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  This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  February 26, 2017 8:03am-8:13am PST

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>> let's get answers now from the white house. sarah huckabee sanders joins us now. sarah, thank you for joining us this morning. you just saw that ad. >> thanks for having me. good morning, george. >> we heard from a key republican member of congress this week, darrell issa who says the attorney general jeff sessions must recuse himself from this russia investigation. let's listen. >> you cannot have somebody, a friend of mine, jeff sessions who was on the campaign, and who is an appointee. you're going to need to use the special prosecutor's statute and office to take not just to recuse, that's -- you can't just give to it your deputy. that's another political appointee. >> sthat a senior republican congressman. what is your response? >> i think the real easy answer here is that the fbi has already said this store i have b.s. those are their words. i apologize to my mom. literally, those are the words of the fbi. that the story was b.s. they came to us. they approached us. we're putting that story out there. i think the american people
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deserve to know the truth. and that's exactly what it is. that there's nothing here. just because reporters say something over and over and over again doesn't start to make it true. at some point, we get to a place where we have to move on and start focusing on the things that the american people care about. i don't think this is it. we've talked about it time and time and time again. asked and answered. let's move forward. let's start talking about the economy. let's talk about education. let's talk about border security. let's talk about national security. that's what's keeping most americans up at night. that's what they want us focused on. that's what this administration is doing day in and day out. >> a couple of things there. first of all, the fbi has made officially no comment. james comey has no comment. you're saying the fbi told you that it was b.s. the fbi hasn't said that at all. i was asking a different question. the fbi investigation is continuing right now. the intelligence committees are continuing their investigations right now. and the question at hand is, is it appropriate for the attorney
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general to oversee that investigation? here are the justice department guidelines. no doj employee may participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation. how can it be appropriate for a key member of the trump campaign to oversee an investigation into the trump campaign? >> george, we're confident that whatever review congress wants to do, i think that is the first step. if they want to take that on, which there are two committees that are currently doing that. we're confident that they're all going to come to the same conclusion. that we had no involvement in this. if democrats want to continue to relive their loss every day by doing investigations or review after review, that's fine by us. we know why we won the race. it's because we had the better candidate with the better message. they didn't campaign in the right places. they didn't have a good candidate. if they want to continue to
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relive that loss every day, then we welcome that. >> that wasn't a democrat. that was a republican member of congress. i'll take your answer to say you don't believe that the attorney general needs to recuse right now. on the investigations, though, you also saw -- >> i don't think we're there yet. >> let me finish the question right there. >> yes, sir. >> you heard republican members of congress saying this week that president trump should release his tax returns. senator collins said it may come to subpoenaing these tax returns. if congress requests the tax returns as part of the investigation, will president trump provide them? >> that's a question you would have to ask the president. what i do know is that, again, we have answered this question. i guess i don't know how many times you have to answer the same question. and people start to expect a different answer. again, i wasn't saying that he shouldn't recuse himself or that he should. my point is i don't think we're there yet. let's work through the process. you guys want to jump to the very end of the line. that's not how this works. typically, you go through a
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congressional oversight, review, we're doing that. let's not go to the very end of the extreme. let's let this play out the way it should. again, i go back to, if you want to continue to relive this loss, then let's do that. but, at the same time, while the democrats and even maybe some of the republicans as you mentioned, want to talk about that, what we're focused on in this administration is what we campaigned on. and achieving those goals. and making sure that america is moving forward. >> again, i was asking about the fbi and the justice department investigation. not the congressional. let's move on to the state of the union. one of the big questions. at the state of the union coming up. i guess it's not a state of the union. the address to congress on tuesday will be what to do with obamacare. and what the president will say should be done. during the campaign, he said everyone has to be covered. as recently as january 15th, he told "the washington post" we're going to have insurance for everybody. there's a brand-new analysis out just today about the republican plans about to be presented. they were presented to the governors yesterday. it says millions may lose
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coverage in obamacare repeal. governors told. policies supported by republican congressional leaders to replace obamacare could lead millions of people to lose their health care coverage. according to a presentation on saturday to state governors meeting in washington. it estimates the number of people covered by obamacare through the individual insurance market could be slashed by as much as 51% in states that chose not to expand medicaid coverage. and by 30% in states that did expand the federal state health program for the poor. so can the president guarantee that no one who has coverage right now will lose it under his plan? >> look, what i know that the president can promise is what he's been saying. that this is not just a repeal program that we absolutely have to repeal it. but replace it with something that's better. george, even democrats will admit that obamacare is simply not sustainable. it's collapsing under itself. it cannot maintain the track that we're on. we have to make big changes. i think republicans and democrats agree with that. this was a program that was
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shoved through with so many problems. we're still every day finding out new problems to the program. we know we can't just repeal it and not do anything else. we have to repeal it and replace it with something better. that's what this president is committed to doing. >> that's what i want to ask you about. you say replace it with something better. so does that mean that no one who has coverage now will lose it? >> i know that the goal is that we make sure that people don't lose their coverage. we have to put a high priority on people that need it most. we have to lower the costs. we have to make sure the people that need insurance the very most are covered. but at the same time, george, we cannot survive under the current system. we have to make a massive overhaul to the health care system in america. it is not sustainable. everybody agrees with that. there is nobody that argues that we're on a track that we can maintain. we're looking at every possible way to do exactly that. repeal a terrible, failed
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system, and replace it with something better. >> again, so i'll have to ask one more time. you say replace it with something better. so will the president guarantee he won't sign a plan that will cause people that have coverage now the lose it? >> i'm not going speak specifically for the president on that topic. but what i can say is he's made it a high priority. and a number one focus that we make sure that people that have insurance continue their insurance, particularly those in the highest need. >> he promised he won't touch medicare, social security, or medicaid. can he stand by that? >> the president is committed to doing that. so far, as you have noticed over the last 30 days, he's done exactly what he said he is going to do. i don't see any reason to start thinking differently. >> i want to bring up another topic right now. just yesterday, "the miami herald" the father of the navy s.e.a.l. killed in that raid in yemen, ryan owens, has spoked
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out about the raid. he did not want to meet with president trump. he said, don't hide behind my son's death to prevent an investigation. i want an investigation. the government owes my son an investigation. will he get it? >> i can't speak to the military. but i can say that -- as a parent, i can't imagine the loss that he has suffered. i think every american owes his son a great deal of gratitude. we're forever in his son's debt. i know that he paid the ultimate sacrifice when he went on that mission. and i know that the mission has a lot of different critics. but it did yield a substantial amount of very important intel and resources that helped save american lives and other lives. and, as much as -- again, i can't imagine what this father is going through, i think he's a -- his son is a true american hero. we should forever been in his son's debt. >> does the president want an investigation? >> i haven't had the chance to speak with him directly about that. but i would imagine that he would be supportive of that. >> final question, we heard
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yesterday in the president's tweet, he's not going to the white house correspondents' dinner. why? >> george, i think it's pretty safe to say i think we all spend enough time around each other as it is. this wasn't a president that was elected to spend his time with reporters and celebrities. this is a president who campaigned on speaking directly to americans. and that's what he's going to spend his time doing. i think it's -- kind of naive of us to think we can all walk into a room for a couple of hours and pretend that some of that tension isn't there. you know, one of the things we say in the south, if a girl scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her? i think this is a similar scenario. there's no reason for him to go in and sit and pretend like this is going to be just another saturday night. i think he's very focused on protecting our borders national security, growing our economy. instead of spending a night doing that, he'll spend the night focused on what he can do
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to defend america. >> pretty straig