this help. we need these executive orders to make sense of what we do every day. >> thanks so much, tom, really appreciate it. thank you, tom. just like the dedicated men and women of i.c.e. and doj who are unquestionably producing results every day in these fights against vicious cartels, senate republicans now have an opportunity this evening to deliver on one of our biggest promises to the american people. on the hill the senate is gearing up for a series of votes on the republican plans to finally repeal and replace obamacare and replace it with the freedom health care bill. congressional republicans have been telling the american people that given the chance they would save them from this increasing damage of this disastrous law. after seven years of skyrocketing premiums and dwindling health care options, now is their chance to act. the president looks forward to seeing the senate fulfill that promise later tonight when they finally repeal obamacare and end the nightmares it has caused for american families and businesses. i hate to start the q and a off on a low note, but i wanted to get ahead of some of the personnel-related questions and just let you guys know ahead of time that, no, i cannot confirm whether or not sean spicer will be on "dancing with the stars" upon leaving the white house. and with that i will take your questions. jonathan. >> sara, does the president have confidence in his chief of staff? >> look, i think i've addressed this question when it comes to staffing and personnel many times that if the president doesn't, then he'll make that decision. we all serve at the pleasure of the president. and if it gets to a place where that isn't the case, he'll let you know. >> so you can't say right now if the president has full confidence in chief of staff reince priebus? >> i think i just answered that. look, i think what we have is this is a white house that has a lot of different perspectives because the president hires the very best people. they're not always going to agree. there are going to be a lot of different ideas unlike previous administrations this isn't group think. we all come and have a chance to voice those ideas, voice those perspectives. and have a lot of healthy competition. and with that competition, you usually get the best results, the president likes that type of competition and encourages it. the people that are here are here because they love the president. they love this country. they want to see the best things happen. and sometimes you're going to have different ideas come to the table. that's all we're talking about. >> this public humiliation of both the attorney general and now the chief of staff. left to kind of wonder about their own fate, their own status within this administration. >> i don't know that the president has spoken about that, particularly on attorney general sessions. he's been clear that he was disappointed with his decision to recuse himself. but at the same time as i've said, look, attorney general sessions knows better than anybody that the president and his campaign had nothing to do with russia. and his decision to recuse himself was disappointing to the president. at the same time, the president wants him to do his job. do it properly, he wants him to be tough on the intelligence leaks. and he wants him to move forward. >> lindsey graham says there will be holy hell to pay if attorney general sessions is fired. what does he have to say about that. >> i haven't asked him about graham's comments. >> the president has announced that the president's statements via twitter did not change the transgender policy in the military and the white house has to issue a policy directive to the secretary of defense to make that change happen so two questions -- does the president plan to do so? and if so, how will that affect transgender troops that are currently serving? >> as i said yesterday, the white house will work with the department of defense and all the relevant parties to make sure that we fully implement this policy moving forward. and do so in a lawful manner. >> what is the policy? and was the president aware that he can't make policy changes via statements on twitter. because the pentagon is saying -- >> i think he was making announcement of the policy change. >> the policy change hasn't been formalized? >> they'll have to work out the details of how that moves forward to lawfully implement that policy change from this point. >> thank you. so moving on to health care, you talked about how senate republicans have the chance tonight to really undo obamacare. but it seems like the thing that's most likely to get through is the skinny repeal. that would just kind of, that would maybe get rid of the mandate and some other things. but it's not the massive overhaul that had been promised. so with the white house support just a skinny repeal, that being signed into law? >> we certainly support progress moving forward. and that's what we're seeing taking place in the senate right now. and i think that that's a -- the place where we've been since we started this. as we're looking for moving the ball forward down the field. repealing or replacing it with a better health care system this is one step within that process. >> but does the white house believe that a skinny repeal on its own would be enough to address the issues of premiums, you know, rising premiums and deductibles and things like that? would the president sign just a skinny repeal? >> we've got to see what they get to tonight we haven't seen a final piece of legislation, we're continuing to work with the senate to make sure we get the best health care we can. >> sarah, i want to ask you two questions, one about the president's management style and one about the immigration enforcement. is the president aware that occasionally days like yesterday when he had a big jobs announcement he wanted to roll out that his seemingly impulsive decisions to make a decision on transgender troops steps on his own message? is the president aware of that dynamic? and is he interested in changing that, do you know? >> i think the president is aware that he can walk and chew gum at the same time. this is a white house that takes on a lot of different things. every day. not just one. and we're going to continue to do that moving forward. >> on immigration enforcement. so this week when the president spoke in ohio, he spoke on ms 13 and he gave a litany of the violence that they're capable of. and then he said our guys are rougher than their guys. what did the president mean by that? >> i think the president means that our guys are going to do whatever it takes to protect americans, protect american lives. protect our borders. >> is that a license for the use of more force when it comes to making arrests against gangs? >> the president wants people to do their jobs. not go beyond the scope of what they should do. but he wants to protect our country. he wants to protect american people. and he's asked the law enforcement agencies to step up and help be part of that process. as i think we would all expect for them to. >> law enforcement agencies to change the rules of the use of force when it comes to making arrests against ms-13? >> i'm not aware of any specific changes. >> anthony scaramucci said about reince priebus, if he wants to prove he's not a leaker, let him do that. i can't imagine would you speak on anthony's behalf. but if he would, does he think that reince priebus is a leaker? or does the president think that reince is leaking? >> i'm not glg to comment on anthony's suggestion, i'll let him answer for himself. i think i made pretty clear on where the president is, and i don't have anything to add beyond that. >> does the president believe that tax overhaul should increase the budget deficit? or should it be revenue control? >> we're continuing to make announcements on the details of the tax reform plan as i'm sure you all saw. there was a joint statement that came out earlier today and we're making a lot of progress on this front as we get closer to lining out the final details, we'll certainly be putting those out in front of all of you. the big pieces are simplification and helping take off the relief for the middle class. those are big places that we're really focused and we're going to continue to do that. as you saw from the statement, the border adjustment tax was taken off the table and that's another big step forward in the process. pete centre. >> sarah can i ask quickly about anthony scaramucci? >> only if you do it quickly. >> fine. has he taken an oath of office? >> i'm sorry. >> has anthony scaramucci taken han oath of office? >> not that i'm aware of. >> has his security clearance gone through? >> we do not discuss security clearances. >> is he an official member of the white house staff? >> he's working at the white house. other questions, i can't answer that. we're going to go with one question thursday. we're kind of tight on time. >> let me ask you about the boy scouts if i can. >> i'm going to go to john, sorry, peter. >> i do have to ask you about the health care bill. many who were in the freedom caucus say that they would oppose the skinny repeal. that was referred to earlier. that if a measure came out with just ending the mandates and ending the tax on medical devices, and not address anything else, they would vote against it. is the president aware of this? and is he make anything calls for specific parts of the repeal effort? >> look, the administration has been working hand in hand on pushing repeal and replace of obamacare. we actually like the term freedom bill a lot better. because we think it addresses what this bill actually is. it removes a lot of those mandates that allow people to have the type of freedom, have states are have the freedom that they want. that was one of the big priorities for this administration. we're happy about that progress. we're going to wait and see where the bill ends up late they are evening. john deck centre. >> is the president just to follow up on what john just asked you. i don't know if you've got into that particular part of the question. is the president picking up the phone? is he calling those seven or eight republican senators, making the case for them that this may be their last best hope for repealing and replacing obamacare? and if he is, what's his message to those particular senators? >> the same one he's been making all along, let's get the job done. let's replace a terrible health care system with a better one. and he's going to be engaged, and i'll keep you posted on any specifics and people that he talks to. peter? >> all the folks, republican senators, here at the white house last week, sarah -- >> guys, we're real tight on time. i want to keep you to one question. let's be polite to your colleagues. >> anthony scaramucci said the president might veto the russia sanctions bill. even though senator corker has withdrawn his objections. is that in fact possible, would he veto a vote that passed with three negative votes in the house and two negative votes in the senate? >> the president and the administration supports sanctions against russia, iran and north korea. we continue to support strong sanctions against those three countries. and we're going to wait and see what the final legislation looks like and make a decision at that point. as soon as we have a final piece of legislation, we'll let you know. >> in terms of working with the d.o.d. on the new policy, how long is it going to be before you find out what the details are. >> i don't have a specific timeline, but i believe they're going to start moving on it quickly. we'll keep you posted as the details come out. i don't have a specific timeline on what that looks like. but i know that they're ready to start moving. and work on that implementation. major? >> some senate republicans have sent signals to this white house, one, we're not going to allow, two there's not going to be a confirmation hearing if there's a new attorney general nominated. there's a signal being sent -- don't do what we fear you might be contemplating. can you for the betterment of the senate republicans, who are working with this white house on a lot of issues, put to rest once and for all the status of the attorney general? he's not going to be fired, there's not going to be a need for a recess appointment and this issue can be laid to rest for the country and for senate republicans, who appear based on their public statements to be anxious about this prospect. >> i guess i'm not sure how many times you have to lay an issue to rest. i've tried many times. >> but when you don't say the president has confidence and the president says time will tell as he said earlier this week -- i'm only telling you what senate republicans who are in a position to have to deal with this -- >> i've answered your question. and yesterday you probably saw statement come out from here that that was more fake news from the "washington post." on the fact that we're considering a recess appointment. i think that sums that up pretty clearly. >> this is a little maybe just a little bit off-topic. i want to run it by you, anyway. is the president aware of this story -- >> that's probably good if we mix it up a little bit. >> the president aware of the story of the i.t. staff of congressional i.t. staffer who most recently worked for florida congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz who was recently arrested and attempting to leave the country. although he said he was not trying to flee the country. is the president aware of that particular circumstance? and is he satisfied with the pace of the investigation? >> i haven't had a conversation with him specifically about that. but i do think it is something we should fully look into. and there should be a thorough investigation. >> kristen? >> since we only have one question i'm going to ask you about the boy scouts. >> make it count. >> chief wrote this to family members. who were at the president's events earlier this week. i want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree. that was never our intent, we sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the scouting program. does the president owe the boy scouts an apology? >> i was at that event and i saw nothing but roughly 40 to 45,000 boy scouts cheering the president on throughout his remarks. and i think they were pretty excited that he was there. and happy to hear him speak to them. >> the boy scouts acknowledge there was a problem. a lot of parents expressed frustration in the wake of those comments. and felt the need to actually write a letter about it. so does the president owe them apology? >> i was at that event and heard nothing but a lot of cheering and probably one of the most energetic crowds i've seen in front of the president. and so i don't have anything to add. i haven't seen the statement from the boy scouts. soy can't comment any further. than what i saw first-hand. and that was a lot of individuals roughly 40 to 45,000 as reported, cheering the president on. zeke? >> for you real quick -- i have two. >> remember, there's one. >> first on anthony scaramucci this morning on cnn, he said he had a conversation with attorney general jeff sessions, violate the doj guidelines. and secondly, out of alaska today, a local paper is reporting that senator murkowsky was receiving a phone call for the secretary of interior safety threatening the people, essentially threatening the services and federal dollars spent by the administration's policy towards the people of alaska if she voted a certain way on the health care bill. i was hoping if you could confirm that and discuss whether if that conversation did happen. >> i'll answer both of your questions, i'm not going to speak about conversations between cabinet members and other individuals that i wasn't apart of and haven't had a chance to talk to either individual about. francesca? >> thank you, sarah. you suggested that the president continued to have confidence in reince priebus, based on the fact that he's still in his position and he's a friend of anthony scaramucci who is coming into the administration. at this point, based on what we've seen quite publicly playing out, does he think that they at least need to sit down to talk as house speaker paul ryan said and get whatever this is out of their systems so they can start off on the right foot here? >> i don't know if he has an opinion on what they should do between the two of them. i think the president as always enjoys healthy competition and conversation and he sees that as such. i've got to wrap up here because the president is getting ready to do an event which i know you all probably want to attend. and i want to leave you with just one last thing before i close out on an important development. you guys love to talk about russia and there's been nonstop coverage. and the one day that there might have been a question on russia, there wasn't. often we have a lot of media with russia first and but today there was public testimony that further discredited the phony dossier that's been the source of so much of the fake news and conspiracy theories. and we learned that the firm that produced it was also being paid by the russians. this is yet the latest piece of evidence that vindicates what the president said, that this is a witch hunt and a hoax. and it's a shame that the president and the country have this to go through this charade and hopefully this will help us move forward with the process. thank you so much.