to help the least of these with insurance. you had high deductibles and yes you had some issues but there is a strong concern within the black community that with this new round of executive orders on what's to be done, it's going to affect the least of these, so when it comes to issues of urban america, the jury is still out but it doesn't look good right now. >> if i could, i'd just like to jump in, just to clarify something particular a on hbcus and education. president trump has actually done more in terms of elevating hbcus. he's moved that office back into the white house, so that it has been empowered in a greater level, given a bigger platform instead of having it housed with
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the department of education. they have committed to the funding. there's no floundering on that, and furthermore on education one of the things that i think is very helpful is the idea of school choice, which is very popular within urban communities, because it allows students -- >> that's true. >> -- and he has been a champion for that as has the department of education secretary betsy devos. i think those are ways we are taking bigger steps -- and that wasn't a problem created overnight. we're not going to be able to ific it overnight but we are taking very big steps in the right direction to move that ball forward, and to empower those communities and to do more and kind of open up that conversation. >> so if i may, the hbcu presidents which i've talked to, i polled many of them, they were told that when they came in, in february, at the end of february, they were told by steve bannon that give us a list of what you want, and they wanted money for title three, they wanted year-round pell grant, which they did get
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through congress. >> which the trump administration supported, but. >> they were working on it prior to, but that's true, but then they also had, they had asked for a one-time lump sum of $25 billion, and then when they heard what the president said about the budget about giving to hbcus could be unconstitutional because of race issues, that really made, i mean the president did say -- >> that's not exactly what he said but that's fine. >> what did he say then? >> do you have a response to that because i want to move down and we'll come back to this. >> we can come back to all of it. the broader point is that you want to launch these very generic attacks against this administration, when we've actually done a lot of the things, did everything on that list get completed, no, but several of those items did and we're continuing to work to move and complete more of the things on that list. >> before we go, i didn't attack, i just gave you, i'm not attacking, this is civil discourse, i'm meting out what i
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was asked to lay out. >> fair enough. >> this is where you get to. you have policy pronouncements and you have details and you have interpretations of same. so lots to pursue. we're not going to get to everything tonight. olivier, we heard from sarah earlier and dead-on, right, this president was, and john you were talking about this, this president was elected as an expression of discontent at the way washington has behaved. i like to say if you want to burn down the house, you hire the arsonist. donald trump said we got to burn this house down. his metaphor is a swamp. he said i'm going to drain the swamp. how he's doing? is the swamp drained? >> he's not doing nearly as well in draining the swamp as he is in rolling back systematically a lot of regulations embraced by the previous administration through executive action and the reason i connect these two ideas, if you go back to early april, the director of the office of management and budget,
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senior trump adviser mitch mulvaney identified one core principle of drain the swamp, remove the influence of lobbyists on policy. what we've actually seen is a phalannyx of them joining lobby firms. the epa you've seen policy devolve to people who were lobbyists and may shortly return to that profession. i want to connect the two ideas. on the one hand no the swamp is not drained. on the other hand without the expertise from folks from industry you would not see one of the signal successes of the trump administration. it doesn't get as much coverage maybe as the latest tweet, but it's a very, very important story from this administration which is the systematic methodical rollback of executive regulation. >> you want to talk more about that? >> the other sarah, professor bender, let's talk a little bit about what it means for president trump to be republican. he has seemingly had a lot of
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tension with the republican-controled congress, even though there's one party control, and at the same time he seems to be working toward a goal with that republican congress, maybe a two-pronged goal, one of attempting to get things accomplished, that fit his agenda and two, of trying to shape a republican party that's a little bit more in his vision. and i guess i wanted to ask you, why you think that tension exists, and also he ran as a republican, but do you see president trump as a republican or do you see him as a third party candidate or a no party candidate? >> so i definitely see him as republican. no matter what the mix of policy issue is, no matter what direction he wants to move the party, he runs at the end of the day with an "r" after his name and all the republicans run with an "r" after their name so we're voters, we'll see them as
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republicans regardless of the policies really, the differences amongst the party. i think the problem here is that precisely what you put your finger on, it is a fractured republican majority, and those fractures were here before the election, but we didn't notice them so much in the minority because they really weren't responsible for governing. >> they had someone else to be against. >> so now in a position of control they have to deal with the fact we're in a polarized system. the two parties disagree about what our problems are, what the solutions are. it's a small majority. it's fractured, and they really are looking to the president to kind of pave the way forward. that's a role presidents often can play because they have the political broad public stature to do that. you don't have to be a policy wonk to play that role, but you have to choose a position. you have to use your bully pulpit to maintain the party's position. fellow members of your party, again, even if they disagree with you on policy, they need to
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be convinced that, because you're behind it, they should get behind it, too, but you have to choose an issue. you have to choose a position and i think many judging from reporting, many lawmakers, republican lawmakers aren't quite sure where the president stands on any given issue and that's complicated, building a majority, because the majorities don't just happen. they have to be built. >> do you think, quickly, before i move on, that any republican president had one of the other 16 emerged as the nominee and then won, do you think that any republican president would have actually had a bit of trouble governing as the leader of this republican party? >> well there's certainly fractures in the republican party that would have emerged and would have emerged on obamacare repeal and replace. tax reform i think we'd be seeing similar issues. the question is, could another president, different president really set the agenda and stick to the agenda and make clear and put all resources behind that agenda, and do they have the public stature outside
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washington, what's their public approval, right? do they have what we call in the business, science business, the power to persuade and your persuasion as president depends on how people in washington see you, early wins, they have reason to get behind you. public prefer you, broad public, do you reach out, that's going to build your public prestige and that's what presidents can use. that's what we could imagine another republican in that position with the same fractures might be making more progress but it's a fractured majority. >> let's open the conversation up to the group. lot of you have talked about different nature of this president and presidency, about some of the political xenlg glos that exist, you talked about the swamp and being very new at this. donald trump was obviously not in government. you've talked about the things that have been done. in looking forward and in thinking about what's been done over the past, what has the
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president learned from this year? how do you see him taking those lessons and applying them to be frankly more effective at getting some of these things done that haven't been done, broadening his base, as opposed to merely playing his base and to all, how would you assess some of what you have seen and what needs to play. sarah, why don't you start with that. >> that was a lot of questions in one. >> i broke my principle rule of asking one question. >> she's used to that. >> these guys break that all the time. >> how about what the president has learned in his year in office? >> i think a lot of it would be on the relationship development side that has -- >> what he needs to have more of? >> i was going to go the opposite way. >> fewer of this em? >> particularly, no, on the foreign policy stage. i think he's done a very good job of developing relationships with a lot of key partners and allies, particularly i think you look at the asia trip that we're
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getting ready to go on. he's developed very strong relationships with abe, with xi, with a lot of the leaders that are really helping grow the amount of pressure that's being put on north korea, which is one of the greatest threats i think that our country faces. >> but i'm talking about being legislatively effective here in washington, what he's learned and what he's -- >> well i didn't know you were speaking specifically legislative years, kind of a little broad of lessons learned. legislatively, i think to take a bigger role of engagement in health care. he did towards the end but not as much on the front end and you're seeing that happen a lot more with the tax reform/tax cut plan that's being enacted, very much forward-leaning, far more engaged, very early on, in kind of laying out the parameters and laying out the foundation of what he'd like to see in that plan working directly with members of congress to develop
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that plan, and then really helping drive that through to completion, and so i think that you look at kind of the process from health care to the process that is being put in place for the passage of tax cuts, i think those are pretty different approaches, and certainly we're already seeing i think more success already to date on the momentum and the forward progress on the tax cut. >> i think that the president has discovered over the last nine months that he can't rely on members of his own party to get things done and if he reaches out to the democrats, he might get a couple of things done, but i think he has to be realistic, in that they'll stick the knife in his back the moment they get the opportunity to, on a number of different issues. >> the democrat s will? >> the democrats. >> what about the republicans? >> the democrats stick him in the front. that's the difference. i mean, when you look at it, his real problem is getting things done have come down to a handful of people. it's come down to rand paul, who
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continues to refuse to vote for anything that involves a dollar sign. you've got susan collins, who stands on principle. you've got john mccain, who stands on principle, and lisa murkowski seems a little bit spongeage, whether or not she can get the process she wants done so it's really down to just a handful of people that are blocking him from getting done what he needs to get done in the senate, but you know, they're standing on their principles. i think paul is standing on the principle of i need to say this because if i want to get reelected this is what i pledge to do my entire political life and the other ones probably could be convinced to do it if they're given the right set of parameters in order to become comfortable. am i right or wrong? >> possibly. i don't know if some of those are more principle and less, you know -- >> posturing. >> posturing might be a better word. >> is acamera, the president tells us quite a bit how great things are. i want to hear from you the defining moments on the negative
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side. there are always positives and negatives with every presidency. the defining moments in these nine months and if you could give us a look into that, and also is this week a defining moment in these nine months for this president >>. >> is this week a defining moment? >> yes, as it relates to niger. >> i would not say that this is the defining moment. i certainly think -- >> they did one of many or a defining moment. >> i wouldn't characterize it as that. i think the media would like for it to be. they want to create a narrative that i don't necessarily agree with, and i think that there is certainly a desire to make this into a situation of kind of an attack point on the president. i don't necessarily agree with that process at all. i think in terms of the negative, i mean, i think the biggest negative would be congress' inability to do their
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job. it's their job to legislate. it's the president's job to be the executive, to lay out kind of the priorities, the principles, help drive those, use the bully pulpit, which he has done. i think to john's point you've got a few people that are holding up i think a lot of progress, and to me, that would be the greatest negative is congress' inability to step up and do their job particularly members that have been campaigning on a lot of these things over the last seven years, some of them even longer, and now they have an opportunity to really step up and do some big things and i hope they'll take it. >> will there be an apology this week? >> how about how he's used the bully pulpit? >> well look, i think -- hey, i'm not averse to beating up on congress here. i think it's a pretty fair thing to do, but we are talking about a presidency in the first nine months who has not functioned as a normal presidency. we see hundreds of positions unfilled. i think all you have to really
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look at to understand what has happened was the president's policy page on his campaign website, which you can continue to look at, and it will say 401, what was it, 404 error or an empty page. there was not a lot of policy. the president did not release anywhere near the sort of specific policy proposals that, i would say, i would venture to say i didn't look at every single website but probably any candidate in the entire race or any candidate in any recent race. there was not a policy focus by the president at all. and our reporting has shown exhaustively particularly on the health care debate that he was uninformed about basic facts about the health care system in this country. i've interviewed and my colleagues have interviewed dozens of people who attest in good faith to the fact thapt president was not prepared for a lot of these policy discussions. i think is he more converseant with the tax issue, it is
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something he's familiar with but particularly health care, entitlement reform and budget, he has not been as conversive and studios as previous presidents, based on a volume of reporting. we have a colloquy back and forth between april and sarah about urban america. i started my career covering low income neighborhoods in new york city and i'm not that familiar with the historical black college issue but i can speak to the community development bloc grant program one of the central components of the department of housing and urban development, really the principle means by which the federal government is able to ameliorate poverty in terms of housing and community services. director mulvaney of the office of management and budget zeroed it out in his skinny budget this year. so the bloc fwrangrants were ze. congress will definitely restore it likely to par, but in terms
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of his commitment to urban america, i think the community development bloc grant team like tim scott, the republican senate, african-american republican senator from south carolina has identified that as well as a defining issue. so i think while we're talking about there is tremendous amount of dysfunction in congress, and they certainly didn't deliver particularly paul ryan, more than mitch mcconnell because paul ryan, remember, set the order of bat well reince priebus, the president's first chief of staff. but i would say a fair amount of responsibility in terms of this gridlock and dysfunction rests on the president. >> i'd like to throw out a question about u.s. leadership in the world, and if or how the president's approach to that or take on that has changed, since he first took office. we could be talking about global packs, paris, whatever, we could also be talking about his, both
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interest and instinct for engaging with foreign leaders, some allies that he's made, some testing of boundaries that he's done, and i want to start with sarah, but jump around to anybody else. >> seems to be the same thing always start with me. >> i sort of want to you frame this for us because i think during the campaign we really thought about him as a domestic focused president who had a couple of international issues primarily security and trade, job creation he wanted to hammer on but that his focus would be at home and i think we saw in the spring with the summit with the chinese leader xi at mar-a-lago almost like an evolution, a turn towards understanding there was real leverage and power in those kind of relationships but you're so much more on the inside than we are. can you talk a little bit about the evolution in terms of his thinking about what's possible with foreign relationships?
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>> i think ultimately there are a lot of different kind of aspects to the foreign relationships, one that you mentioned, trade. the president's very focused on making sure that the trade deals that we have are good deals for american workers. i think he very strongly feels that in the past, a lot of the deals have benefited other countries over the american worker, and so he's really tried to put an emphasis in negotiations to make sure that whatever trade deals we have in place benefit that worker. one of the other big places i think is putting pressure on countries like north korea, and i think he's really done a great job of developing relationships and strengthening existing relationships that we have with allies and partners like korea, south korea, like china, like japan, to really help put additional pressure on north korea that's been i think a very big focal point. you've seen him step up with
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more comprehensive plans to address afghanistan and iran, not just looking at like one aspect, but working inner agency process and with a number of holders to really bring about a more holistic approach to deal with places like afghanistan and iran instead of looking at individual issues. that first trip, a couple of you may have been on his first foreign trip. a very historic moment in saudi arabia and the speech that he gave to 68 muslim majority countries. that was a historic moment. something that had not been done before and i think a lot of that was big kind of transition point too for the administration and certainly a big power point of
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the first few months of him being in office was that speech and that moment and the collective countries coming together to really for the first time say we're going to work together and we're going to look for ways to defeat terrorism. that's probably certainly major moment in his presidency up until this point. >> jumping around the room. russia has not been that, first of all, for number of reasons. also, seems to me that just what to do with those relationships, how far to take them and for what purpose is still something that he's testing and trying to figure out. >> it's a two way street. it's not just president trump defining these relationships. these other leaders are trying to define them as well. back in march i talked folks at about 12 embassies in d.c., major allies from all around the worm world and the most consistent thing i heard back is we can get
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defense secretary mattis on the phone. we have really good conversation about what to do in afghanistan. at the very end of the call they say on the other hand the president hasn't weighed in. that's been a real -- that's changing a little bit now. the president has committed himself to courses of action that are not easily reversed. we're not talking about a tweet. we're talking about new troops to afghanistan. allies and i would guess, though i haven't spoken to them, add ver sa -- adversaries are taking a different part. also because this white house is not as chaotic as it used to be. it's night and day between january 20th and today on every front. >> or even june 20th. >> there's still some issues. >> i think that would be very interesting and i'd like to ask you to share some of your impressions with the audience
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both on how you see and how you report at the white house is being run and on the relationship between the media, the press and the white house because that was also very contentious for a period of time. >> i don't think -- i'm kidding. >> it's changed since sarah took over. >> we all skipped through the daisies and watched the butterflies. >> i thought this might get it. >> this white house works a lot better than in the earlier days. >> here's a big contrast between the sean spicer era and the sarah sanders era. not one person in the white house press shop has poiseddled a poisonous story about sarah. that's nhappened with sean. really personal stuff trying to undermine him. that's not happened under sarah.
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credit to you for that, i think. it operates very differently. >> margaret has the relationship with the press improved? i can ask you and put you on the spot. >> it's -- the relationship is different. i think part of it is that sarah's approach has been to let the president approach the media as he instinctively wants to but there's a difference between the president's relationship with the media and the white house staff's relationship. the white house press staff relationship with the media. you tell me if you think that's fair or not. the temperature is down. in the opening months of the administration the show you would see during the briefings
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made it seem like it was completely antagonistic and on fire at all times and burning and smoke and people running around. >> that's because it was. >> there was no actual smoke. >> it was certainly more chaotic than it is now. press was still absolutely always from the beginning of the administration in the motorcade and briefing room. it was the time there weren't briefings. people had access to go into lower and upper press to ask questions. >> i'm trying to figure out this. >> it was more confrontational. >> let me say this. sarah goes and comes to that podium and we've had our little back and forth. >> i think i'm winning her over. >> no, you're not. you clearly when sean left, you picked up the mantle and you
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charged in. i understand, as a woman, in that role, and who you work for, you have to come out and show you take no prisoners. you do that. it's a friendly adversarial relationship. when you don't like something, you make it known. >> i should do that. >> i hear margaret but i've seen you give and i've seen you take. i'm not giving you flowers or anything but i'm saying there is -- what did you say? i should give her flowers. okay. what i'm saying is i understand being a woman in this male dominated business and i understand who you have to respond to. at the same time, last monday, it was like come to the rose garden now. it's not as organized as we would like or they might like. sometimes it's kind of chaotic.
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it's not as -- i hear you. i understand your position. >> we can all have our perceptions of it but you are the most important answer here. i'd like to hear it and i'm sure the audience would. what is your take on both what your job is. you have to juggle. you work for the president. you work for the taxpayers. you are supposed to be facilitating conversations with journalists but your a public ser vanvant also. how do you weigh those parts of the job and your jobs as press secretary? >> the number one job is to provide the best and most accurate information i can give at that moment. as give the most full picture i can of the process, the policy and the position of the administration. that's what i try to come out and do every day. some days i do it better than others. some days i think it's less tense than others.
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>> that's true. >> some of that is based on the news that is taking place. if it's a more controversial topic then i think the tension in the room is going to be higher. >> you'll leave early. you'll leave in five minutes. >> never left in five minutes. >> maybe ten. >> i think the biggest thing people may not see is regardless of whether or not i may be at the podium for 20 or 25 minutes, i'm in the office for 15 hours of the day. a lot of the individuals here they may not ask their question in the briefing room but i talk to them on phone, by e-mail. john talks outside of my office a good couple of hours every day. >> stalks you. >> sometimes it feels that way. >> watch that, john. >> harmless. informational stuff. >> the point is we provide information in a number of ways
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and sometimes that's through the press briefing. become able to answer questions so they can hear those answers because they don't have the option to come by my office as frequently to get some of that information for a story. we try to be very accessible. i think that's something that actually quite a few outlets have reported that the press as well as the administration are more accessible in terms of press interaction than you've seen in previous administrations. that's something we tried to put a big focus on. pretend like there aren't tensions would be silly. whatever administration is in power always have tension because we have very different
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jobs to do. i do think there's a greater sense of hostility that i've seen in this administration than previous. towards the administration. i think you see that reflected in the numbers like in the coverage. last week there were reports that came out that 93% of the coverage of the administration was negative and 7% positive. if you compare that to the first nine months of the obama administration, it was 40/60. for people to pretend like there isn't a greater sense of hostility towards this administration i think would be to ignore real facts. >> olivia you want to address that for a minute. >> the notion of greater hostility? >> yes. >> one of the things i would
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point out is the white house press covers the president. when you're writing about legislation and covering the agencies and the state department, the defense department and other places that whole package does not start and stop with us. it's a huge eco system of people. i think a lot of the fights in previous administration you probably didn't see spillover. i went nose to nose with people who have had sarah's job before. i think asked whether they were just psycho or stupid. >> i'm dplglad we haven't gotte there yet. >> you're saying there's hope. you're saying there's a chance? the question is whether the figure that you site cite is th
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result of the extremely different nature or it's a built in hostility of the administration. i'm not sure how i weigh those two things. the use of twitter the drive the news cycle. some people screaming unprecedented and unbelievable. some of those older folks, older folks will say that's not unprecedented. every president has done something like that. i don't know that it's necessarily, i don't know that that figure accurately characterizes the way the press is covering you guys. >> can i just echo really quick on that. i think oftentimes it's not even the nature of the question. it's the way that a question is asked. so often i feel like certainly
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the question always comes from a place of like an accusation instead of asking, looking for information. it's more like you're a horrible person. please tell us why. >> how do you answer that question? >> they actually think i'm a horrible person. i don't know. either way. >> sarah, excuse me. that's always been the tone at the white house. the white house press corps and john you covered other presidents too. the white house is a political circus. we talk about policy. if you're a dod it's a very kind of focused, different sort of questioning. the white house is a political place. the questions always have a political tone. i'm not sure -- >> i think there's a difference between a political tone and a hateful tone. those not the same. >> you think it's a hateful tone? >> not all the time. i'm not trying to overgeneralize
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the entire white house press corps. there's a lot of reporters that beyond the white house press corps but absolutely. i can assure you -- you look at reporters not just some of their public statements whether it's through their stories but you look at some of their twitter statements. you look at some of their feed and can you not read through a lot of that and not say this person absolutely hates everything about what we're doing. it's hard to come to any other conclusion than that when you look at sol many of the personal opinions that are injected into a lot of those. i think that's a dangerous place at times. >> it's very important to note that president trump has made battling the press a center piece of his entire political career. he did it during the campaign trail by singling out individual reporters in the press pen.
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he has made it a centerpiece. >> your news organization included. >> he's made it his strategy. i disagree profoundly with sarah. nobody hates anyone. >> i don't. >> the thing that has -- i can't speak for everybody. i ask only speak for my mellow self. the president made steve bannon like the second -- i don't remember the timing of this. said -- the president called the enemy of the american people. what did steve bannon call us, the opposition party. this is a president who has a political strategy. we know this because we have interviewed his political strategists. because of his high negative ratings that were present during the campaign, north of 50%. unprecedented numbers for a major party candidate. his strategy as a presidential candidate was to raise the negative of his opponent which is entirely intuitive and
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totally smart. by the way, geniugenius. it worked. he's president of the united states. he needs an opponent. this is a politician who does not do particularly well standing alone on center stage. he's something who performs best as a politician and as a political entity with opposition. in the absence of hillary rodham clinton or whoever next will come up against him, he chooses opponents. mitch mcconnell is a target. he requires that because that is what his political career is premised on. the political press is his central omnipresent opponent more than anything else. you saw that with the first appearance sean spicer made in public. it was not to answer question. it was to harang us after making a error. not giving anyone a chance to ask questions. that was at the behest of the
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president of the united states. i think that tells you that is not that hard. tells straight out, just take sean at his initial word. in praise of sarah and the way she's handled the briefing room, i give her high marks for lowering the temperature and engendering an environment of mutual respect. >> sarah, take a step back. >> my only experience with the briefing room is from "saturday night live." >> the reality is much better. >> you're welcome any time to get a real view. >> it's pretty clear the stakes are huge. the president is enormously power in terms of the u.s. global position in the world and individual lives in the united
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states. he can be a force for good or a force for bad in both arenas. it makes sense there's this type of conflict going on and we expect the press to play that role of accountability. i can't speak to the debate that goes on on a daily basis. >> does this reflect the polarization that you see in the broader public? >> i don't read the press as being partisan on one side of the other. i don't think it's that type of polarization. the stakes are huge because there's such disagreement about what policy -- what is even a problem and what the outcomes are. the soluti and what the solutions are. it was polarizing in that sense of the election. a lot of big claims made and a lot of promises made. i think it's the role of the press to try to hold the white house accountable for what progress is being made.
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>> they do believe the press is bias. if you're a liberal, everything you say is truth and if you're a republican, everything you say is a lie. when i was with cbs years ago, i think it was at george bush's second inauguration. trent lock came up to me and representative of cbs at the time. he said, you people don't know what's going on in my part of america. you tell what's going on in the two coasts and you ignore the center part of the country. one of these days that attitude is going to come home to roost. it took a while but it came home to roost in 2016. i went to so many campaign
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events in so many little towns and big towns across america. when president trump singled out the media, he had the entire room with him. it got to the point where i became worried that perhaps some people were going to become violent against members of the press which is something that should never happen in this country. we see that in dictatorships, in places of the world that are very, very dark corners. that should never happen in the united states of america. a couple of times, with all due respect, you went too far in what he did. he does reflect a very deep seated resentment among millions of people in this country for the press. >> in a couple of minutes we are going to move to the question and answer section of tonight. i wanted to circle back to an answer i started to give before you came earlier which was the question was whether things have
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changed. i think the temperature you bring to the debate has changed since the opening months of the administration but that the vim and vigor continues to greet me in the morning by twitter of the president. >> personally? >> it feels personal. it has intensified or at least remained steady. for many of us we're constantly weighing whether or not to respond, write, talk about that, write about it. is it bait. is it distraction or important to kind of defend the principles of what we do. i've been a jourmist for quar r er of a century. i don't know how that happened i'm only 30. >> say 25 years. >> i work hard in getting it right. nobody likes to be attacked when
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they care a lot about being perceived as being fair and open minded and working hard and being factual. the debates around my dinner table was about government. that was a building block of why i became a journalist and why many of us care so much about our craft. i think many of us worry that because there is some of this underlying distrust about the media that people don't know that about us. we have always jousted behind
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the scenes. in public the message has been about even though i hate these guys, what they do is really important and it's a great part of america. i think we worry about some of the long term costs of this. >> i think that goes both ways. i think there's -- i've never been attacked more, questioned more. i was called a liar by a major network in an official statement. i've been called outrageous things on air and it goes unquestioned. there's no push back. that's time and time again to administration officials, the president. i think there has to be a, you know, an appreciation to for our side that we're working hard and putting in hours and doing the very best we can to represent the administration as well. i think that's often overlooked. >> does the president appreciate the right and need to question
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authority? >> absolutely. >> does he want to be questioned? does he want to be challenged? >> i think it's an important part of democracy, but i also think that with that freedom comes a great deal of responsibility and i think that you have to have a high level of responsibility to report accurate information. i think that's not done all the time. i talked to all four other people to make sure i didn't miss something. i go back to the reporter. i tell guys i was in the room this didn't happen. i talk to other four people in the room. we all agree that nothing even similar to this took place. i'm like i'm sorry, i got a source outside of the white house but close to the white house so i'm going to run with it. we can't compete against that. i think there's a real disservice on both sides. we had a meeting today in our
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office to do push for things that come from the administration and particularly from the press office to be on the record because i think it's hard for us to argue that we want you guys to have on record sources if we're not going on the record. sometimes there's going to be process stuff that isn't necessarily an on the record but if it's a policy initiate iive things like that. >> you're saying there will be more on the record? >> that's something we've tried to do with some success over the last couple of months. i don't think we can be asked to constantly be out in the open, be transparent and to do
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something so forward leaning and always on the record when we're constantly having to compete with anonymous sources that weren't in the room and part of the process and can make up anything in the world they want to because we can't prove a negative. if we have to compete with that constantly, i think that is a really difficult situation and i think it's a very big disservice to the american people that there aren't more credible sourcing. in some of the bigger outlets it's less of a problem. now anybody with a computer can be a journalist. your constantly having to juggle the differences of real journalism and not . i think the anonymous sourcing is a big problem in something as much as we can move away from we should. >> the late helen thomas said everything comes from -- to the
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white house. i want to go back do what you said about people making jabs, it's more their personal feelings. when we ask questions of your and there are people who kind of ask questions towards your base. there are other people who ask questions toward the other side and people who just ask questions. when you look at that room, how do you determine which one is a negative? which one is a positive and which one should i call on? >> i don't look at the room as negatives and positives. i think that's the wrong way to view the room. i look at the room as kind of an open book. i try to make my way around the room. i have people that come up to my office and say, you don't call on people on the left side of the room. the next day i try to focus on the left side. hay you don't call on people in the back of the room. i try to make my way around a mix of tv versus print versus radio versus online and try to give a mix of more left leaning,
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more right leaning publications. i don't think that anyone can say i don't take tough questions. i call on a mix of every one. again, i don't look at the room as negatives and positives but as kind of an open floor space to everything is fair game. i do the very best job i can to call on a variety of people and make sure that i give fair and updated and accurate information as mump as i can. >> who do you go to when you're looking for an escape hatch? >> you can guess. >> john roberts. >> it's definitely not john. >> we don't want to name names. >> i don't want to name. >> nobody is watching. tell us.
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>> i was one of the people that ari would go to if he got in trouble on a domestic story. he would point to me because he was going to get an iran story or a question about the european union or a question about u.s. japan relations. he knew he could get out of trouble on a domestic story by going to me. >> i think we should come to the floor now. we promised that. why don't you come here. you hang on to the mike for him. i was going to say let me ask you a favor. keep your questions to questions, not speeches. keep them as short as you can. we will not have everybody answer everything and mover it around here.
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>> if you're comfortable introducing yourself, that would be great. if you have a question for a specific panelist, ask it specifically so it doesn't turn into a free for all. >> if you want to ask anybody to my left or right. >> sarah. >> thank you so much. the white house has developed an institutionalized process to have deft departments to have a say. the different departments within the white house to resolve any outstanding policy issues before the public statements are made. >> what is your question? >> president trump seems to be
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circumventing this mechanism a bit. my question to the press secretary is, how should foreign governments and institutional partners in why the public relate to president trump's tweets? are they public statements that the administration can stand behind or are they personal views of the individual donald trump. the question for the other member s how do you relate to president trump's tweets, is it one or the other? thank you. >> they are public statements by the president. i think it's important tool that he has the ability to speak directly to the american people. you don't have to like it or agree with it but i think there is something really unique about this president in the fact he does talk directly to the american people. it doesn't come through a filter
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but it's a direct line of communication and it's way for him to tell america and the rest of the world exactly where he is on a particular issue or topic at any given moment and i think that's something that frankly, people should be celebrating. the idea that you have someone so can did and authentic. i think that's one of the rea n reasons he became president. they wanted somebody who wasn't scripted every single minute of the day and a programmed robot but somebody very candid, very authentic and would buck the system and you get that in president trump. i think that's one of the ways he does that. >> his tweets are official. i use them in my news stories. >> there's positive aspects pto the tweets. if your a house republican trying to negotiate. there's the tweets.
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it up ended the ability to maneuver. there's a downside. there's an upside, for sure but there's a policy consequence and my hundred mch is that hurts. >> i think it offers the extra layer of transparency that america appreciates a lot more than closed door meetings. that outweighs the negative on that front. >> the phrase that sarah used was any given moment. on monday he might say china is not being helpful at all on and on tuesday he might say they have been great and wonderful. one of the challenges as reporters is tracking the statement. there's some weeks you're seeing
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these 180 degree shifts by the president on twitter and those are hard for us to wrap our brain around and report. on tuesday he's angry with china and wednesday he's fine. >> we have never had minute to minute on a president's consciousness or mood the way we have now. that's a historic development. let's take a question from this side of the room, if we can. >> learning from sarah. >> see, it's not as easy as it looks. >> we have a lot of options. second row. >> i'm a student at gw. there's a continuing notion that president trump has more sensational headlines overshadow other news such as the nfl
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debacle. as members of the press how do you address this claim and how do you pick the stories to cover? >> we just cover it all. that's the only way to do it. when you're drinking from the fire hose you get a very big mop at a very big sponge and try to digest it all. clearly this is a prosecute who has a background in reality television. he is a very controversial figure and has been for his entire life. the controversies do tend to rise to the surface a little bit. i took special note the other day when i was the pool correspondent for the oval office pool spray with the governor of puerto rico. the president talked for 35 minutes, which i think was a record setting oval office pool. the poor cameraman was going like this by the end of it. he really wanted to talk about puerto rico. i think the reason why he wanted to talk was there was some
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sensitivities on the part of the president that maybe he needed to get the story out there a little more against the opposition of how he believes this administration has responded approximate being a person born, forged into the controversy, the controversies are always going to rise to the surface which there's war with north korea that might trump the nfl. the heat is what rise -- you know heat rises. >> he loves the nfl story. he's told people that it's good base politics. it's also just intuitively what he's into. he tried to own an nfl franchise. it's part of the cultural milieu in which he exists. with the president, it typically works on four or five different levels. it doesn't tend to do anything
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for one particular reason. >> not to be debbie downer but there's a policy consequence for his agenda. that's part of the difficulty for republicans in advancing it. it's tough to stick to message. >> and rex tillerson. you get undercut in negotiations with the chinese and the north koreans. >> i think there's an obsession with the media. they far more rather talk about, they set up here and no offense to any of you guys but you act like you love to talk about policy. you have the platform. you're very able to steer the conversation to more sub ststane policy conversation. there's a lot of big things that have taken place in the administration that have gotten zero coverage. when it comes to the economy, the stock market is at an all time high. unemployment at a 16-year low. isis on the run.
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the supreme court justice nomination. there's some major things. deregulation at an unprecedented rate. nearly a thousands regulations cut back that have allowed a lot of companies that are creating jobs the growth that has taken place. that doesn't get talked about. if you look at polling of what americans care about, it's economy. it's jobs. it's national security. if you look at what the media covers, it is policy intrigue. it's who likes who today. it's whether this person is friends with this person. it's very rarely on the substantive policy issue. i think it's great for us to act like it's all driven by the white house inability to push things. we're getting a lot of things done. we're making a lot of progress but i don't think the media wants to talk about it often. >> april 6th, 2017, i remember
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that because it was my birthday. >> happy belated birthday. >> thank you very much. >> better late than never. >> i sat in the oval office with the president and we asked the president some serious questions and immediately turned the conversation to bill o'reilly. then he went onto susan rice talking about unmasking. we really had to chance him around in terms of the conversation to bring it back to infrastructure. he didn't want to talk about it. he didn't have a lot of specifics when we pressed him on specifics. >> i wasn't part of that meeting. if you look at the activity of the white house. today you have a foreign leader visit. you have a metal of honor award ceremony and those things got far less coverage just today alone and those are big things.
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>> that's always the case. the president has the bully pulpit. he has the capacity to set the agenda. doesn't it go both ways. you want more substantive coverag coverage you can contribute to it. >> i think we do every single day. >> let me ask you this. the medal ceremony would be the highest pieces. when you have a president who goes out on twitter and refutes what a gold star widow says, that's news. it's unfortunate that the nation is gripped in that but that's news. >> i think the whole process is