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tv   Happening Now  FOX News  March 31, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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>> thank you so much, governor huckabee, always a pleasure. >> i had a great time with you guys. the hour always goes so fast. >> next time, bring your guitar, would you? speak of people have asked me -- to see me play, they asked me not you. >> "happening now" now. >> dana: a flurry of new details and the rush investigation, to white house officials give intelligence committee chairman devon and his access to information that the white house said it opened to democrats, too. welcome to the second hour of "happening now," i am in for it jenna lee. >> ed: i'm and had read in scott. were also waiting where dana used her vein, sean spicer at the podium, there about half an hour from now, pretty jampacked day. >> dana: it is a big news day, you always think on fridays, maybe this will be a lighter day. it never is. >> ed: all of a sudden, general mike flynn may be looking for an immunity deal, on the other end at pennsylvania avenue, lawmakers are preparing for that possibility.
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former national security advisor could be ready to testify under oath about surveillance and any potential ties between the trump camp and russia. >> dana: garrett tenney is live on capitol hill, it's a busy day out there. >> it certainly is. attorneys for michael flynn have reached out to both the white house and senate intelligence conveys as well as the fbi to offer his testimony as part of their investigation. in return, they are asking for protection, suggesting some assertive immunity deal. in that letter, his attorneys explain no reasonable person who has the benefit of advice from counsel would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution. at this point, it is not clear how likely an immunity deal is, but the president tweeted his support saying: "mike flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt -- excuse for big election loss -- by media and dems, of historic proportion!"
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that prompted the top democrat on the house intelligence community newly my committee adam schiff to say "the public should learn a lot more about why general flynn wants immunity when sally yates testifies before the house intelligence committee." for his part, we've now been outside schiff's office all day, we've been told he's on capitol hill just not here in his office. today he may be weak might make his way over to the white house to review some of the same documents the house chairman intelligence community chairman devin nunes viewed last week at the white house. in his response to the white house invitation yesterday, adam schiff said that it is also important the full committee be able to have a chance to review those documents, and he also stressed that the documents alone will not be enough to determine if there was a legal surveillance happening. >> that is impossible to do without consulting the agencies to find out how the materials were gathered and why there was a need to know in case of any
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unmasking of names. this is not something that is going to be apparent on the face of the documents. >> the white house has also invited the top members of the senate intelligence committee to come and view those documents at the white house as well, but that if mike invitation has been the client and instead the senate intelligence committee has requested those documents be sent to them directly from the agencies that collected the information. >> dana: thank you so much peer that is interesting that the senate is basically saying, we are not coming to you. we are keeping some distance. >> ed: does that mean they have something else on general flynn flynn that does not involve going up the chain of command at the white house and they do not want to cut a deal? >> dana: or looking to show there is a separation of powers to say it is not appropriate for us to come to the white house if people at the white house are involved in the investigation. we don't want to become a witness to our own investigation. >> ed: for sean spicer, you know the podium can be difficult at times. all of a sudden, you have not just a political problem here with the russia story but a
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legal morass if you will, and as you know, being at the podium, it gets sticky where you don't want to insert yourself. >> dana: or even not being at the podium, i was eight spokesperson on the plane issue for a wild, and you have to be careful when things are under investigation so you do not look like you are trying to weigh in or interfere and that would be inappropriate, and you know there are a lot of lives involved, people who may be completely innocent. >> ed: you're right, this is sensitive information and some of it spilling out, another part of this which is the unmasking of people, names, a whole other part of the investigation. let's dig a little deeper as we wait for the white house briefing in sean spicer, let's go to our political panel. editor for "the boston globe" and associate editor of "the hill," good to see you both. i want to see you because what do you think of the political drama for the white house, which has been playing out for a long time, but there is a legal drama that now is may be front and
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center because of the possibility, and i underline the word possibility, of an immunity deal for general flynn. >> i think any day michael flynn is a headline is a bad day for the trump administration. this is a person who was forced to resign, not something donald trump wants to talk about, and i think anytime there's also an investigation into a house investigation or senate investigation, any time that is a headline is bad for donald trump especially because some of these investigations involve russia. this is not stop he wants to talk about. he wants to pivot to things like infrastructure or tax reform, move away from healthcare, and this is not the debate he wants to have and shows he has lost control of the debate in a lot of ways that you need to if you want to drive an agenda in washington. >> ed: what about the drama inside the west wing? people on capitol hill, a place you cover closely, especially republicans wondering if this trump white house is going to get its sea legs, and she makes a great point about general flynn and the drama there, they hoped to turn the page.
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yesterday, we see separate but related, the top deputy to chief of staff reince priebus, former rnc official all of a sudden stepped aside, and she wants to focus on the outside political arm, but a lot of people are wondering whether there will be more shakeups inside the west wing. >> it the failure of the healthcare bill last week really slowed down the administration, and now we see the red wings of a shuffle at least with one official leaving, going to an outside group. i think the fact that you have these restaurant probes going on, you have a lot of disunity in the republican party over what to tackle next, is a tax reform, returning to the healthcare bill, looking at that again. that is something that no one necessarily as on the exact same page and the timing of that, it too, we're over the halfway point of the first 100 days, and the momentum is only there for so long. >> ed: pick up on that point because i have covered enough white houses, democrat or republican that anytime the
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media says they are done, they are drowning, dana can tell you about this laughing and chuckling, how many times was the political obituary written about george w. bush? he kept coming back. every time the media writes somebody off, there can always be a comeback. let's not just focus on the negative, give us an idea moving forward because jesse makes a great point, were not even past the first 100 days. what are two or three initiatives you think this white house can grab hold of to turn this around? >> absolutely. if there is one thing the media loves, it is a comeback story. if you can see something where trump is on a really popular issue and calls out from the 36% approval rating to the 40s, that would be amazing as a story. it certainly would be worth covering peer but to do that, he would need to seize on particular issues. it seems like lately he suggested although he has said different things about this that he might want to work with democrats on a few key issues. i mentioned earlier infrastructure, this is something a lot of democrats and even some republicans although
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certainly not the freedom caucus would want to see a plan or proposal talking about the future of infrastructure and a lot of these urban centers or suburban centers, and these are the same people who do not have a high opinion, these people who live in this part of the country don't have a high opinion of donald trump so they talk about tax reform and changing the tax code, that is something wall street wants to see, stocks could rally and any indication that is next on the list. >> ed: pick up on that because the economy is still doing well right now. that is a positive point for president trump. dana mentioned that earlier in our program. particularly with the freedom caucus, he a lot of these members, mark meadows and others, are very popular back home, and some of their constituents are saying, dig in. don't give into this white house. stick to your guns. how does that play out? >> your definitely seeing that were some lawmakers are emboldened as they stand up to trump and if he goes after them individually and threatens them,
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does not make them look good, they bend and go along with his agenda in a particular area. overall, of course, republicans want to stick together and get some of these big things done, but at the inn of the day, politics is local, of course, and these lawmakers have to answer to their constituents over some of these issues. for a lot of these house freedom caucus members, these ideas and proposals for replacing obamacare do not go enough to repeal obamacare and that is a problem with their constituents. >> ed: we appreciate it, as you said, lawmakers have to answer to constituents, and sean spicer has to answer to the press corps in a few minutes. good to see you. >> dana: i think they are looking forward to that briefing. there is also bringing news on trump university, a federal judge has just approved an agreement for president trump to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits involving the now defunct university. the decision ending seven years of legal battles. stemming from people who claimed they were misled by failed
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promises to teach success in real estate. under terms of the settlement, mr. trump admits no wrongdoing. attorneys say thousands of customers will get at least 90% of their money back. >> ed: meanwhile, i mentioned the white house briefing set to begin and 20 minutes, we will bring it to you live when it starts. thus, there are signs that democratic law may be weakening as to democrats say they plan to support the president's nomination of neil gorsuch. but that may not stop efforts to filibuster him anyway try alka seltzer heartburn relief chews. they work fast and don't taste chalky. mmmmm...amazing. i have heartburn. alka seltzer heartburn relief chews. enjoy the relief.
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>> ed: two democratic senators now say they will cross the aisle to vote for supreme court nominee neil gorsuch. but judge gorsuch you may still face a hurdle in his path to the high court. as democratic leadership remains devoted to derailing that nomination. chief congressional correspondent mike emanuel of course is live on this story on whether they may be going nuclear. >> good afternoon. it is setting up to be quite a
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showdown in the senate next week with republican saying judge neil gorsuch's will be confirmed to the supreme court one way or another. judge gorsuch's received very high marks for his responses to questions during the confirmation process and the senate, republicans say he has highly qualified to sit on the supreme court, but there is still a lot of anger that president obama's last nominee merrick garland never received consideration senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says this controversy is not about judge gorsuch. >> no matter the nominee, i said that before we had the nominee, we can expect to hear a lot of end times rhetoric from the left. and in fact, we already have. i was alluding then to the fact that sight unseen we already begun hearing from those on the far left he vowed to oppose anyone, anyone the president nominated. >> a couple players to watch in this to show down senator john mccain and colorado democrat senator michael bennett. bennett introduced judge gorsuch at his confirmation hearing as his home state senator, so
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perhaps he can support the judge or at least opposed the filibuster. john mccain is an institutionalist, talking to colleagues, trying to avoid a change in the senate rules, but he does not sound very optimistic. the senate's top democratic continues insisting course gorsuch must get 60 votes. >> in the past, when a president's nominee did not get enough support for confirmation for whatever reason, the president just picked another nominee. if it comes to that, that is what this president should do. if judge gorsuch fails to garner 60 votes, the answer is not just to irrevocably change the rules of the senate. the answer is to change the nominee. >> republicans say gorsuch deserves the straight up and down vote. there's not a lot of goodwill in the senate these days, and so there are a lot of folks appear on capitol hill who believe we may be heading for a rules change to the so-called nuclear option. >> ed: the drama builds, we appreciate it. >> dana: i think he was being over generous when he said there's not not a lot of good
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health delete at will on capitol hill. he's always a positive guy. >> ed: he's trying to be optimistic but there is not a lot of optimism. >> dana: may be senator claire mccaskill says this is not such a good strategy for us. >> ed: on top of that, interesting how that speeches change when the presidency changes because chuck schumer was saying different things when it was obama. i'm not going to list those off, a little different. >> dana: do f9, search and replace. we are monitoring the white house where press secretary sean spicer is expected to address the press corps about 10 minutes from now. we will take you there live when the daily briefing begins. plus, president trump calling that put russian investigation a witch hunt cooked up by the media and democrats, this as his former national security advisor is reportedly seeking a pass. we will debate it fair and balanced. and i finally found our big idaho potato truck. it's been touring the country telling folks about our heart healthy idaho potatoes,
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>> dana: president trump taking aim again at one of his favorite targets, the media. this as michael flynn said he is ready to testify about russia and any contacts with it for the trump campaign in return for immunity. he fired off the tweet: "mike flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt -- excuse for big election loss -- by media and dems, of historic proportion!" washington bureau chief for the "chicago sun-times," and a radio talk show host and fox news contributor, fellow dog lover i would be happy to say. here's the thing. we certainly know that there has been overzealous special prosecutors in the past. we know that this is a story that gets a lot of attention from the media, but there is also the fact that new revolutions revelations come out every day they have to shoot down at the white house. >> there are yet at the same time you have to wonder about the revelations come as a coming from the fantasy world of the opposition, is it partisan?
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there is one thing we do know for sure, which is interesting about michael flynn. there was a crime committed that we know as a fact, and that is the unmasking of his name and the dishy region of that. that is a federal felony. what's interesting to me when it comes to the media coverage and even discussion is that is not really discussed at all into what either of the house or the senate hearing would discuss. the headlines, of course, jay is, is this bad for trump? is michael flynn guilty? is that why he wants immunity? but overall, it is recognized that because of overreaching prosecutors, no reasonable defense lawyer would let their client go forward in a dynamic with a law enforcement agency or with congress without a guarantee of immunity, especially when you have had such a history of aggressive discussions, discussions about criminality. it seems reasonable to me considering the history. >> dana: you have a wealth of expertise and have covered so
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many administrations. i wonder if you think -- it just seems a highly unusual to have so much leaking going on and an intelligence case. do you think it is different this time? >> let's not do comparisons because there is nothing comparable this trump white house, which all your viewers know. i think if this is immediate sentiment, when you look at it, the republicans in general are more interested in finding out information about the leaks and the democrats in general are more interested in finding out about the russian meddling in the election. both are worthy streams of stories to follow, and they are both being followed in these committees on capitol hill and the house and senate which are led by republicans. there is bandwidth to do two or three streams of inquiries at one time. >> dana: if you were to advise the white house, how can they get back to talking about what they want to be talking about, the policies and making america
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great again, the economy? what do you think they could do to try to get russia onto the back pages? >> ronald reagan did something much more aggressively than trump is doing. he had regular speeches to the american people, many of which were right from the oval office. we know donald trump has twitter, but having even a five or ten minute conversation directly to the american people, which frankly would have done very well for the first travel executive order and even their approach with the obamacare repealed, and i think americans are used to that. twitter, i think, is good for the president in that he is able to interject in the daily narrative from the media, but ultimately, the more people get to know him as we saw in the state of the union address, when they hear from him directly, they like him. he is able to convey the nature of what their agenda is. so more direct communication via the reagan style to the american people, not hesitating to use the oval office, and showing himself in the realm as
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president. the media wants to try to change him and keep him as a reality show star, if you will, the more he can use his power of the bully pulpit of the white house is good. the more he communicates beyond rallies, but directly into a camera to the make and people would help. >> dana: how does the media, either the briefing room or the colleagues you talk to you, how they reacting to always being the target, and i guess it is somewhat effective with his face and supporters. do they just blow it off or do they take any of it seriously? >> both. you blow it off can you take it seriously. we can take things literally, seriously, and just go ahead, and i hope everyone knows the reference i am making here, little bit of humor. everyone just goes ahead with their job. i know you are there. you wouldn't let a little blowback deter you from a question. most of us have been around, and frankly, i grew up in chicago, i have seen worse.
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i'm used to it. you want to hit on the messenger, okay, i get it, but it doesn't stop anybody. >> dana: when i think tough, i think of you. you've been amazing. both of you, thank you so much for your insights, we really appreciate it. >> ed: don't miss the fact that lynn is also a seasoned veteran, throws in the thing at the beginning, this is a white house like no other. that is the major point. >> dana: also a member she was at the "chicago sun-times" when patrick fitzgerald who was a special prosecutor and that case was from chicago, so she had a lot of insight into that issue. >> ed: many stores, we appreciate her insights as well as tammy. we are monitoring the white house as well, just a few minutes from now, you can see people getting ready, gathering, press secretary sean spicer addressing questions on the russia investigation, the nomination of neil gorsuch to the supreme court. we will bring you that briefing live as it happens. plus the white house says it wants to repeal and replace obamacare even if that means reaching across party lines. but house speaker paul ryan not
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>> ed: fox news or lord, any moment now we are expecting a white house briefing to begin. no shortage of headlines going into this. hours ago, the president tweeting that his former national security advisor michael flynn should ask for immunity and terms of testifying for the investigation on russia's meddling in the
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election, he calls it a witch hunt. we will bring you to the briefing room as soon as it starts. >> dana: looking forward to that one. another topic coming up today is the push to repeal and replace obamacare. we've been getting mixed signals on whether it is still a priority for the republican party. speaker paul ryan waited on the possibility of president trump reaching out to democrats. >> this is a can-do president who is a business guy who wants to get things done. i know he wants to get things done with the republican congress, but in this republican congress, allowing the enemy be part of it, i worry we will push the president into regular with democrats pure he's been suggesting as much. i want patient-centered system, not government running healthcare. >> dana: joe trippi and scott is a former special assistant to president bush, knew him well and former advisor to senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. let me state and start with you since i botched your opening.
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when it comes to republicans and president trump reaching out to democrats, do you think there are any democrats who are going to be willing to work with him on healthcare even if that were what the white house was thinking? >> they don't really have an incentive to do it, although there are 12 democrats in the house that represent districts carried by president trump last year. so politically, they may be more inclined to have a conversation. the reality is we now officially have three parties in the house, democrats who smartly stuck together, republicans, about 200, then the rest are these freedom caucus guys who formed a coalition with the republicans to elect paul ryan the speaker but now have joined a coalition with nancy pelosi to form a blockade of the trump agenda. so what donald trump has defined as about 15 folks he can deal with who will take yes for an answer. that is what was likely most frustrating to the president is he was ultimately dealing with people who can't take yes for an answer, so if you can find if you democrats who would, it would have the dual benefit of having help pass the bill and make it a bipartisan account
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basement which is important. >> dana: will president trump be pushing on an open door with democrats? >> i don't really think so. i think if it was about fixing obamacare, they would be plenty of democrats who would be willing to try to find ways to do that, but it is not about repeal. even if it was repeal and replace. repeal is in the language, there is no way that is going to happen. i think in reality, i don't really understand the logic of the strategy that the white house is employing with ryan talking about working with democrats, i don't think any democrats are going to be there on repeal. then at the same time, the president and white house going to war with the freedom caucus, sort of -- they are not going to go anywhere either. i don't see how it gets put back on the burner with the strategy of the white house and ryan employing right now. >> dana: let me ask about that with the president saying, okay
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freedom caucus, this is on you. he's even threatening possible primaries for them in the 2018 election. are those effective threats to the freedom caucus? >> they are only effective if you do something about it. it is one thing to tweet and talk about it but another thing to start adding prospective candidates to come to the white house and tweet out pictures of folks in the oval office to say such and such dropped by to talk about how to make this congressional district great again. that is when it becomes real. if it ever gets to that stage where donald trump is meeting with prospective candidates, going to congressional districts and actually talking about this life and making it real, then i think it could be effective because these congressmen may not want to deal with that back home. but if it is just tweets, you can see right now the freedom caucus is not interested in responding to those kinds of threats. i would say make it real, and it could work. if you don't make it real, you will be seen as a toothless tiger. >> dana: aside from the politics of this, obamacare is not working perfectly everywher everywhere.
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when it behoove democrats to maybe approach the white house and say, these are some things we would be willing to do? maybe it needs to go in that direction to actually get things done if it actually helps people who are dealing with really high premiums or don't have any competition in their states like in minnesota, what do you think of that? >> i think that is right. democrats have been saying for quite a while that there are problems with obamacare that they really want to fix, but so far, they have been left out as the administration went with the majority in the house and the senate doing it the way they wanted to do it or ryan wanted to do it, who knows now. so i think may be at some point in the future, democrats might come forward and try to reach out to the administration, but again, that will be a fix. the problem you've got is that is not what the president promised. the president promised repeal and replace on day one, he would get it to the congress and ask them to come up with a bill.
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that is not happening. i don't see how he gets repeal and replace by going after the freedom caucus. one of the things that is going on is certainly the president's very popular in those freedom caucus districts, but in most of those districts, the freedom caucus member ran ahead of the president. they are more popular in their position with the constituent is more popular than the plant that only had 17% report support nationwide. so i don't even know if making it real and bringing opponents to the white house and trying to take it to them in the district is a wise strategy if you really want to try to get some kind of fix, it may well be working with democrats to fix it and not repeal and replace. >> dana: let me ask scott about that. the freedom caucus have been in opposition to president obama and were effective from their perspective and doing so. now you have a situation where the president of the united states is saying i want to change the incentive
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structure here. i'm saying this is not going to be -- we cannot continue to deal with the situation as it is because then, our entire agenda will get stalled including the things people want like tax reform. what do you think of that? would it be smart for the house freedom caucus to say, we have to step up the gas and try to work with the president or we may get nothing done? >> it would be smart because the interpretation i took from the election in november is voters flipped the keys to the republicans and put them firmly in charge of the government because they are tired of incrementalism. they are tired of talking and getting to the brink of doing something then seeing nothing happen. that is what happened on this healthcare issue. i think donald trump is quite popular among republican primary voters. i think he's even more popular in rural districts were a lot of these guys come from, and if you think it was going to be hard to get to a healthcare fix with these folks, imagine trying to do tax reform or spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, whatever they want to spend. it's going to be even harder to
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get that done. we could be heading into a mature but very few accomplishment other than neil gorsuch's going to the supreme court which is terrific, but is that enough? is that enough to edify that voters who rejected incrementalism to the last election appeared i submit it is not so donald trump has defines of out-of-the-box tactics to get the freedom caucus in line or find a few democrats he can deal with because i don't thickly want to go into a midterm with very little to show for what we promised the making people in 2016. >> dana: last question to my friend joe. what the democrats work for the president trump or a republican in the house or senate to get tax reform done? >> same thing. i think it depends on what the reforms put forward are. if it starts with working together, may be. if they try to do with the same way they did healthcare, which by the way was a lesson that democrats should have learned from obamacare. we did it by ourselves and paid a price for it. if tax reform is the same way by themselves, it's going to be very tough to get democratic
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support for it. >> dana: thank you so much. and we are still waiting for the white house briefing. i do think that those two guests could use a little mike emanuel optimism. >> ed: they sound pessimistic, we love them both. we are teasing them. >> dana: we appreciate their expertise. >> ed: joe makes a good point about the durability of your reforms and the obamacare initiative becomes law, yes it is the law of the land still even now after all of these threats to it. but by going the democratic only route, it made it less durable long-term because a republican president and congress comes in. >> dana: president obama lost members of his party and congress in 2010, 2012, 2016. 2014. >> ed: scott made a great point that we spent, rightly so, a lot of time is the president up or down, what does it mean for the agenda, but these republicans ran on all of these things long before donald trump came to power. if they are going to the voters empty-handed, it's not just about donald trump's political hide on the line, they are on the line as well.
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>> dana: we will see what happens. it will be fun to watch. >> ed: from political threats to real threats around the world while the western world battles terror groups like isis and al qaeda, a top military officials is the biggest threat is iran. the leader of u.s. central command also warned lawmakers about the growing alliance between the mideast adversary and russia. fox news pentagon producer lucas joins us now, he is all over this story, good to see you. >> good to see you. this morning in london, defense secretary jim mattis was asked about comments he made five years ago saying the biggest threat to the united states were iran, iran, and iran. >> at the time when i spoke about iran, i was the commander of u.s. central command, and that was the primary exporter of terrorism, friendly it was that i marry state sponsor of terrorism and it continues that kind of behavior today. >> lest we come of the uss george h.w. bush arrived in the persian gulf to begin air strikes against isis and keep an
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eye on iran. on capitol hill ahead of u.s. central command, they sit around, not isis or al qaeda, represents the greatest threat to the region operating in a gray zone just short of open conflict. >> i think we need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt through military means or other means their activities. particularly their facilitation aspects here. i think we need to look at opportunities where we can expose and hold them accountable for the things that they are doing. that has to be done. >> this week, iran's president visited moscow in the sight of warming ties between nations, the general said that iran's behavior has gotten worse since the nuclear deal was reached. >> ed: thank you. you see sean spicer at the podium, let's go live. >> press secretary spicer: make the briefing last night on the executive orders on the trade executive orders the president is going to be signing this afternoon. their first order directs the department of commerce and office of the u.s. trade representative to examine every
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form of trade abuse and nonreciprocal practice that are currently contribute into the united states large and persistent trade deficit. which was the largest in the major nation in 2016, that is $500 billion. within 90 days, the department of commerce and the u.s. trade representative will submit a comprehensive report to the president on the causes of our unduly large trade deficit. it is the first time in modern history that an american president has called for such an investigation, and it is our findings will allow us to make smarter decisions on behalf of the american people about our trade policy of our country going forward. that is why the afl-cio, united steelworkers international, international association of machinists, in the aerospace workers international all came out to applaud the order. the second executive order addresses the current lack of enforcement of one of our strongest tools and fighting unfair trade practices. countervailing duties.
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countervailing duties were put in place to address the problem of other countries dumping undervalued goods into american markets, making it impossible for american businesses to compete with artificially low prices. this is especially a problem in countries whose governments subsidize exports into our country. so to discourage this practice, the u.s. customs and border protection agency has a mechanism for assessing these types of transactions and imposing financial penalties known as countervailing duties what it is determined this type of malicious dumping has occurred. since 2001, the u.s. customs and border protection agency has not collected over $2.8 billion in these duties. think about it, we could do a lot by maximizing its enforcement power for our country. we need to do a better job on behalf of the american worker. if a foreign company, often due to its being entirely or partly government run or subsidize, is able to flood american markets with an artificially cheap
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steel, for example, they priced american companies out of the system. say you are the owner of a steel company in ohio. you cannot compete with some of these below-market prices. you have to find other ways to meet your bottom line like closing a factory or laying off workers or might entirely have to close down entirely. by not properly using this enforcement mechanism, we are costing americans who work in so many industries, not just steel, but in agriculture, chemical machinery, other manufacturing goods in particular, president trump was elected to do everything he can to support american workers and american manufacturers. together, these two executive orders are a significant step in accomplishing the president's promise to you and unfair trade practices once and for all. also yesterday we were pleased to see senators of west virginia and another announced their support for judge neil gorsuch, senator claire mccaskill conceded at a private event that among that list of nominees that president released, the judge
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portage was according to her "one of the better ones." we help her praise leads to additional support and her support. it's hard to find any reason other than objection is why her fellow democrats have not been able to join them. as i said yesterday, judge gorsuch is highly regarded, having received a rating of well-qualified from the american bar administration -- association. and has shown an unparalleled and level of chance brands including the release of over 7,000 pages of documents, feeling nearly 300 questions from senate democrats on the committee and seven pages of written answers about his personal record and has demonstrated a mainstreet judicial record with nearly all of his decisions being joined b. without clear reason, they have fudged the facts on recent history, tried to mislead american people about their unprecedented obstructionism claiming an nonexistence to steve about standard. as i've said before, should senate minority leader
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chuck schumer get his way, this would be the first successful filibuster of a nominee to join the supreme court. this would make history in a very bad way. they have also forgotten their own words. i cited previously this week the rhetoric of senator schumer, democratic nominee hillary clinton, the regrets of invoking the filibuster by president obama than it senator obama and the rights of any other senate democrats like claire mccaskill on why blocking a vote for a judge having gone through the process has no precedent in it is irresponsible. let me cite one other argument many democrats have made. current numbers seem to reject the notion of a supreme court operating with a judges instead of nine. this includes dick durbin, bernie sanders, dianne feinstein, richard blumenthal, amy klobuchar, ben cardin and each of these senate democrats and the rest of their fellow caucus members need not listen to me or the president but their own words as recently as last year. the president told the american people in his weekly address
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that was launched earlier today why it is. again, we can't senate democrats to end this unnecessary obstruction and confirm an eminently qualified jurist to the bench. also last night, that a of justice filed an appeal on the ninth circuit to hawaii's federal judge luminary injunction against the president's lawful and necessary executive order dealing with protecting the country. moving on to some of the events of today pure this morning, the present met with former circuitry of state condoleezza rice, they had an opportunity to talk about regional threats, current foreign affairs hot spots, our attempt to defeat isis, and many more areas. it was a great meeting with -- where they discussed many of the challenges facing our country and the president saw the secretary of state and national security advisor's advice on a variety of opinions pure he also signed house joint resolution 42 allowing states to drug test and insurance -- an employment insurance claims and naming avi outpatient clinic in american
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samoa. also this money, the president joined the president of the national association of manufacturers and some of its member ceos unveil the association's annual manufacturers outlook survey. an incredible 93% of manufacturers surveyed by the national association of manufacturers now have a positive outlook for the future. that is a 20 year record high. it is more than 35 points higher than that same rating was last year. to quote from the survey itself "the rising confidence stems from the belief that the new administration in washington, d.c., will bring much needed regulatory relief as well as reforms to the tax code and a significant infrastructure package." the optimism is evident across the spectrum of indicators, dow jones industrial average is up over 12% since election day, national association of homebuilders confidence in my index is at its highest level in 12 years, the gallup small business index shows small business owners are the most optimistic they've been since
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2007. surprised 2 surprising american industry is reacting in this way. the president has taken immediate steps to make it easier to do business in this country, and we are just at the beginning of this process. on top of the significant steps taken in the executive orders this morning, he has also withdrawn from the trans-pacific partnership trade agreement, cleared the way for keystone, and dakota dakota access pipel, began a very much-needed wide reform of our permitting process and signed legislation preventing the burdensome streamlined production will from causing further for do not harm to america's coal industry appeared that president was glad to see this report list measurements reflecting the incredible optimism and positivity that his progrowth policies have created paired back to this afternoon, the present will meet with the director of the national institutes of health before signing the a for mentioned executive orders on trade at 3:30. and he will meet with director of the office of management and budget mick mulvaney. in cabinet news today, the secretary of state rex tillerson
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is in brussels attending the nato foreign ministers meeting. there, he reaffirmed the trump admission steadfast commitment to nato. secretary's tillerson also stressed the need for all member countries to meet their defense spending commitments as well as the need for nato to take a larger role in the fight against terrorism and isis bear the president looks forward to meeting with his nato counterparts in brussels this may to reaffirm the united states commitment to nato and to discuss ways to strengthen the alliance in order to cope with challenges in national and international security. this money come the office of the united states trade representative released the 2017 national trade estimate. the annual report which is required by law surveys this or did you connect significant barriers faced by american exporters. its findings reinforce the need for the president's america first trade agenda which prioritizes the enforcement of the trade laws to protect american workers and job creators. the president looks forward to having ambassador robert lighthizer in place so he can begin his important work in earnest and fulfill that mission
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of this report. transportation secretary elaine chao who yesterday celebrated the 50th birthday of the department of transportation today directed the federal highway and administration officials to award $10 million in emergency relief funds to help begin repairs on atlanta's collapsed i-85 overpass. releasing these funds will clue the man quickly help to ensure the bridge is repaired safely and in a timely manner. the white house office has contact with georgia governors teams and the secretary has spoken with the governor. looking forward as promised today, we will be releasing the form 378 financial report as filed by mission officers here at the white house right after i'm done here, we will have a background briefing with senior white house compliance and ethics officers to walk you through how that process is going to go and the public release of that information which will occur later this evening. we will be sure to update you if there's anything further to add p this weekend, the present will be here in the white house holding meetings.
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we will be sure to update you if there's anything further to add. on sunday, the white house will honor world autism awareness day by letting the white house and blue to join with autism awareness communities. further research in the autism spectrum disorders is one of the president's priorities. as we light it blue on sunday, the white house will be celebrating all of the individuals whose families are impacted by speaks, an organization that has done previous work with this, bob wright is one of the cofounders as is a longtime friend of the president, his wife suzanne was struggling with parkinson's -- excuse me, pancreatic cancer last year in the present made a pledge to her to say if i am elected president, supporting this because you care so deeply about, i will like the white house blue, so it is in suzanne and bob's honor that this will occur for this great
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cause, and i hope that bob knows that suzanne is looking down proudly to fulfilled. with that, glad to take your questions. john roberts. >> reporter: a couple questions if i could about chairman nunes' visit to the white house. fox news has been told by intelligence officials that chairman nunes is aware of who did the unmasking of certain individuals in the transition and may be aware of who ordered the unmasking of those individuals. period is the white house aware of that information? >> press secretary spicer: i don't know what he knows. again, i try to make it a comment not to get into. i will not -- i don't believe it's in our interest to talk about the process, what occurred with chairman nunes coming here was both routine and proper peer chairman nunes and raking membership is expected here later today.
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both possess the appropriate credentials and clearances. we have invited democrats here and have been told that material they see will shed light on the investigation. i know a lot of folks want to talk about the process and not the surveillance, the underlying issue. the we should all be concerned about. it affects all americans, our liberties, freedoms, civil liberties, so let's talk about some of -- i know that is not here march 2nd, the day before the president's tweet, camp comments by a senior initiation official and foreign policy expert evelyn farkas together with previous reports that have been out made serious concern about whether there was an organized and widespread effort by the obama administration to use and leak highly sensitive intelligence information for political purposes. she admitted this on television by saying, i was urging my former colleagues, fitly speaking the people on the hill. i was telling people on the hill get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can. i had a fear that they were essentially watching the trump
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staff and was worried about the trump administration. that was out there. i know nbc news very similar about information in this project do immaculately sensitive information. dr. farkas' admissions alone are devastating. on march 4th, the president as you all know, raise serious questions about surveillance practices by the obama administration including whether or not the present elect or transition team members were being improperly monitored for political purposes under the obama initiation. later in march in the ordinary course of their work, national security council staff found information that may support the questions raised by the president and dr. farkas' claims. these are serious issues that raise serious concerns. if true, the issues would be devastating. we are committed to the house and senate committees as we said multiple times to get to the bottom of what happen here, why it happened and who was involved. for this reason, we are in the
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process of ensuring that the reports that the nsc staff discovered in the normal course of business are made available to those committees investigating to ensure that all of the facts come to life. if everyone was treating the president of the initiation fairly calm he would ask a series of much different questions about the substance and the material. as we have said before, when you talk about russia in particular, everyone who has been briefed on this subject from republican to democrat to cia, former obama administration, james clapper or brennan all come back for the same conclusion. i think that's important that there has been no evidence of the president and russian officials. as you had me state before, it was hillary clinton he was the architect of the last of ministrations failed reset policy. she told russian state tv it was designed to strengthen russia. that was their goal, to strengthen russia. she used her office to make concession after concession, selling off one fifth of our countries uranium, paid speeches, paid deals, getting
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personal calls from vladimir putin. i think if you really want to talk about a russian connection or substance, that is where we should be looking. that, not there. >> reporter: i was not expecting to tap such a deep well with that question. intelligence officials also tell us that chairman nunes new about documents that he viewed at the white house back in january, but ended up looking at them at the saif because he cannot get the same access through some of the other intelligence agencies, basically a last resort to come to the white house to view them, do you know if that is true? >> press secretary spicer: i don't know that but it tracks everything there has been -- i saw a couple tweets i saw the other day where people were saying the nsa was tried to get documents and from a narrative of what has been out there, and again, we've been trying to be very careful about this. trying to be handled. everything that he has said.
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when he came out initially to talk to the media, he made it very clear he had been looking into this, had stated this much earlier than the president had ever raised this issue about surveillance and the unmasking of individuals for areas that had nothing to do with russia and nothing to do with substantive intelligence or surveillance, so i think that as we continue down this path, if you begin to focus really on the substance, i think we see more and more a very, very troubling and devastating path. report back one more thing about the process if i could. were also being told by intelligence officials at the two individuals who identified yesterday, ezra cohen-watnick and micheal ellis were not the source for the information for the intelligence chairman, they did plate and ancillary role in terms of finding some extra evidence here at the white house and helping to sign him into public you the intelligence. >> press secretary spicer: again, i'm not -- if i start commenting on every one of the
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stories, i can't -- that is not our practice. again, part of it is if we confirm some things and not others, we go down a very slippery slope. i can say we continue to say that this is -- i think the substance matters and what continues to come to light in terms of obama officials admitting either off the record or frankly on the record consistent with what dr. farkas says that there was clearly an attempt to do something politically motivated with the intelligence out there. the question is why? who else did it? wasn't ordered by home? i think more and more, the substance that continues to come out on the record by individuals continues to point to exactly what the president was talking about that day on march 5th. >> reporter: we heard from the president this morning, saying that michael flynn should ask for immunity. we also know the president has a long-standing views what immunity means back in september, he said if you are guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for? so is the president saying that
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michael flynn is guilty of a crime? >> press secretary spicer: i think he believes that michael flynn should go testify. he thinks he should go up there and do what he has to do to get the story out. >> reporter: with or without immunity? >> press secretary spicer: that's up to him and his lawyer to side. i'm not going to give mike flynn or anyone else legal advice from the podium but i will tell you the president's view as he should go up there and testify. >> reporter: but the president gave legal advice from his twitter account. he has said in the past of the only reason you ask for immunity is if you committed a crime. >> press secretary spicer: the underlying point you are missing respectfully is go testify, do what you have to do to get there and tell congress is actually what we've been saying for a long time. i get your point, but i think that it's interesting that if you actually stop for example make a second and relax with the president is doing, he saying do whatever you have to do to go up to make it clear what happened, take whatever precaution you want or however your legal counsel advises you, but again -- i've heard in some legal
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circles at the president could have exerted legal authority with him and sally yates and others. it is quite the opposite. again, i think that compared to the narrative you hear from a lot of the folks in this room all the time is a little bit opposite. here you have a to go up there. we talked about it with members of the administration. the president volunteered. this isn't an administration that is not doing everything it can to get to the bottom of this nan appropriate way. that is an important distinction that has been lost on a lot of you. we got up here and we talked about russia and the lack of a connection. we talk about the fact that every single person who has been brief saying none exist, republican, democratic, obama appointee. now we're going to the point where we've encouraged people to go talk to the house and senate intelligence committee so that they can continue to get to the bottom of this. that's quite the opposite of what you would


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