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Sean Spicer
  Sean Spicer on Decision Not to Release Visitor Logs Were Following the...  CSPAN  April 17, 2017 6:18pm-6:50pm EDT

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those with certain incomes, and the former ambassador to six countries, including syria, afghanistan, and i rack, looking at tensions in the region, including u.s. military action in syria and afghanistan. he sure to watch c-span's "washington journal." join the discussion. announcer: next, the white house briefing withjoin the discussio. press secretary sean spicer, talking about the nuclear program and stressing that the president will not address his strategy. he also talked about the white house visitor laws. this is half an hour.
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secretary spicer: good afternoon, everybody. i hope everybody had a great easter holiday and had a chance to go out and check out the activity on the south lawn. ladyresident and first welcomed thousands of families h easter egg roll and when it is all done, we will have had active duty military, veterans, patience from local children's hospital all here to share in this historic event. the presidentw, is finishing up his regular meeting with the secretary of state. the vice president, of course, is on a trip to south korea, japan, indonesia, and australia. the vice president participated in easter church service with both american and south korean service members and has been holding bilateral meetings with the south korean government. the vice president is delivering
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a message to the people on behalf of the president, but even in these troubled times, the united states stands with them for a free and secure future. under president trump, our i am allianceour ironclad will remain. from there, the vice president will go to japan it will continue to provide updates as they warned throughout the rest of the week. looking ahead, tomorrow, the president goes to wisconsin, buye he will talk about his america tour and work with snap-on. backgroundhaving a briefing later this afternoon with senior administration officials regarding details of the trip. further guidance should be coming out in your in fox's momentarily. on wednesday, the president will sign the veterans choice act.
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the president is proud to sign this legislation, which passed unanimously by the senate earlier this month. it assures veterans have caught toity of care, working develop a plan that reforms the ba system and gives our nation's euros care that they -- reforms the v.a. system and gives our nation's heroes the care they deserve. italy willinister of be here. and with that, i will start off with the birthday boy, jim costa. reporter: does the president have a redline when it comes to north korea? if they cross it, they will bring about military response? i think wepicer: have talked about the use of red lines the four, and drawing red lines really have not worked in
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the past. he holds his cards close to his best. we do not see him telegraphing how we will respond. that is something he believes does not -- has not served us well in the past. we did this with most soul. -- with mosul. it gives the intended recipient of action a heads up. i do not think you're going to see the president drawing red lines in the sand. reporter: to follow up on that, syria is one thing. when you talk about we did this to syria, we did this to afghanistan -- bombastic rhetoric. no, no, andicer: please do not read into it. i think it is quite the opposite. but with respect to north korea
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in particular, the president had a good meeting with president xi down in mar-a-lago, where he spoke about the relationship they made down there and that they continue to work to improve, and the results of that are paying off. i think you see china playing a much more active role with respect to north korea. both politically and economically, they can continue to apply pressure to achieve results, and i think we will continue to urge china to exhibit its influence in the region. i understand, and it failed. we are well aware of what is going on. we monitor that situation. the president is kept up-to-date, as you know, but i think we will continue to work with china to try to find a way forward. >> the relationship that he developed with president xi, leaning on the north korean
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government. like what you saw over the weekend. inseems that that effort terms of leaving on north korea did not work. that, the vice foreign minister of north korea said to the bbc today that north korea will test its missiles on a weekly and monthly and yearly basis, so my question is, what kind of pressure is china putting on them? secretary spicer: i think this goes back to what jim is asking, which is to telegraph what we are asking others to do. for example, on the economic side of things, china is the number one importer of north korean coal. i think to see them curtail some of that has a real economic impact on the region. there is a lot of economic and political pressure points that i think china can utilize, and we
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have been very -- with the direction they are going. >> essentially, what they tried to do over the weekend. even china, because of what -- i understandcer: the question. i just think we are not there yet. there are conversations that are ongoing. let's not get ahead of ourselves. we had a very productive direction that we have seen china move in, and i think there is an agreement by everyone so know, a nuclear capable north korea is not in anybody's best interests, and i think we will continue to work with the chinese in this case. reporter: the white house visitor logs. what was the extent of their review? what made you change your mind to not continue? as was notedcer:
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on friday, we are following the same procedure that every administration has done for beginning of time. we will comply with the presidential records act as stated by law. reporter: why is the president -- secretary spicer: it is not objecting. it is following the law, both the presidential records act and the federal records act. it is the same policy that every a been a stray should had up until the obama administration, and the obama administration would put out, when they would scrub it, the president wants to make sure that people can, in the same way they can go to ,embers of congress's office and there are people who want to be able to have that conversation with members of the ministration, the same way they would do with the congress. the opportunity for transparency? i'm trying toer:
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explain that to you. this is why we maintain the same and when you scrub everyone's name out that you do not want everyone to know, that is not an honest attempt. we are going to follow with in a way that every administration has followed up. reporter: the rationale given , both national security and privacy concerns, that a thirdg you described, rationale that you are giving? i touched oncer: privacy. people have a right. reporter: obama administration -- secretary spicer: they said what it was, but you do not know who got left off.
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they chose to leave people out for whatever reason, and they gave an excuse, and no one questioned it, but i think the bottom line is, as i said, to have the same policy that every president has had an comply with and we are following basically the same thing that congress follows. people ton option for be able to go and express their opinion. in a lot of cases, we bring in you guys probably to a greater extent. an i think there is opportunity for the american people who want to come and have and became a to share their view, so, again, remember, this is the same policy that every president and every administration has followed.
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ran for: this president office with a campaign of draining the swap. members of the swap can walk in, and there is no recourse. swamp can of the walk in, and there is no resource -- recourse. secretary spicer: what i am saying is all of those are subject to the federal records act. look.nt is, this is a policy that has existed from the beginning of time since they were kept. faux a it is not really transparent when you scrub out the names of people you do not want people to know are here. following the same procedures that everyone else has. : on north korea, is the
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president prepared to act alone, or does he feel that congress should be involved in the process in any decision that involves the use of force? secretary spicer: i what you saw with respect to the action you saw. members of congress were and ied of his actions and act in a way that helps us. reporter: tax filing deadline coming up, is the president going to release his tax returns and assume those are not those
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are under? mr. spicer: they are. and same thing that was discussed during the campaign trail. the president is under audit and outine one that continues. the people understand how successful the president is page in packses. nothing has changed. reporter: i.r.s. never comments. this is an extraordinary and the president could authorize the i.r.s. to confirm he is under audit and give us details. what years and how long? will the president authorize the i.r.s. mr. spicer: it has been very clear and the american
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understood it. and would be a mistake. it is a standard operating procedure to plan for contingencies in a number of operations and number of hot spots throughout the world and
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with respect to korea in particular, it has been going on for decades. reporter: how high dose the president view the threat from north korea? mr. spicer: we are aware of the activities they are engaged in. and the national security monitors him. reporter: one of the reasons that a successive administrations has chosen to negotiate with the leaders of north korea is because there are no good military options. does the president believe there are military options? mr. spicer: taking anything on or off the table, limiting his options.
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reporter: i think at this point -- mr. spicer: we would rather not get ahead of that report and start to make decisions without knowing. here were observers there. reporter: when vice president pens regarding north korea's strategic patience is over, what does that mean? mr. spicer: it was a policy that the obama administration enacted to basically wait and see. i think we have understood that
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policy is not one that is prudent ent for the united states. and you see stepped-up efforts particularly with respect to china. and i think the relationship building esident is zsh wn in marrow mar-a-lago. and engage with partners that ave political influence. >> and particularly on north korea, you want to telegraph what the president will make. president trump is more inclusive and unpredictable than kim junk un.
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r. spicer: i disagree, when he reacted in syria, the world exuent, not just the world community they applauded the president's actions. i think, absolutely. i think that you have to look at he flip. and but around the globe, people are excited that the president is taking action and did he sice i havely. reporter: you are not taking
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options off the table. war on the korean peninsula will cost lives. is this to be read as an acceptance of that riffing by he trump administration?
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taking anything on or off the table is limiting your options to some degree, so i'm not even going to discuss that. reporter: is the president concerned at all about reports from international monitors that the referendum gives the turkish president powers with irregularities in it? mr. spicer: my understanding is if there is a group reviewing this, we will wait and let them do their job. there are international monitors throughout turkey. mr. spicer: that's a stretch. i think don't -- that's the point. i'm not -- no. it's not a question of taking a risk or not taking a risk. you go down ar dangerous path. the president is very clear and everybody who has been briefed on him and when you look at the quality of the national security team that is surrounding him, all accounts, all across the board, you know that the president is getting sound and strategic advice on how to
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rotect our national interests. and the safety of the peninsula is protected. >> what about the criticism from people on the hill say, you are just hiding a domestic agenda. >> i never heard that crist
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similar. we travel in different circles. i don't think there is anybody who believes that after seeing the launches that they are taking and the work they are undertaking any attempt to protect our country and national interests is other than the right. reporter: this morning in an interview, you referred to the missile launch as a military a task, that contradicts. mr. spicer: it was an unsuccessful launch. reporter: no specific evidence. mr. spicer: unsuccessful missile launch. eporter: you talked about in the context of attempting to expand china's role in pressuring north korea. do you believe china has the wer to change north korea to
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do so and a followup? mr. spicer: that is a good uestion. whether or not they achieve that outcome is yet to be seen but i think there are things they could exhibit in both of those areas, but is clearly the prudent thing for the president to do to build that relationship and see if we can achieve an outcome that is in all her best interests. reporter: how concerned are you about it up tick in the language that a tweet could potentially provoke military action? is there concern a lot of the words being thrown around could have an unforeseen impact? how concerned is he about the risk of unintentional conflict? mr. spicer: i don't think that is there. i think we are taking all the prudent steps. reporter: first, a follow-up on the tax question. you always talk about we are under audit. is it time to say once and for all the president is never going o release his tax returns?
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mr. spicer: i will have to get back to you on that. eporter: really?
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mr. spicer: he may. i will have to get back to you on that. he is still under audit in the statement still stands. >> on north korea, you say china is playing an act of role, a historic role right now in pressuring the north koreans. what are they doing? mr. spicer: when you look at coal in particular, that is their number one export. i think they have taken some helpful economic actions and exhibited positive signs on the diplomatic front as well. but this is an ongoing conversation based on the relationship that president has with president xi. it is encouraging, the signed china is showing. reporter: did the president suggest there was a quid pro quo in not declaring china a currency manipulator because they were going to help with north korea? so if china does not adequately put pressure on north korea, is he going to go back and declare them a currency minute later? mr. spicer: a couple of things on that. they have not been manipulating their currency since he has been in office. the president said to do so at this time would not be prudent. it is not a quote. just with them helping to take positive steps to address the issue in north korea to label them a currency manipulator would not be very productive in achieving an important national strategic objective.
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reporter: on the taxes and visitor logs, there are experts on both sides of the aisle who say this is the least transparent administration in decades. mr. spicer: i think we have taken several steps to allow people access the white house in terms of the press, we hold regular -- we release participant list and give press the opportunity to come in and see everyone who is there in your part of the discussion. i would respectfully disagree with that. reporter: only 45% believe he will keep does he risk being seen as a flip-flop or? mr. spicer: i mentioned that on
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the currency and on nato, we talked about this last week. question in my mind isn't looking at the issue and seeing -- i mentioned nato, there are certain things and if you go back to september 29 of last year, he was talking very specifically about the moves he was seeing nato make in a positive direction. already at that point, they are not manipulating their currency. the treasury did issue a report that them on a watchlist with a number of other countries. i know it's easy to take an issue and say -- make it seem very black and white. but there's movement to the president's decision and i would argue he's she -- achieving a ot of results.
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when you talk about the big issues they promised the american people in terms of immigration, you see immigration at 50% of the border. jobs are coming back and you see companies talk about new job creation and new manufacturing here. the executive orders you signing are consistent with the promises he made on the campaign trail. on issue after issue, whether it's national security or job security, the president made very clear promises that he made over and over again, he is achieving great success. i would argue we will continue to see the president be awarded -- rewarded by the american people on that front. reporter: does the white house believe those other locations should be treated like this and that you guys will be transparent about who he is eeting with and what kind of
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business is being conducted while he is there? mr. spicer: i think we have been fairly consistent with meeting out who he is being with and providing the pool access. obviously, the president has time to spend with family and makes phone calls to provide readouts from those foreign leaders -- i think we've done a fairly good job making sure people know who he is meeting with and when appropriate him of the context of those calls. reporter: we get reports saying -- we can't even get an answer to whether he is golfing or not. mr. spicer: i get that someday she don't get as quick as you want. with all due respect, he is entitled to have moments with his family and private time. respectfully, i would disagree. we do a good job of getting you nformation and bring you along to events whether here or at an out location or going out to
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dinner. the president is entitled to have some time with his family and friends to just catch up. reporter: that is different from what you are -- mr. spicer: her question was what about official visits. when he has a call and meet with advisers, we put it out. when he's meeting internally, and the same way when he is meeting here with his staff, we don't read out every staff meeting that is going on. when he is traveling and whether he is on air force one or whatever, that is what his staff does. they provide them with policy briefings and making key decisions with insight into a particular issue. i would respectfully suggest we've done a good job making sure the pool is providing information in terms of whereabouts and we have provided briefings on where we are going
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and what we intend to do. there's always going to be this act and forth and you are always going to want more. thank you guys very much. we look forward to seeing you in wisconsin tomorrow. thank you. national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit] >> two events with senior firblings from the obama administration, valerie jarrett and loretta lynch. on c-span 2 --