tv White House Defends Timing of Michael Flynn Firing CSPAN May 9, 2017 2:06pm-2:31pm EDT
here we are committed to five years later. three children, three grandchildren. -- here we are 35 years later. >> did your mom serve as well? >> my father did and her father did. >> what was your life like when your father served in the military? >> we traveled together -- it wasn't painful because we thought everyone did it. we had footlockers back then. went.w where everything we would pack them up and moved to the next asian big -- the next station. press sec. spicer: sorry i'm
late. good afternoon. the president this morning met with general mcmaster -- general mcmaster is helping lead the team that is organizing the president's upcoming foreign trip. the president has been focused on meeting with the team, getting ready for the various stops he will be making. the president has seen a great desire for america to reengage and be a leader once again in helping solve the world's complex problems. he's already made moves behind the scenes with leaders and in public statements to show that america is reasserting its leadership on the world stage. these visits are another important part of this american resurgence. the president will further our strategic objectives in the region my creating new opportunities that will strengthen the united states and our allies weakening our enemies. many of you are interested in the logistical aspects of this trip.
we will have for the briefing struck the week. -- throughout the week. i would like to announce that thepresident has invited crown prince of the united arab emirates to visit the white house on may 15 and the crown prince has accepted. see the visit as an opportunity to deepen cooperation with a key partner in the middle east. president spent his morning today on capitol hill. he met privately with majority leader mcconnell and had other important meetings with other senators. on thecussions focused half forward for the american health care act in the senate and how the administration can work with congress to craft a tax reform bill that follows the president's parodies of simplification while providing tax relief to american families and individuals. -- president's priorities. the vice president will be
joined by karen pence and general mcmaster and ivanka trump to welcome military families of all ranks for a reception at the white house. even recognizes national military appreciation month and national military spouse appreciation day this friday. president's cabinet is speaking with local officials and key stakeholders -- dr. tom price is in michigan and west virginia today where he will hear from those on the front lines against the opioid at the epidemic. the attorney general will be speaking on opioids on thursday at a summit in charleston, south carolina. strategy is designed to help cities and surrounding regions deal with heroin and prescription drug abuse and the violent crime associated with it. will bring event
together stakeholders and professionals working in law enforcement and prevention education, treatment, recovery, health care and emergency response. , secretary ross is speaking this afternoon at the 47th conference of the americas which is taking place at the state apartment. the event brings together administration officials and distinguished leaders from across the region to focus on major policy issues affecting the hemisphere. secretary tillerson participated in a signing ceremony with the prime minister of georgia. a major milestone in security cooperation between our two countries. the president was pleased to see several top administration --icials go to the senate heather wilson was confirmed as secretary of the air force and was confirmedtad as ambassador to china and is moving on for a vote on the
floor of the senate. the president looks forward to iebing dr. scott gotl confirmed as head of the fda today. the president will not be making an announcement regarding the announcement until after he returns from the g7 -- with that, i would be glad to take your questions. caitlin? presidenthy did the wait 18 days to fire michael flynn? the white house was informed of his conduct and warned he was a target for russian blackmail. the timing of this makes a lot of people think he wouldn't have been fired if the story had not come out in the media. press sec. spicer: first of all, let's look at the timeline. sally ates came here on the 26th of january. she informed the counselor's office there were materials that were relevant to the situation.
it wasn't until seven days later that they had access to those documents. after that time, they did what you should do, revealing the situation -- the informed the president right away after they were informed of her giving us a heads up. ultimately, the president made the right decision. the point i would put back on you -- some he came over and give us a heads up on a situation and told us there were materials. of materialsded seven days later and viewed those materials and underwent a process of reviewing situation and ultimately, the president made a decision that is the right one. the process worked, frankly, when you think of the time in which we had information to make the decisions the president made. he continue tod defend michael flynn? press sec. spicer: it's not a question of defending michael flynn or not. is somebody flynn
who honorably served our country in uniform for over 30 years. noted, lieutenant general flynn was asked for his resignation because he misled the vice president. career,ave an honorable he served with distinction in uniform for over 30 years and the president does not want to smear a good man. caitlin: was he still filling his role during this 18 days? wasn't it worrisome that he was still doing that? press sec. spicer: one thing i think is important to note -- let's look at how this came out. someone who is not exactly a supporter of the president's agenda. a couple days after this first conversation took place, refused to uphold a lawful order of the president who is not exactly excited about president trump taking office -- hold on.
let me answer the question. give us ame here and heads up and told us there were materials and at the same time, we did what we should do. just because him and you heads up about something doesn't mean you immediately jump the gun and take action. what if we just dismissed somebody because of political opponent of the president made an utterance? you would think it a rational to act on that matter. the president ultimately made the right decision and i think he was proven -- >> how is she a political opponent of the president? press sec. spicer: appointed by the obama administration and a strong supporter of clinton. number four.is meetings acouncil sign that the president is ready to withdraw from the paris accord? press sec. spicer: i think it is
simply a sign the president wants to continue to meet with -- notm and develop a just the economic peace, but the environmental team. >> [indiscernible] press sec. spicer: yes. >> what would winning mean to him? press sec. spicer: reducing the threat, especially when it comes to isis and the taliban. -- inating, minimizing the best case scenario. i think the answer is that we want to eliminate the threats against our national security. that pose a threat to our citizens and allies. we need to fully eliminate any threat around the globe. >> at one point, we had 100,000
troops there. gain thousand do the trick -- 15,000 of the trick? press sec. spicer: that is a very washington question. just because you spend more and throw more people doesn't mean you are doing it in the most effective way. he's asked his national security team to rethink the strategy. actually win and eliminate the threat? doing that isn't just a question of throwing money or people but looking at the mission and strategy. that's what the team has been doing holistically, not just in afghanistan, but the total beyond afghanistan looking at the threat of isis. >> [indiscernible] press sec. spicer: you will see. i don't know how he's going to do that. we will wait and see and go from there. john? >> the question about the
president's policy concerning arm syrian directly kurds against isis. has the president discussed this plan with the leader of turkey and what was the reaction from turkey? press sec. spicer: i don't know if he's addressed this to the president yet. the president authorized the department of defense to equip kurdish elements of the syrian forces to ensure victory over -- the only force on the ground that has successfully seized the city. we want to reassure the people and the government of turkey that the u.s. is committed to preventing security risks. all liberated territories should
return to the governance of local syrian arabs. another step towards illuminating the isis threat to peace and security in the region and the world. >> the secretary of state is meeting today with his counterpart from russia. are you expecting any deliverables from that particular meeting? press sec. spicer: we will have a readout when that is done. you inspect the isis review to be done by the time the president has to saudi arabia? -- you expect the isis review to be done by the time the president heads to saudi arabia? press sec. spicer: this is part of that. it is not entirely it. we will have more as we go forward. >> in this briefing, you've talked about the president's
desire to pull eliminate any threats around the globe. to united states wanting reassert its leadership on the world stage. some of the president's supporters will hear those comments and maybe here a bad omen about the president leading his mind and to more intervention -- will he deepen american involvement in conflict in syria and afghanistan and elsewhere? press sec. spicer: i think that his priorities remain the same. he will do what he can to protect the country and our people and threats directly affecting the united states. >> just following up -- the day that he was announced was under investigation, flynn and the russians
on a phone call. while he's under investigation, why is he being allowed to participate? press sec. spicer: i don't recall the schedule from that day. i answered the question a moment ago -- as i went through the timeline, sally eights gave us the heads up and provided us the opportunity. made it clear that materials were available for review. yates gave us a the head the heads up. what been very clear as to happened and why it happened. the president made the right decision and we moved on. >> can you confirm that the meetings between a bucket trump is bancaetween a banca
--anka trump does the president feel he can concessions while there? does he want more time? press sec. spicer: the president wants to make sure he has an opportunity to meet with his team to create the best strategy for this country going forward. sarah, welcome back. congratulations. >> thank you very much. at shouldn't president trump more troops in afghanistan -- add more trumps in afghanistan? andaid we were too involved campaign oed on that. he is sending a very different message.
press sec. spicer: there's a difference between afghanistan proper and our efforts to defeat isis. that's one thing he is also very clear on in the campaign and as president that he will do everything he can to fight radical islamic terrorism. afghanistan, they are not always the same -- the goal is always going to be to defeat isis. said, let's be clear, with the exception of the peace that theced today president of the riser survey, no decision has been made. let's not get ahead of what that ultimate policy will be. >> new give us a better sense of what the president has been doing with his time the last few days? we've only had one or two meetings.
press sec. spicer: as i said at the top of the president is trip to a nine-day saudi arabia, israel, rome, the g7, nato -- he will have the crown prince here. part of the use of this week is to be meeting with the principles and heads and directorates of the countries we are going to ahead of the meeting where he will be receiving extensive briefings that the week. he's had meetings with general mcmaster. he has met with the chief and his legislative team and his economic team. this is an opportunity for him to get ahead of this first really long foreign trip to make sure he is on a whole host of issues to make sure that we go in there and strengthen our relationships and make sure that we put america's parties first.
this priorities first -- put america's priorities first. thee questioned whether taxpayer-funded trade was in -- does the menstruation set parameters on what the congress and fbi should investigate -- does the administration set parameters on what the commerce and fbi should investigate? press sec. spicer: no. no.clapper said yesterday point, we have to take no for an answer. the director of national intelligence was asked if there's been anything he's seen additionally -- it continues to be no. all the things the president is doing economically and national security wise to move the
country forward is we need to take no for an answer and move on. >> is it the role of congress and the fbi to say when a matters be concluded? -- should be concluded? senator graham wants to look into president trump's business dealings to see if there are any connections to russia. press sec. spicer: the president was aware of senator graham's suggestion and he's fine with that. he has no business in russia, no connections to russia. he welcomes that. a fact, he's already charged leading law firm in washington, d.c. to send a certified letter to senator graham to that point. that should be a really easy look. matt? matt: two questions on two different topics. yates, you said she
was a strong supporter of hillary clinton. press sec. spicer: she was rumored to play a large role in the justice department -- >> it was reported that the fired usher received a generous severance package. press sec. spicer: i will get back to you on that. that today, we learned first learned of the travel ban while reading the newspaper -- was that an obamashe was appointee and clinton supporter? why was the acting attorney general not notified? press sec. spicer: i don't know we talkedsn't -- about all the proper individuals
that needed to be made aware were made aware of at the time. ultimatelyeone who didn't even want to enforce it. >> [indiscernible] press sec. spicer: ultimately, we were proved right about who needs to be in the loop on that. it was on purpose, though -- press sec. spicer: i did not say that. we discussed at the time of the exact order being signed back in january the process by which that would follow. >> sally yates said she was ready for the council to view the evidence that the doj but wasn't around to see if that happened. you said that took place seven days after her initial meeting. was the evidence against flynn related to the president at that id ther does th
president learn about the allegations through the media 18 days later? press sec. spicer: following the meeting with the white house counsel informed the president and senior white house personnel late on friday the 27th. yates and the council met to discuss issues she left unclear at the time. president fired her on the 30th of january after she refused to enforce the president's legal executive order. she overwrote the doj officials -- the white house did not get access to the underlying evidence until thursday, favor a february 2. that's when the full review began. once they had access to the information. >> was the president informed at
that time? press sec. spicer: he was informed at the front end. the council would seek the information she said was available to them. >> [indiscernible] you described that sally toes gave you a heads up -- do more than offer to provide materials. she encouraged the white house to act and expressed real concern about michael flynn being compromised by the russians. on saturday, michael flynn sat in on that phone call with president putin. is that the right call? press sec. spicer: again, what you have is somebody who was an obama appointee coming in and saying -- i get it -- at that moment my sure. you have to wonder why they are telling you something to the point where they had to come back a second time because what
they were saying was unclear. you said it was widely rumored that she wanted to be part of the clinton white house. --t makes you negate her press sec. spicer: no. this is somebody who is clearly that doj attorneys told her she should sign the president's lawful order and she chose not to do it. that vindicates the president's point. this is not someone who was looking out -- we were correct in the assumptions we made at the time. the white house as senate leadership to put more women on the working group -- asking the senate leadership to put more war women on the working group? press sec. spicer: i'm not going to tell leader