tv White House Briefing CSPAN October 21, 2017 12:28am-12:48am EDT
and russia. >> thank you. thank you and good luck. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: armed services committee chair, senator john mccain, and defense secretary toes mattis spoke briefly reporters on capitol hill following their meeting involving the recent attack on u.s. troops in niger. here is a look. >> what can you tell us about the meeting question mark -- the meeting? cain: acting deputy secretary and i just had another in a series of meetings in defending the nation, and we discussed various issues.
-- italways a displeasure is always a pleasure to spend time with him and discuss these things. >> you have been saying the administration was holding out about the details of the incident. in: i felt we were not getting a sufficient amount of information, we are clearing a lot of that up. >> [inaudible] did you agree with that? just generally speaking? secretary, do you agree with that? mattis: we can always improve on communication, and that is exactly what we would do. : the relationship between the secretary and i goes back 20 years. it is one of respect and appreciation, and one of
honoring his service. we continued to try to improve our lines of communication, and our regular meetings will be very helpful in that area. >> [indiscernible] sen. mccain: we are discussing that, and improving. [indiscernible] mccain: it depends on whether or not we get the witnesses are not. >> would you want to witness? mccain: the head of the cyber securities who was at the meeting yesterday. [inaudible]
>> would you say the president ordered that think interaction? tis: i don't discuss those kinds of things, thank you. mccain: the secretary and i have had a 20 year relationship. we had our issues, but i am proud to work with him. we will continue to work together in these very difficult and challenging times. i am proud to know him. thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you. >> secretary mattis, would you say it is an out -- it is a matter of hours or days or months? announcer: c-span recently sat down with hillary clinton to discuss her book "what happened." during the interview she spoke about a recent speech by former
president george w. bush on the current state of american politics. >> president bush thursday talked about the state of american politics. ton: i thought it was an important speech, and i really appreciated him delivering it. he talked about how white supremacy is an absolute blasphemy to the american creed. he talked about the importance of listening to each other and working with each other. i do not always agree with president bush, as i think any democrat sitting across from you would say, but i never doubted his patriotism, and i never doubted that he worked really hard all day, went to bed worried, woke up concerned about what he would do. i was in the oval office with him two days after 9/11 as a senator from new york. i looked into his eyes. i understood a lot of what he was having to face.
i appreciate him coming out and critique ofughtful where american politics is right now because we are on the wrong path. announcer: watch the entire c-span interview with hillary clinton on her book "what happened" sunday at 2:15 p.m. and 11:05 p.m. on book tv on c-span2. announcer: white house press secretary sander sanders -- sarah sanders answered several questions about general john kelly's remarks at the white house press briefing. this is 20 minutes. press sec. sanders: good
afternoon. it is friday. come on, guys. don't let brian show you up. i know there is more spirit out there. as many of you saw last night, the senate adopted a budget resolution. this is another milestone for tax reform and sets the stage for us to pass major tax cuts that will deliver more jobs and higher wages for hard-working americans all over the country. many of you have seen today that the first lady donated the gown she wore to the inaugural ball to the smithsonian's national museum of american history. in her speech, she mentioned that leading up to inauguration day, everyone was so busy getting ready that the dress designer ended up only having two weeks to work on the design and create the dress. it obviously came together, and the first lady is excited to take part in the rich tradition of first ladies contributing to and maintaining our great history. by the way, if you have not visited they smithsonian's exhibit of first lady dresses,
you certainly should take time to do that. lastly, today is a special day for all of us at the white house. there is a lot of people here who serve the president and our country behind-the-scenes. one of those people is hope hicks our incredible communications director. , tomorrow is her birthday, and as you know, i love a good birthday, so i wanted to make sure to mention it here in the last briefing of the week. happy birthday, hope. if you get a minute, be sure to send her a note and wish her happy birthday. thanks for your selfless leadership, and perhaps most importantly your great sense of humor. with that, happy friday, and i will take your questions. jeff. reporter: the president said in an interview with fox business, he was considering -- should we take that as a signal that other candidates are not doing a good job? press sec. sanders: we still have an announcement on that and that is something under
consideration, but he has not ruled out a number of options and he will have an announcement on that soon in the coming days. guest: what else his looking for a smart -- what else is he looking for? press sec. sanders: i'm not going to get ahead of a big and i'm spent like that the president will make, but we will keep you posted when we are ready to roll that out. reporter: on that note, janet yellen said the president was extremely critical of her during the campaign, saying at one point that she was too political and should be shamed of herself and was a political arm of the president and hillary clinton. now he has said rather nice things about her, most recently a couple of times that he respects her. what has changed in his thinking with janet yellen over the last year? can you shed some light on the relationship? press sec. sanders: i think them having the opportunity to spend time directly communicating with one another, certainly through this process. but beyond that i'm not going to weigh in any further into this process and where we are, other than the fact the president will
make an announcement soon. reporter: when is the president going to weigh in on what happened to those four special ops soldiers in niger? press sec. sanders: i am not sure i follow your question there. reporter will the president : addressed publicly what happened? when? press sec. sanders: as we said, as general kelly addressed, the department of defense has initiated a review which occurs anytime there is an american killed in action. we are going through that process. the president, the department of defense, and frankly the entire country and government want to know exactly what happened. the president and the nation are grateful for those american four heroes, and we won't rest until we get some answers and , that is part of this process. that is what we will do when the , time is appropriate, we will talk about the details of the investigation. reporter: "the florida sun sentinel" released a video of
congresswoman wilson's speech in 2015. in the speech, it doesn't appear she referenced funding for the fbi building. does general kelly stand by the statement he made yesterday that he felt she was grandstanding? that she was taking credit? press sec. sanders: absolutely. general kelly said he was stunned that representative wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring fbi agents about her own actions in congress, including lobbying former president obama on legislation. as general kelly pointed out, if you are able to make a sacred act about honoring american heroes about yourself, you are an empty barrel. if you don't understand that reference, i will put a little more simply. as we say in the south, all hats and no cattle. : use all the speech and saw that it was it decently praising the service members, and that she was talking about what she did in congress not , talking about securing $21
million? she was talking about naming the building. fbi agents, who she then went on to effusively praise, and that was the bulk of the speech. press sec. sanders: she also had quite a few comments that day that weren't part of that speech and video that were also witnessed by many people that were there. what general kelly referenced yesterday. reporter: tell us specifically. press sec. sanders: exactly what he said. there was a lot of grandstanding. he was stunned she had taken that opportunity to make it about herself. reporter: can he not be here to talk to us about that? press sec. sanders: i think he addressed that thoroughly yesterday. reporter: he was wrong yesterday. press sec. sanders: if you want to go after general kelly, that is up to you. if you want to get into a debate with a four-star marine general i think that is highly , inappropriate. go ahead. reporter: one president trump spoke at the cia building in january, in front of the stars of 117 cia agents who had fallen and been killed in the line of duty, he talked about a number of things including himself. he talked about fake news attacking him.
he talked about the mlk controversy. he talked about crowd size. press sec. sanders: that wasn't an event set to memorialize those individuals. that was a celebration talking about the transfer of power. it is two very different events. if you look at the president's comments at events like the 9/11 ceremony earlier this year, those were very somber. those were focused specifically on those events. those are not even apples to apples. that's not a fair comparison. reporter: thank you. putting the congresswoman aside for a second, i want to focus on what the mother of sergeant johnson said. she said she felt the president disrespected her in his comments. regardless of the president's intentions, is the president concerned that what he said might have come across as disrespectful, and does he plan to follow up with her and repair that relationship? press sec. sanders: certainly if the spirit in which those
comments intended were misunderstood, that is very unfortunate. but as the president has said, as general kelly said, who has a very deep understanding of what that individual will be going through, his comments were very sympathetic, very respectful, and that was the spirit in which the president intended them. if they were taken any other way, that's an unfortunate thing. reporter: the 43rd president of the united states, george w. bush, made comments in new york city yesterday. i would like you to address some comments he made concerning the issue of russia, specifically russian influence in the united states. he said "the russian government has made a project of turning americans against each other" and that "russian entegris will not be successful. foreign aggression including cyber attacks, disinformation,
and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated." do you agree with those sentiments? press sec. sanders: do we agree that russian interference should not be tolerated? absolutely. we have said that many times before and would certainly argue that that has been repeated. i know i have said it at least a dozen times from this podium. reporter: i want to follow up with a question i asked you a few times, most recently in july. it relates to our relationship with russia, and i have never gotten an answer from you. does president trump view russia as an ally, a partner, or an adversary? press sec. sanders: as i have said before, i think a lot of that depends on russia and what type of relationship they want to have, and whether or not they want to be a good actor or a bad actor. we are going to continue trying to work with them on certain things that are very important, particularly for national security on things like syria,
on things like north korea. we would like to be able to work with them to confront some of those threats. so some of that will be determined by the actions russia takes and how they want to be perceived. reporter: i also have a question about the george w. bush speech. first to clarify, are you saying the white house is no longer saying that the congresswoman talked about the funding? that she talked about legislation in general? press sec. sanders: i specifically said and will repeat it again, general kelly said he was stunned she made the comments about herself. that was the point of what he said. that was what took place here yesterday, and we still stand by those comments. reporter: on the george w. bush speech, he said at one point "when bigotry is emboldened, our policies seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication." does president trump agree with that assessment, and what does he see as his role addressing that? ms. sanders: does he agree with the assessment of what? reporter: that bigotry seems
emboldened and our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. those were former president bush's words. press sec. sanders: i think if everybody is pushing fabricated things, most people would think that is coming from the news media and i would agree with that sentiment. reporter: the president signed an executive order today that appears to allow the pentagon to recall retired officers into duty under the 9/11 authority he has. what is the reason for this executive order? press sec. sanders: i don't have anything further on that, and i will have to get back to you. reporter: general kelly is upset this has become a political conversation, the president's call with the widow. more broadly, the fallout. why did he feel like it was appropriate to come here calling her an empty barrel, unlike calling her privately like he has done with other members of congress? why did president trump feel the need to take that further today and tweet about a it?tion mark -- about
press sec. sanders: i think it is simple. you guys are the ones talking about the story, and he felt it was necessary to address you and america directly. all of this story has been given an enormous amount of coverage over the last and he felt it was 48 hours, important people got a full and accurate picture of what took place. that was a personal decision he made that he wanted to come up and not just share with you, but share to all of america and make an appeal to america to go back to kind of honoring that sacred code of gold star families. reporter: the president was asked -- press sec. sanders: hold on, to follow up on that why the , president felt the need to respond, it is because it should have ended yesterday after general kelly's comments, but it did not. it is continuing today. it is still the bulk of the coverage on most tv you turn on, in most every newspaper you open up today and the president , responded to those continued
andsations mischaracterizations of his comments. reporter: another president the question was asked earlier today, whether he authorized the mission in niger. can you give us more information? was it something he authorized or was even aware of before american soldiers were killed? press sec. sanders: as i said, in the process any time an , american is killed in action, there is a full review that takes place. before we start jumping to any conclusions, we want to make sure that is completed fully and then we'll have those details for you at that time. reporter: on niger, a congressional aide was briefed on the matter. there was an indication of a massive intelligence failure. is that the assessment of the white house? press sec. sanders: once again, as i just told sarah, we are going to wait until the review is completed by the department of defense and answer those questions at that time. guest: one more question. on the phone call, can you get to that question?
the operation in niger? did the president authorized >> -- the operation in niger? did the president authorized press sec. sanders: again i am , not going to get into any of the details at this point. you may be able to talk to those at the department of defense and they can answer anything further, but where we are in the process, until the review is complete, we are not going to weigh in any further. i'm going to try to get to everybody. reporter: given all the reaction to the content of the phone calls, does president trump intend to make phone calls to families of the fallen in the future should other americans die while he is commander-in-chief? press sec. sanders: we are hoping and praying those phone calls do not have to take place and that is where we are right now. reporter: "the los angeles times" has reported the military requestedin niger had