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work with congress to fix it. hunter? >> thank you, sean. does the white house believe there's such a thing as the deep state that's actively working to undermine the president? >> well, i think there's no question when you have eight years of one party in office, that there are people who stay in government affiliated with, you know, joined and continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration. so i don't think it should come as any surprise that there are people that burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and, you know, may have believed in that agenda and want to continue to seek it. i don't think that should come as a surprise to anyone. >> will the director of the cia or dni have a presidential mandate to seek these people out and fire them or purge them from government? >> the cia -- that's not part of the cia's mandate under any circumstances. so, no on that one. blake? >> thanks. they put out a statement saying president obama deserves the
credit for the february jobs numbers. >> i'm sure they did. >> my question to you, how much do you feel that president trump should be credited for that and how would you characterize the economy that president trump was handed over by president obama? >> well, look, numbers are going to go up and down. we recognize that. but i think there's no question, when you look at the ceos that have -- that hire people and the ceos that have talked about the investment that they want to make in america, you know, you can look back over the last several administrations. i don't believe i've ever seen the number of ceos and businesses come out and talk about investments and continuing investments and the expansion of investments or hiring based on the vision and agenda of an administration the way they have in this one. it's not just a question of what we believe. i think if you look at the automakers, the other manufacturers, and, frankly, some of the service industries that have come out and talked about the investment they're going to make or the continuation of a project they
had going or the movement of one of a manufacturing plant or job investment. those speak for themselves. it's not a question of what we belief. i think it's a question of the commitment u.s. manufacturers and job creators and businesses are making because they want to buy into the president's agenda and vision for -- to create more tax and regulatory business-friendly environment to grow here. and i think those speak for themselves. >> do you beliebelieve do you b policies have had an impact? >> absolutely. the confidence indices. there are several economic indicators that show strength because of the president's vision and agenda. and i don't think that that's -- you know, that's any secret. when you talk to the economists, when you talk to business leaders, they have confidence in the president's agenda that it
will yield for a more favorable business climate to hire more americans, to expand the manufacturing based in america, to make us more competitive around the globe. and so, you know, i do believe that. but i don't think it's a question of what i believe or what the administration believes. i think if you look at what outside economists and what business leaders do, they confirm that. eamon? >> thanks. in the past the president has referred to particular job reports as phoney or totally fiction. does the president believe this jobs report was accurate and a fair way to measure the economy? >> i talked to the president prior to this and he said to quote them very clearly. they may have been phoney in the past but they're very real now. sarah? >> thanks, sean. cue clear up what appears to be some tension between what you said yesterday about when the administration or the president was made aware of general flynn's foreign lobbying ties? in the ap reporting today that the transition was informed of flynn's potential need to register. >> there's a big difference between when he filed, which was
the other -- two days ago. and what happened then. what the a.p. is reporting, just so we're clear, is that a personal lawyer of general flynn's contacted a transition lawyer and asked for guidance on what he should or should not do. the lawyer was instructed that at -- that that wasn't the role of the transition and that it was up to the personal lawyer to work with the appropriate authorities or subject matter experts to determine what was appropriate and what was not appropriate in terms of filing. this was a personal matter. it's a business matter. it's not something that would be appropriate for a government entity to give someone guidance on when they should file as a private citizen. that was the guidance that was given, which is consistent with what should be done. so, i don't think it should be a shock to anybody that if you're asked a government lawyer what you should do in your private capacity as a citizen, they're going to tell you you should consult experts in that area to determine what you should or should not done. >> that advice was the transition was aware of that
advice, why wasn't that then the president made aware that that recommendation -- >> remember, sarah, there are tons of individuals that consult with the lawyers and ethics experts and say, i own this stock. ly have to sell it? i own this business, i own this house. for the most part, they're give guidance as to, hey, go seek professional help, consult with this entity, consult with a lawyer. it's almost like, you know, asking someone for tax advice. if you call the irs and say, hey, i wants to know what i should do with this, they will tell you to consult a tax attorney. that's not the job of a government official, is to tell you what you should or should not do in your capacity as a private citizen. so, it's a vastly different scenario that any -- you know, whether you -- regardless of what department you call in government, if you call the department of education and ask them about education standards, they'll probably refer you to a local entity or teacher if you're asking about your own child. that's not why government
officials -- they're very clear about the line between private action and government action. jordan? >> thanks, sean. does the person agree with house conservatives that the sunset date for the medicaid expansion should be moved up to the end of next year? >> well, i think the bill that is before the house right now, the reconciliation piece, and i cannot reiterate it enough, it's part of a three-prong process. but the current process does several things. number one, it's the first time you'll have a full addressing of an entitlement like this in decades. it is actually a very, very good thing for conservatives when you look at how we're going to address medicaid and entitlement that many conservatives have fought for years need to be addressed. but that being said, the president's also been very clear through all of the discussions, and i've commented on that throughout the week, that as he meets with members of congress and outside groups, that if someone has an idea that can
make this legislation more accessible, give more choice to the american people, drive down costs, make it more patient-centric, he wants to listen to it. right now that's where the bill stands. 'll continue to listen and work with members of the house and eventually the senate. and so i don't want to prejudge where -- the process itself, but the bill was crafted in a way that i think represents the president's thinking in a very smart way of addressing entitlements and going forward. >> just a quit one. the president is willing to negotiate on the sunset of the expansion of medicaid? >> right now the date that's in the bill is what the president supports. is he willing to listen to individuals on different aspects of the bill that might make it -- that might achieve the goals he set out. it's not a question of negotiation. we have a date in the bill and that's the date in the bill. but i think as the bill continues to work its way through the house, you know, that goes for speaker ryan.
he's got members that are approaching them with ideas. i'm sure he's listening to them as well. senator mcconnell is probably doing the same thing in the senate. that's the way the process will work. i mate it clear from the get go that this process is one where we'll take the best ideas, listen to individuals and try to make sure that we achieve the goals that the president has laid out and the principles that he has laid out. francesca? >> thank you, sean. piggybacking off john and jon, at a breakfast this morning, nancy pelosi also said it couldn't possibly be true of the president's allegations against the former president because that is not how our system works. she also said, obama would not do that and it would be a waste of time for the house intelligence committee to investigate that allegation. does the white house have any evidence to refute house minority leader and former speaker pelosi's claim? could you explain why the president hasn't asked the fbi chief about this directly?
>> i think we spoke very clearly about what we would like to happen last sunday. i'm going to reiterate it. we believe the house and senate intelligence committee have the appropriate forum and process and staff to look into this matter and report back. >> sean, can you see what the president was informed at all about this arrangement -- >> no. >> to register as a foreign agent? >> no. >> and did he -- >> just to be clear, general flynn filed with the department of justice two days ago. how would anyone know -- that's sort of like -- >> the need to file? >> that's up to his personal lawyer. each person that goes through the process in government seeks counsel regarding the assets they own and activities they conducted as to what they have to do. this is like asking someone -- if they have a client, whether they have to file a lobbying disclosure form.
that's not up for us to determine. that's up for them and their counsel to determine if they engaged in activities in the past or whatever it is, or if a doctor needed to go and up their certification. that is not up for the government to determine. there are certain private citize citizens' actives you seek counsel on or professional advice. that's not up to the government. that's exactly how process worked. >> how did you -- >> you got your question. >> but this is -- >> no it's not. >> you have an attorney calling the transiti saying that -- >> no, no. >> -- the person in line to be the national security adviser may need to register as a foreign agent. and that doesn't raise a red flag? >> it's not a question of raising a red flag, john. it's a question of whether or not they gave them the advice they're supposed to which is it is not up to them to make decisions as to what you need to do or not do. as you know there are certain activities that fall under each of these requirements as far as what the threshold is, what activities, who the funding source was, et cetera, et cetera. it is not up to, nor is it
appropriate, nor is it legal, for the government to start going into private citizens, seeking advice and telling them what they have to register or not. that would be the equivalent of walking through someone's tax return saying that's not a tax deduction you should say. when you contact these agencies they say, you should seek counsel, professional advice, expertise, whatever it is. that is not up to them to determine, plain and simple. glenn. >> moving beyond the legal question here. >> thank you. >> just a follow-up with john. moving beyond the legal question here, this is an issue of judgment about who you guys wanted in your administration. if there were published reports that your potential national security adviser had dealings with the government of turkey, a controversial regime at this moment in time, congressman cummings sent a letter to mike pence during the transition informing him of this and raising a red flag. mr. pence was on television, i belief yesterday, saying twice that he had no knowledge of that
letter. >> no, no, that's not -- hold on. no, no, before you -- >> let me -- >> before you accuse the vice president of certain things. what he said is he was not aware of the filing. go ahead on. >> in terms of the larger question here. forget about filling out forms. what does this say about the transition team's judgment about still appointing him as national security adviser when you had knowledge of this information? >> no, no, but you're asking me, forget about the legalisms. that's what we ask people to do, is follow the law. you can't forget about the legalisms. >> no, no -- >> no, no that's what you said. what i'm saying is that's what we did. they consulted a lawyer, which everyone who had something of addition is advised to do. that lawyer consulted the transition lawyer who said it's your job to consult the appropriate lawyers. >> beyond the legal issues. i'm saying in terms of -- moving beyond the issue of the papers here. we're talking about the judgment, the judgment that the
president, the vice president and your team made to select this man as national security adviser when you had information that he had these dealings with turkey. why did you guys -- >> what dealings are you referring to? he had a client, also head of the defense intelligence agency. unbelievably qualified. 40 years inhe military with impeccable credentials. what is it -- what exactly are you getting at? because so far he has impeccable credentials, stellar career in the military, widely respected. i think for you to start to impugn his -- >> no, but vice president pence said yesterday he wouldn't -- >> but there was no disclosure at the time. and the question is, is that if his counsel worked with whoever he worked with, it was up to him. the burden is on the individual to seek the legal advice or professional expertise to decide what they have to file and not. i mean, we could literally have a hypothetical question about somebody who made an inappropriate filing on their tax returns.
or another -- or a professional qualification. at the end of the day, when people present it with you, they are advised to seek expertise and counsel and legal advice about what's appropriate and what's not. that is not -- it is not up to the transition attorneys to go through someone's livelily hood and determine what they need to seek. they were given proper legal advice at the time, which is to seek expertise in the matter. he had already obtained counsel -- >> transition officials -- let me clarify. the transition officials were not overly concerned about his relationship -- >> its not a question of overly concerned. the question is did they tell him to seek counsel? they did. that's what's supposed to happen. that's it. plain and simple. yes? >> sean, i guess the question would be, does this raise concerns there may be other members of this administration or other members that served in the transition that were or are currently lobbying on behalf of foreign governments right now that may be advising the president. united states? >> no.
look. we trust people to fill out the appropriate forms that they need to. in this case -- >> but general -- >> and the president acted accordingly and he made the right call. >> but he may have been taking actions. he made -- >> you're asking me -- look, this is like saying, can everybody -- can you tell me that the executives at nbc news have gone through every single person and reporters' backgrounds -- >> but this is the president of the united states. >> i understand that. we trust people to fill out the forms in an hones and complete manner. we advishim to do what the legal and proper thing is and that's the right thing for this administration. we did the right thing then and we expect every employee to follow the law. this president when it comes to ethics, when it comes to lobbying, he instituted a five-year ban. he ran on a commitment to drain the swamp. he's been very committed to making sure we institute high standards here and that we're held to them. so at the end of the day, when he found out that general flynn had betrayed the trust of the
vice president back in the day, he let him go. the president has high standards for everyone that works in this administration. the answer to your question, if somebody does something that's not in keeping with the president's standards that he set for every single person in this administration, they would be let go. >> you have faith in all of the people advising the president now? >> i believe everybody has done what is legally required of them. i can't tell you every single person has done everything. i can tell you the president has made clear to every person in this administration, you're expected to live up to the high standards that he has set for them and that if you don't, you will be dismissed. >> sean, for the removal of south korea's president, what's the reaction of the white house to it? also, we know that there will be a presidential election very soon in south korea. and we know several leading candidates prefer less competition with dprk and also
oppose that the deployment of that system. does the white house look into the impact the election might bring? >> well, i believe they'd have to have an election within 60 days. there's an acting president, who we have strong relationships with and we'll continue to work with south korea. they are both an ally and friend in the region. this is obviously an issue we continue to keep up with on the developments there. it's a domesti issue in which the united states takes no position in the outcome of that election. it's up to the korean people and their democracy -- their democratic institutions to determine the future of their country. the united states continues to be a steadfast ally, friend and partner to the republic of korea. and that's it. >> obviously, you guys were excited -- maybe a little too excited. you and the president tweeting
within an hour of the jobs data coming out, which is a violation of the federal rules. i'm wondering, both, if there is counseling you and the president's future? also, the critics who say the risk of doing this is politic e politicizing what should be nonpartisan, by the books. >> i understand that rule was instituted to deal with market fluctuations. i could be wrong. i believe that's why it was instituted. i believe tweeting out, great way to start a friday, here are the actual numbers you all have reported is a bit -- mean, don't make me make that podium move. i mean, honest to god, every reporter here reported out that we had 235,000 jobs, 4.7. there isn't a tv station that didn't go live to it. so to tweet out a grit way to start a friday, yes, the president was excited to see more americans back to work. i don't think that's exactly a market disruption.
i think that there's a lot of excitement in this country when we look at the policies that the president has instituted to help put more americans back to work. so, i mean, i understand the rule, but, let's -- >> sure. the obama white house, for instance, you know, went out of their way not to comment in that hour-long period. they would rearrange the president's schedule around it. it was something they -- >> i get it. and i think there's a difference -- it's not about economy. 'sne thing to give analysis, literally tweeting out great news, yes, we're excited that when the president and the res of the team saw the news this morning, as reported on every television station, twitter, the internet and every major news site in the country and around the world, we're excited to see so many americans back to work. so, i apologize if we were a little excited and we were so glad to see so many fellow americans back to work. but that's -- ashley? >> congressman cummings letter
to the president in november did lay out general flynn was being paid to lobby fog turkish interests during the campaign. why did not that raise a red flag? >> we're forgetting something. his attorney went to a transition attorney who was told, you need to seek counsel on this and get further guidance. it's not a question of raise flags. it's not for us to adjudicate whether someone needs to file under the lobbying act, the foreign registration act. that's not the job of a transition attorney. it's to tell them to seek additional counsel or to explain to them where to find that information. not to tell them what to do or not to do. >> the vice president specifically not saying you should go to this attorney or giving legal advice, but while this information was brought to the vice president's attention did he then raise question, bring it to the president, look into it further? >> because i think it's fairly simple to say, why didn't this occur? we're going through several people. the answer is, did they seek the appropriate professional advice
and counsel? they did. that's the answer. alexis. >> i have a health care question for you. >> oh, good. aren't you relieved? makes me feel better. >> is he questionable about the refundable tax credit portion of the bill. would he be willing to sign legislation that avoided that particular provision because, as you know, conservatives are concerned that's an additional entitlement. >> i think more and more as the president talks to members of congress and outside groups, number one, i think they're excited to understand the totality of this, and he addressed it in the weekly address, can you find at whitehouse pgov, they continue to explain the reconciliation part. the comprehensive piece and additional legislation, buying health care across state lines, allowing small businesses to pool their things, allowing
health savings accounts to expand, the streamlining of the fda, going after medical malpractice. all those things that bring costs down. as i've noted before, people have to remember that if you get your health care through your employer, you're not taxed on it, your employer is not taxed on it. it's fairly inadequate and unbalanced for small business owners, ranchers and farmers, sole proprietors to face a disproportionate tax burden because they're not a big employer. this is something conservatives should be embracing. i think more they understand the comprehensive nature of this they're beginning to support more -- >> so the president wants it to stay, the refundable tax credit provisions? >> oh, absolutely. >> four white house republicans wrote a letter to the white
house asking -- do you have any response to that? >> i don't. i'll refer taught department of treasury. >> the other day the president tweeted that for the past eight years during the obama presidency russia, quote, ran over the united states, and in part, picked off crimea and added missiles, which the president described in his tweet as weak. given he seems to be focused on crimea, as far as the tweet is concerned, will the president use the authority and funding granted him in the ntaa to lethal defensive weapons to ukraine, as has been called for by the house and senate armed services committee chairmans and in both party platforms, although the republican language was watered down? if he's not going to, i asked you several weeks, senator mccain sent a letter asking for this, if the president doesn't want to do it, is that because he would rather focus his efforts with russia on
partnering to try to defeat isis? >> well, i think ambassador haley noted at the u.n. that any attempt to undermine sanctions that currently exist because of the annexation of crimea will remain in place until that -- to that issue is resolved. i'm not going -- the president when it comes to his overall negotiating strategy has made it very clear in a variety of circumstances that his philosophy is not one that says, i'm going to tell you what i'm going to do. he holds his cards close to h vest to maximize his -- >> why not -- >> i'm not going to get into the president's negotiating strategy. i will tell you that as he continues to engage with the president addition with the president of russia and secretary tillerson -- >> will you -- >> brian, it's your birthday up. got a question. >> going back to, my staff, we've got about several thousand e-mails. we talked to congressmen this morning getting this e-mail saying if you're going to repeal and replace obamacare, why not
give everybody what congressmen and senators get. can you address that? >> i think part of what we're trying to do. someone asked the other day about federal benefits. right now a third of the countries around our country have one provider. that's not choice. i think the president understands that very clearly. that's, frankly, why he's pushing the american health care -- you know, why we're doing this, is that so many americans have no choice. and that he wants there to be greater choice and lower cost. by doing the stuff we're doing, especially the third prong of this, allowing competition over state lines, taking government mandate as way from what they have to include, that's really going to institute more choice. there will be more options. if you remember prior to obamacare, you could go out on the open market and go from a variety of different options and tailor what you or your family needed based on the conditions you saw or the deductible you wanted and choice dried up with obamacare. i think that's the point, though, is that if you want more of that kind of a system, then
this is the bill and the legislation and the comprehensive approach that you should be supporting. >> but specifically the perception that somehow congress senators, senators and congressmen, get better care than the rest of us. can you address that? >> well, yes. i think that's why we're trying to pass it the way we are. we want more choice, we want more competition, less costs. the american people deserve a betterealth care system and that's what this president is pushing for. margaret? >> did the white house sign off on secretary -- growing north korean threat, and what are his marching orders? you talked about the flexibility the president has given to his generals. what flexibility has he given for diplomatic initiatives from secretary of state? >> as i mentioned at the beginning, president having lunch with secretary tillerson, the trip was one of the topics of discussion. so i will try to follow up with that. with respect to the first part of the question, press is being
invited to that trip. they're traveling commercially. there is a press logistics component to make sure they can get everywhere, given access -- >> you can't possibly go to all three of those things. >> the answer is, the plane -- the plane the secretary is taking doesn't accommodate that. but they have made accommodations for members of the press to cover everything. and i know -- >> advised -- >> we don't get involved in the logistics for every cabinet member's trip. i would advise you to get in toich with the state department on this. they're made aware of the concerns of some of your colleagues and making accommodations in the future to the size of the plane. make no mistake about it, there's a logistics component to make sure the press is welcome at the trip and throughout every stop and accommodations are taken care of and there's logistical support to do that. there will be a press component part as well. >> will you like public diplomacy in this important diplomatic initiative of this administration to be covered fully?
>> i hope it will be covered fully. >> reporters allowed to be on the plane with the secretary as they have? >> and i think when appropriate, they can. and again, there's a big difference between making sure that we carve out "x" number of seats and making sure we have transparency and openness covering events. they have logistical support to make sure you have hotels, there's travel support, accommodations and filing centers. at some point,ou , this isn't -- this isn't about blocking anydy. this i -- they've gone above and beyond. every plane cannot accommodate every member of the press. >> don't they have a bigger plane? >> i understand that. there's an element of cost savings at this point the secretary is trying to achieve. but at the end of the day, there has been a press component to every stoep of the secretary's trip. is he doing everything he can to logistically support the press who wants to come and cover him. they are being open to make sure that the secretary is available throughout the trip. yes? >> president trump was very
critical of german chancellor merkel on the campaign trail. i was just wondering, how does the white house think that will affect the tone of the meeting on tuesday? and what type of tone does the president going to take? >> we did a bit of readout on that earlier today. there's excitement on both sides. of the ocean for this trip. we're looking forward to meeting with the chancellor and her team. i've talked to their folks over there and they're very sxited about coming over. there's a lot of trade and economic interests on both sides. obviously, there's an element of national security that we share. and so, i will let the trip -- let -- look forward to the readout. there's a lot of excitement coming. i think the president looks forward to meeting with the chancellor and discussing areas of shared national interest. athena? >> following up on this fun discussion. i gather from today and yesterday, correct me if i'm wrong, i want to make sure i understand the answer to this
question. are you saying the president was not aware that general flynn was acting as a foreign agent when he appointed him foreign security adviser? >> correct. you wouldn't know that until he filed. he didn't file until two days ago. therefore, nobody would have known that because he didn't file until two days ago. >> he filed a lobbying disclosure with congress in november. >> that's different than filing with the doj. >> is that -- >> it's one question friday. >> did the -- the other question is did flynn disclose he was acting as a foreign agent in the security clearance review before he became nsa? >> i don't know the answer to the question. that's something you should follow up with general flynn on. april? >> sean, i want to go back to numbers. when is it when a president -- a former president's spillover and the new president stands on his own merit? when does that happen? >> well, i think on january 20th at noon you start to assume command of the government and,
you know, what specifically are you asking for? >> number from jobs. >> well, i think this is the first full month that encapsulates the president's administration. i think that's a very telling number. look, i get it, these numbers are going to go up and down. i think for the first full month we're seeing the enthusiasm and spirit that so many business leaders have been drawn to. and it's exciting as a first month. but this encapsulates a full 30 days of the trump presidency. we'll continue to work forward with policies that will lower regulation and lower taxes, create a more business-friendly and entrepreneurial business climate to expand u.s. companies and grow u.s. jobs. >> over the last couple of weeks we've heard all the negatives -- not all the negatives but a large portion of negatives about the affordable care act. and how you're looking to make it patient care. >> right. >> so, with that, are there any positives that you can articulate from aca that will carry into possibly patient
care? >> i think children being able to stay on their plans until 26, a pre-existing condition piece. remember -- >> that's subject to -- >> no, no, you're asking if there are elements. those are some things -- again, remember, there is stuff that was part of the aca that is stuff publicans pporte for a while as well. i think this is making sure this is the most effective and comprehensive health care policy that achieves the president's goals. >> so only two -- >> you asked -- i don't know, april. i'm sure i can go through the bill and get back. it's very long, as you saw the other day. it's 1,000 -- 974 pages. david jackson. >> saying president trump invited president abbas to the white house for a meeting. >> i did. i can. thank you very much. let's end on a positive note. have a great weekend. look forward to seeing you. take care, everybody. >> are you watching "snl" this weekend since you moved the
podium? >> no answer from sean spicer right there on whether or not he'll be watching "snl" this weekend. he he did fix his lapel pin, though. if you're a student of american federal law or in the boy scouts, you would know an upside down pin does mean it's a distress call, right, don? >> that's right. >> a boy scout leader my floor director. we have a big panel to go over that press briefing. michael flynn has just registered officially as foreign lobbyist. joy reid of msnbc, soon peter alexander and i believe we have david ignatius with us. a lot of good folks to talk. hey, david, i see you. let's get into mike flynn. david, do you believe that the white house's line that he was a private citizen, this is what he
did in his personal life, is a line that is good enough? >> i think the question of him having not registered at the time and now we're having a retro active registration tells us that there was something missing. the idea that a person who was on the way to being national securi adviser on election day would have published an op-ed pis in "the hill" newspaper advocating turkish interests, the turkish line, and not having disclosed that at all to the white house is hard to imagine. >> this is the national security adviser. >> right. and somebody who is also, let's not forget, considered for vice president as well. this is somebody who's been the principle national security adviser to donald trump really almost since the beginning of the campaign. somebody who is getting national security briefings. per a letter congressman elijah cummings wrote to vice
president-elect pence is somebody who signed agreements, a code of ethical conduct that stated before he takes any security briefings or get classified information that he agrees to abide by certain ethical standards, which would seem to contra convenient the idea he was lobbying for a foreign power without disclosing it to the campaign. you know, sean spicer tried to redirect the entire question to whether or not the lawyers involved told michael flynn when to fill out forms. that really isn't the point. the point is you're vetting someone to be national security adviser and feel you have no responsibility to vet them at all. >> eli, jump in. >> we know the transition did very minimal vetting with a lot of these appointees. that's why some appointees didn't make it. that's why flynn had to resign after 4 days. they trusted flynn. they loved their people. it's a very insue lar group. we don't have to answer questions. the loyalists, trump loyalists. he had this conduct with turkish
government up until three days before he was officially announced as national security adviser. and none of these people have ever been forthcoming. you talk about transparency, you talk about a guy, mike flynn, on that campaign trail and day after day after day chanted "lock her up" because hillary clinton and clinton foundation took money from foreign corporions theyd shwas corrupt. here they have this, never revealed this until it's reported by the media. so, they're not forthcoming on their own. whether pence knew about it, the administration knew about it, they probably didn't want to know about it. >> the entire briefing room at one point jumped in to try to get sean spicer answer that question a little more clearly. walk us through what you heard there in that room? >> reporter: just following up on the conversation you're having with your guests right now. the question i tried to pose to sean spicer was given what we know about michael flynn, what assurances can you give mivens there aren't other folks working close to president trump during the course of his campaign or not a part of the administration now who are presently serving as foreign agents, in effect.
he said, well, we ask them to fill out the necessary paperwork and we take them at their word. but this goes to a broader issue about this administration right now. that's not just about the issue between michael flynn and turkey, but more broadly about the investigation into russia's interference into this election right now because the question has been, were there conceivably individuals, associates of then-candidate trump president trump, in contact with russia during the course of the campaign? sean spicer says i can't tell you for sure. that demonstrates the position they're in right now where there's been a lack of sufficient vetting even from an administration that claims they want extreme vetting with this new travel ban. it comes as it is house intelligence committee has now sent a letter to the department of justice, the assistant attorney general, to james comey asking for any new information about russian interference. so, these all sort of, i think, intersect in some form in terms
of who it is ultimately that's advising this president and how well they've been vetted. >> we trust people, is what sean spicer said. david, a whole lot of smoke, every day a little more smoke. they keep getting caught in these circumstances where some might say they're lying, others might be a little more friendly and say they're defying the truth. what are we seeing here? weave jeff sessions, who is not being entirely truthful. we have michael flynn who wasn't being entirely truthful. we have an administration that says they weren't aware of the lobbying, even though it was in news reports at the time, even though representative elijah cumming sent a letter to vp pence saying -- vp-elect at the time, raising these issues. what do you make of this? >> well, we have a pattern, as you just summarized, of people making incomplete statements, evade i evading questions that would be normal questions for vetting any senior official.
misleading their colleagues, as mike flynn misled vice president pence. what this all adds up to and where it's going i think will be determined by our proper institutions. congress, which is investigating the russia hacking and contact with the trump campaign and by the fbi, which has fundamental law enforcement responsibility. we don't really know where those investigations are. it's proper they be for the moment secret and conducted carefully so that rumors and raw intelligence isn't thrown around. at the end of the day i think we're going to get answers to the questions you're asking. >> senator warner was at the cia again today, trying to get information about russian hacking into the electoral system, into the american election back in november. if he was able to get any answers s there any point that the american public will be
privy to that information? >> yes. at the end of the day, we need to know what happened. russia, major adversary, tried to hack in to manipulate our political system last year. we need to know what happened the time for that is when the investigation is complete. i think congress has an obligation, as does th fbi, to share that information with the public while they're doing the investigation, we need to give them time and let them do their job. >> david eli, enjoy, but we want to bring iowa congressman, steve king, a republican who sits on the judiciary committee. also a big supporter of trump did the during the campaign. thank you for joining me. i want to get your reaction to that press briefing we just saw. we were talking about -- i think we might have lost congressman king in there for a moment. we'll go back to the panel. we'll get congressman king -- >> i'm here. >> you can hear me. even better. >> ian hear you, yes. >> i want to get your reaction
to the white house press briefing. sean spicer talking about general mike flynn, fired national security adviser, registering retro actively as a foreign agent working on behalf of turkey. his group lobbying for turkey while he was working on the campaign. sean spicer was asked whether or not the administration knew about this. and if they did and didn't act on it or weren't aware of it or concerned by it, what does it say about the judgment of this administration? sean spicer said this was essentially a person matter for mike flynn. that he spoke to lawyers about this and the lawyers dealt with it. they have people who fill out applications and if they find out later on the applications are not entirely truth or more information they needed they took care of it, dismissing mike flynn. do you believe that is enough?
>> certainly, it's enough with general mike flynn. that has been resolved now from this standpoint. i think we heard from vice president pence this information is an affirmation of the decision that was made to end that relationship with general flynn. it makes you wonder if there's been an adequate background check that's been done and how thorough it might have been. i think that's somethi we should take a ok at. if it's on general flynn, then we should be pretty good. we ought to see about the system and make sure there's been thorough background checks of our top personnel so these kind of things would pop up before we run into this kd of arisis rather than have it be something that could stall out the progress of the trump administration. >> do you trust this administration to be doing those thorough background checks? >> i don't know. i don't know how broad it is or if it's an anomaly. i don't know which. i think we need to know more.
i trust devin nunez, he's said he would get any f warrants that may have been used involved with trump campaign or trump towers. that's a good thing. the t question is, were there any warrants requested? were there ever granted? if so, what was achieved under that? let's go back to last june or before that and trace this thing all the way through. i'd like to see them gather it all and talk to them to see how much we can releaease to the public. i don't want to leave anything unanswered unless it puts our national security at risk. >> congressman, i'm glad you moved over to wiretapping because i want to ask you about that. donald trump said definitively on twitter he was wiretapped by the former president and now he's calling on congress to investigate it. the white house is calling on congress to investigate it.
congressman, if he has the evidence, why not just give it to congress? >> i don't think we know enough details to answer that question. although it sounds legitimate on its face. what we do suspect strongly is general flynn was wiretapped. we believe president trump was wiretapped in his -- excuse me, wiretapped in his conversation with the president of mexico. wiretapped again in his conversation with the prime minister of australia. and we've got fairly definitive stories about the fisa warrants being requested. they seem to be factual but we don't have any facts to work on this. we have opinions. we have opinions from the intelligence community, from clapper, from brennan and others. and yet even i've sat in on classified briefings and i hear their opinions but i don't get to see the real facts that form their. s. so, i'm a bit skeptical given that i heard the video narrative about benghazi from the same people. >> congressman, are you saying the president was wiretapped in his phone call? did i hear that right?
with the mexican president and australian prime minister, the president himself was wiretapped? >> the stories were printed out with the same kind of substance driving the rest of these rumors. i put that into the mix with at least that much validity. where did it come from? this is what i'm confident in, that the conversation that general flynn had with the ambassador of -- from russia to the united states was leaked out into the press if that turns out to be anything other than a madeup story, someone violated federal law and violated our antiespionage laws and they're facing potentially a felony that could face ten years in a punish. >> in order to get a fisa wiretap of mike flynn or anybody, you would need to have probable cause they're working on behalf of a foreign government. if there was a fisa warrant
wiretap, so far the dni has said that's not the case, at least in trump tower, if that is the case that general flynn was wiretapped, doesn't that mean there was real reason to believe he was working with the russians? and does that concern you? >> i don't know that i can speak to that in that fashion. if they say there was no fisa warrant requested, then it's going on without fisa warrants. and that should be injected into this dialogue. we don't know if surovy lance, not just wiretap but any intel that went into the cyber connections and electronic quectionz. there's a lot we don't know. there's a lot of hyperventilation going on. i think the flynn story today, it's important we note that and note what vice president mike pence said, this is affirmation, the decision to end that relationship was a right one. i agree with that.
there's much we need to go with facts, especially we could nail this down in a classified fashion as to whether there were fisa warrants requested, approved, and what kind of information might have been gathered with that. i believe there are people, at least one pson, inside our intelligence community that have leaked information out into the press for the purposes -- specific purposes of hurting this administration and trying to handcuff them for moving forward on their agenda. if i were donald trump, i would take a look at all my political appointees, anybody that was an appointment that came from the obama administration, i would end that tomorrow morning, or tonight, for that that matter, and then make sure i had people working in all departments of the government loyal to the executive branch. this is undercutting the trump agenda. he has an agenda that's a mandate from the american people. i don't know if he can carry it out with this undercut, eroding the trump agenda from the
inside. >> this is joy reid. it sounds to me as if you just suggested a purge, a governmentwide purge from the white house directed by the white house of any staffer who previously worked for the obama administration. is that what you're suggesting? >> anyone who is a political appointment, is what i said. i'll use the word purge. i think that needs to happen. i think it's a descriptive word that fits well within the english language. you know people will attach extra meaning to that. i don't know a better word to use. by the way, barack obama did this. he ended all political appointments, all his ambassador, assistant u.s. attorneys, 92 across the country and there wasn't hardly a peep out of the republicans because we expect a president to bring his people in to work. if you don't do that, then you get this. this kind of undermining that is demobilizing the trump administration. i don't know how he overcomes that with the people working against him. if they worked for me, i would
fire them. >> in the case of donald trump's conversations with the foreign ambassadors that have leaked out into the press, the understanding is there were no obama appointees in that room. it was donald trump and his own ais. the leaks coming out of this administration are not coming fr obama appointees. they're coming from people appointed and brought in by donald trump. what does it say about his administration that apparently his own people are leaking the conversations, his own staff are leaking the conversation, which, by the way are pretty incendiary, some things he's said about foreign leaders. is he going to purge his own staff, too? >> i don't know we can conclude those leaks are from only trump people. we don't know who all is listening in on that. we have an idea but we don't know. that's a single case that's there. we also know there are many stories that have been bled out into the press that were designed to hurt the trump administration. some looks like it was information achieved legally, then it was done so under fisa
warrants. if it's released, that's classified information. fitz released, that's a violation of federal statute. so, we should look at that first. those are the stark ones. it's up to -- donald trump, i'm suggesting to him, i hope this echoes to him, if you don't trust the loyalty of the people around you, get people around you whom you can trust. some of the holdovers, some of the people that have burrowed themselves into this administration that are now civil service employees, they're going to continue to undermine this administration. we will see this story unfold in the weeks and months ahead. i hope we reflect back on this conversation we're having today about how important it is that if you have an agenda, the people that are going to accomplish that agenda need to believe in it. he's got people working for him that don't believe in the trump mandate. >> congressman steve king of iowa, thank you for joining us and allowing us to pepper you with some questions today. we appreciate it, sir. >> thank you. >> i'm going to ask the panel to stay with us so we can talk about this after the break. a lot to break down from that
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remarkable on a number of fronts. the fact he suggested the white house may still be being wiretapped, that obama would still be wiretapping the white house currently, also he admitted that maybe they're not doing enough vetting. >> incredible paranoia. we're talking about in all these cases is trust. king is saying the trump administration doesn't trust the government, needs to do purges. he also stunningly admitted that the public may not be able to trust that the trump campaign vetd its people, we can take them at their word when they talk about transparency, qualifications. when you said, did they do adequate vetting? he said, i don't know. that's steve king. >> david ignatius, what struck you? >> i was struck by the language about a purge. he said, that's what we're talking about. these are people in many cases who work for the united states. they're civil servants, they're employees of the government, from administration to
administration. their pledge to serve the country, not the president. another quick point. on this question of wiretapping phone calls, in every phone call to a feign leader, there are two people on the lin if you're calling mexico, the mexican president will give a readout in mexico to his people. there's so many different ways this information gets out. the idea it was done by intelligence or snooping just hard to credit that. >> joy? >> eli just said the trump people don't trust the government. the trump people are the government. we now have an administration that's attempting to undermine trust in government as it sits in the white house. i have never heard that. i've lived a long time. never heard anything like that coming from washington, d.c. >> glenn, we heard you in that briefing room a few minutes ago. we want to play a little of the exchange you had with sean spicer. take a listen. >> mr. pence was on television, i believe yesterday, saying twice that he had no knowledge of that letter.
>> that's right. no, no, that's -- hold on. no, no, before you -- >> let me -- >> before you accuse the vice president of certain things. he said he was not aware of the filing, just so we're clear, and he wasn't. >> just in terms of the larger question here. forget about filling out forms and the legalisms here. wh does thisay the transition team's judgment about still appointing him as national security adviser when you had knowledge of this information? >> no, no, but you're asking me, forget about the legalisms. that's what we ask people to do, is follow the law. you can't forget about the legalisms. >> glenn, take it away. >> look, i wasn't asking about the paperwork. eli gentleman cummings, ranking oversight committee at that time informed soon-to-be vice president mike pence that this was an issue that flynn was doing work with the turkish government. they had full knowledge of this. i wasn't asking about filling out forms. i was asking about the judgment of the president, the vice president and transition team in
still selecting flynn for that job with knowledge of his relationship with turkey. they still haven't asked that question. sean tap danced around it. he did an artful job. soon they have to answer the underlying question. >> when you asked -- peter alexander asked them whether they're confident anybody else in this administration could have had phone calls with russia or may have had some ties, lobbying for a foreign gornment, sean spicer didn't seem to have the answer hat, did he? >> no. and i think press secretaries don't have an encyclopediaic knowledge and they go back and get information. the general quality emanating from some folks. listening to congressman king's interview with you guys was stunning to me. first of all, i want to echo with david said. it is routine procedure on both ends of that phone conversation for aides to listen in, to take
notes and to sometimes, i have been told, to record so conversations don't just float off into the ooeter and presidents aren't held accountable for things they didn't say to foreign leaders. some of those readouts are circulated to fairly large numbers of people. for him to say, and i believe he used the term wiretapping, that the president and leaders of mexico and australia were wiretapped, shows a fundamental lack of understanding of these phone calls. >> joy reid, david ignatius, glenn thrush, wearing his trusty hat. love that hat. that's where we have to leave it this friday. i'm katy tur. it's been one heck of a friday, hasn't it? kate snow picks things up right now. also, if you want to see more of me, i'm filling in for chuck todd on "meet the press daily." >> i called you the hardest working person in journalism the other day. katy, thank you so much. >> i like show biz. >> i did, but then people gave me a hard time i said show biz. it's a saying, you're just hard
working, okay? that was an amazing interview that just happened, by the way. i'm kate snow. here are our top stories. general flynn resigned weeks ago but questions over his lobbying and what the trump transition team knew about it or didn't keep dragging him back into the narrative. tough questions for sean spicer. has the white house story changed? details, details. president trump meeting with house republicans as they move to move their obamacare through key committees but could security questions of mike flynn distract from that process? when it comes to this health care plan, an important question, what do doctors think about it? we'll talk to doctors to get their thoughts. let's bring in our panel of reporters from washington. we'll start with the political headlines today. i have chris jansing at the white house for us, my colleague kelly o'donnell is on capitol hill talking to somebody, but msnb politicalhe's rking, and