week that he briefed the intelligence agency before and after a 2015 trip that he took, paid for by rt, the kremlin backed television network where you see roughly for tens of thousands of dollars for that trip. now, this release of documents by the democrats sparking some pushback from republicans on the committee who believe that they should not have released these documents. this statement coming in just earlier from the spokesman for the chairman of the committee jason chaffetz, the spokes person saying though we walked hand in hand with the democrats during this investigation, this morning they broke with longstanding protocol and decided to release these documents without consulting us. the democrats are pushing back saying they did consult beforehand. there's nothing in their protocol that say they have to get permission from the republicans. just moments ago democrats sending a letter to jason chaffetz saying that they want him to push the white house harder to get these documents
both before january 20th and after january 20th. that's something that the white house so far have said they don't have and they won't provide. >> i'm sure sean spicer at the white house briefing about to get lots of questions on what congressman elijah cummings had to say and these new documents released about general flynn. manu raju, we'll get back you to. republicans are trying to breathe new life into health care reform, but democrats are seriously pushing back. the new effort to repeal and replace obamacare is certain to be a focus of today's white house briefing as well. it's set to get under way any minute now. we'll have live coverage as you can see. meantime, democrats say they may block the spending bill needed to keep the government running. the deadline is friday night. if republicans bring up health care legislation between now and then. the house speaker nancy pelosi says the republican bill will even hurt republicans. >> i think president trump is really making fools of the members of congress of his own party. he's asking them to vote for a
bill that is wildly unpopular in the country, is the wrong thing to do first and foremost. it's going to be doodoo stuck to their shoe for a long time to come. and with terrible consequences to the american people. >> correction. nancy pelosi is the former speaker. she's the democratic leader in the house, the minority leader. the current speaker paul ryan says america will be better off under the amended house republican bill. >> what this amendment does is it gives states more flexibility in tools to reduce patrolmenire increase choices. this is the important point. those protections remain on the books. even as we add new ones. >> let's bring in our senior white house correspondent jim acosta. he's inside the briefing room getting ready to question sean spicer. the administration was involved
in helping draft this new health care amendment to try and win over those house conservatives. what's the bottom line on what it does? >> well, the bottom line and this was necessary to bring in the support of that house freedom caucus, it is going to give states the ability to basically exempt themselves from some of the regulations in obamacare such as the requirement that people not be d discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions. that is making mot rad derates nervous and making it difficult to get the votes that are needed to get it through the house. that is why you see the house minority whip earlier this morning essentially issuing that threat saying democrats are not going to go along with a continuing resolution to keep the government if the house republican leadership insists on a house care vote at the same time. we are once against maybe not standing on the edge, wolf, but
the edge is perhaps in sight of a government shutdown. now, you saw the president tweeting earlier this morning that why are democrats trying to shut down the national parks and so forth. i think one of the questions for sean spicer during the briefing that's coming up is will the republicans control the house, republicans control the senate, they control the white house. why are democrats being blamed for a government shutdown. but that is the mix of elements, the volatile mix of elements that we're dealing with at this point. and at the same time you have the president just a few moments ago sitting at a luncheon with the argentinean president saying he is going to renegotiate nafta after we went through this whole exercise yesterday that essentially the white house was saying through unnamed officials that the president was ready to withdraw from nafta. that he was ready to perhaps sign an executive order notifyi notifying both canada and mexico of the u.s. intent to withdraw. then late last night after calls
with the mexican president and the canadian prime minister the president now saying he wants to renegotiate, he doesn't want to withdraw from nafta at this time. so i think one of the questions for this white house at this briefing here is going to be about nafta and where things stand on that issue. and then of course you heard manu laying out what was some pretty tough comments coming from the house oversight ranking member elijah cummings about these questions regarding michael flynn and these do documents they're seeking from the white house. once again sean spicer will be sipping from a fire hose when he comes out. >> that briefing is supposed to begin any moment. we'll stand by for live coverage. we've been down this road before. house republicans pulled the earlier health care bill because they didn't have the necessary votes to get it passed on the house floor. then it was conservative republicans who were the holdout. now it's the more moderate republicans who apparently hol the cards.
does the white house think the lawmaker ks g lawmakers can get the 216 votes? >> when i talked to republican sources close to the process, they are nervous about this. and what you hear from people time and again is that yes, we'll bring it up for a vote when we have that necessary number, but there is this added pressure. as the president is approaching his -- that mark of 100 days in office, there is, again, this desire to put wins on the scoreboard. what they're facing the prospect of at this point, wolf, after earlier this week sean spicer was in this room and he was asked can you guarantee there won't be a government shutdown. he didn't guarantee that there won't be a government shutdown, but he said with some pretty high confidence that there is not going to be a government shutdown. if the shutdown clock appears on our air, wolf, we're starting to tick down to that magic hour where things are going to get very serious, i think you're going to have a president reaching 100 days in office with
a lot of advisers around him sweating bullets and biting their nails, because that is obviously not the scenario that they saw at the beginning of this week. they were trying to clear some of these obstacles out of the way so they can get this spending bill passed. there was talk even coming from the president that they could wait until perhaps next week to go ahead and take on health care. and so, you know, here we are once again with talk of the health care bill that may come up for a vote when the white house clearly knows and republican leadership clearly knows occu knows up on capitol hill that they just don't know if the numbers are there. that's why you're hearing from aides privately that they're not so sure that vote will happen. >> even if the vote were to happen, if they were to get 216 votes in the house, it has to go to the senate where there will be a whole bunch of other problems facing this legislation. stand by, we'll have live coverage of sean spicer's briefing once it begins. we're learning in the meantime
that two u.s. service members were killed during an operation targeting inside afghanistan. the incident happened in the auction district. another soldier was killed there earlier this month. so also the area where the pentagon dropped that massive mother of all bombs as it's called. bent g pentagon reporter ryan brown is joining us. >> these service members were part of a special operations raid, joint u.s. afghan raid right there on the pakistan/afghanistan border. very remote area. it's kind of where isis has established its main kind of center, its main headquarters. very difficult area to access. that's one of the reasons that so-called mother of all bombs was used earlier this months because of these tunnels, these mountains, valleys. very difficult to access. again, it is kind of where the bulk of the u.s./afghan offensive against isis is located right now.
we saw this happen in kind of an intense fire fight. additional u.s. service member was wounded. not seriously we're being told. but an intense fire fight. isis suffering many losses as well. we understand part of this offensive that began in march involving air raids, air strikes, ground raids. that large explosive bomb that was used earlier. again, this particular area, the real epicenter of the fight against isis in afghanistan. >> let's get back to our top news, the latest news involving michael flynn. just one part of a much bigger picture. right now there are four separate investigations being conducted by both the house and senate intelligence committees. the house oversight committee. the senate judiciary sub committee on crime and terrorism all investigating. there's also an fbi criminal investigation into alleged russian meddling in the u.s. presidential election. the fbi director james comey says that criminal investigation
actually began last summer, last july. let's discuss all of this with our panel. i'm joined by chief political analyst glor kbia borer, dana b, mark preston and susan page. these latest revelations about general flynn. he spent less than a months as the president's national security adviser. now these latest revelations that elijah cummings put out today are pretty damming. >> they are. he's the di ahead. >> defense intelligence agency. >> right. and he was warned not to accept payments from foreign entities. we know that he did. that secondly, he did not disclose that on his security forms when he went into the white house. so there are two real problems here. issue is something that really does haunt the white house.
we've reported as have others that jared kushner for example did not disclose his meetings with foreign entities on his disclosure form. he is still waiting to meet with the fbi about that. so this is an issue for this white house and that's perhaps one reason that they don't want to start releasing documents is that they may have other problems along this line. >> you heard congressman elijah sumings s cummings so far is not submitting the documents they're seeking involving his tenure there as the president's chief national security adviser for less than a month. >> that's right. and i think gloria is absolutely right. they are dragging their feet because there's more there that they don't want congress and the american people to see. but i think this goes to what we have seen with this administration since it has been an administration. even beforehand when donald trump was the president-elect. that they have a lot of trouble
getting their stories straight on their connections to russia. and it's the drip, drip, drip or as an senior administration official said to me a death by a thousand cuts. that is part of the problem here, a big part of the problem here. because we don't know exactly what the administration knew, for example, about michael flynn, you know. correct me if i'm wrong, gloria, a little bit before. actually a couple years before he actually joined the trump administration because he was actually at the dia. but if he used that kind of poor judgment being warned don't do this and he did it anyway in a very public way. when he gave this speech to the rt, it wasn't like it was, you know, cloak and dagger. there were cameras there. >> and now we've learned he was lobbying on behalf of turkey, right? >> which is probably a bigger problem. >> which is another issue. >> after he left the white house, registered as a foreign agent with the u.s. justice department as a foreign agent of turkey because of what he was doing earlier. but he never did that
contemporaneously. these are all big problems. the money involved, it's significant. he got about $45,000 from rt, the russian television network which the u.s. regards as state propaganda. and more than half a million dollars from these turkish elements for which he later registered as a foreign agent. >> significant sums of money and the turkey part occurred when he was acting as an adviser to president trump. it was just last year. the best case scenario -- >> to candidate trump. >> excuse me, to candidate trump. now president trump. best case scenario right now for the white house is that they did a terrible job vetting michael flynn to be basically the top intelligence person, the person who sits on the right hand shoulder of president trump and whispers in his ear. worse case scenario and we know michael flynn is looking for immunity at this point. if he were to be granted immunity, could he then deliver
a bigger fish, whoever that may be, if there is something that has happened that has been illegal. there really is an incredible amount of inn trying right now around michael flynn. >> senator richard burr, the chairman of the senate intelligence committee said he has no intention of granting michael flynn immunity in exchange for his testimony. if he is called to testify, he can either testify willingly or he can plead the fifth if he wants to do that. that's his constitutional right. >> and if you want to talk about the real worst case for the white house, that would be if michael flynn were still the national security adviser and they were having to deal with these. here we near day 98. they've been frantic to provide good coverage as they approach the 100th day and they are facing yet another scandalous disclosure involving relations with russia. this is going to continue for months, maybe years because we have all these investigations on the hill into what russia did
during our election. this is an issue that has no signs of going away. >> everybody stand by. there's a lot more coming up. once again we're waiting for the white house press briefing to begin as the president pushes for a path forward on several issues, including repealing and replacing obamacare. can he revive that effort? the government facing a potential shutdown this weekend as well. and all these new developments involving michael flynn. much more including the briefing right after this. ry, i just put in the name of my parents and my grandparents. i was getting all these leaves and i was going back generation after generation. you start to see documents and you see signatures of people that you've never met. i mean, you don't know these people, but you feel like you do. you get connected to them. i wish that i could get into a time machine and go back 100 years, 200 years and just meet these people. being on ancestry just made me feel like i belonged somewhere. discover your story. start searching for free now at ancestry.com. essential for him, but maybe not for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
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live pictures coming from the white house briefing room. sean spicer will be answering reporters questions now any moment we're told. we'll have live coverage coming up. first let's bring back our panel. gloria, what's your take on this new push over the next few days to see if they can repeal and replace obamacare at least in the house of representatives? >> i think there's a great effort to get in under the 100 day deadline here. >> which is saturday. >> right. there's a race. i think that the white house has clearly been working with conservatives. but you know, the laws of gravity, you know, for each action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. that's not gravity. it's newton law. and the opposite reaction is
from the moderates and today we have that the american medical association has come out against the bill and said that the new measure as planned would cost people who have pre-existing conditions a lot more money for their coverage and it would make it unaffordable. that is a big problem for republicans because touching the pre-existing conditions is like touching the third rail. you can't do it. >> it's a very important issue. one of the negotiators working on this amendment to deal with this, the roll back of this of those obamacare protection system congressman tom mcarthur. listen to what he gsaid earlier today. >> why are you changing the way it works for people with pre-existing conditions since that's one of the elements of obamacare that people seem to really like? >> there's a lot of confusion about what's happening in health care and people like that and i like that too. i think it's critical.
what a lot of people don't see and after a lifetime in the insurance industry, i do see this system is crumbling. >> it's a big problem right now for the republicans to try to come up with something that will satisfy the conservative element, freedom caucus, and the more moderate republicans. >> let me give you the real answer to the question. that allison asked. the answer is because he was trying to and did successfully deal with members of the house freedom caucus. and they were looking at ways to -- more ways to chip away at the core of obama even and especially the pre-existing condition part of it. that's the reason why he did it. giving states more rights and so forth. the problem is, as you were talking about, newton's law, i'd say that was pretty impressive. but the idea is that and the question you were talking about is what are the moderate republicans going to do? you don't want to even touch
these pre-existing conditions. it's not just about this bill. it's setting the stage and setting the parameters for negotiations on everything else going forward. because right now there are enough republicans that they could potentially pass, you know, whatever they need to with republicans, only republicans and not democrats. but only if they can come up with consensus among republicans. and if moderates back down now on something as consumer -- that is understandable to consumers as the pre-existing condition clause, then what are they going to do down the road on taxes, on everything else that they want to have an imprint on? >> they need 216 votes. normally they need 218. if all 435 members of the house of representatives are there but there are a few vacant seats. they need 216 which given the number that the republicans have, it shouldn't be impossible to reach that number. >> it shouldn't be impossible except the interest the moderates have an entirely
different idea about how to move forward on this than the freedom caucus and the real conservative hard-liners do which really does make paul ryan's job that much harder. but look, this is only one step. this is symbolic in some ways. it's got to go to the senate. the senate has to do their thing. then it needs to go back to the house and senate. even if they get the vote today, they'll be luck toe get something done. >> it doesn't look like anybody in the house or senate are going to support this revised version. in the senate there are 52 republicans, 48 democrats, so you lose three republicans, moderate republicans, the whole thing collapses. >> lesson learned from the way republicans acted during the obama administration. democrats would say. and when you look at the moderates in the house who represent districts that tend to be more mixed, not so solidly republican, they're looking at president trump's approval rating. 45% in the cnn poll that was put out yesterday. that isn't very reassuring for someone who's going to need to get democratic and independent
votes to get reelected next year in his or her home zrikdistrict. >> there's a new setback of keeping the government open following this weekend. democrats are now saying if you do have a vote on health care between now and saturday, they're going to oppose any temporary spending bill. >> they've clearly made the calculation that the politics are on their side in this. shutting down the government is a big step. and if you'll recall, it was over obamacare when the republicans decided to shut down the government last time. so here we are. history repeating itself to a great degree. and you have the democrats now saying you know what, we have an argument to make on we care about you, we care about your health care, we're going to keep those pre-existing conditions in we're going to shut down the government over it because we believe it's important enough to our con tstituencies. >> they're sort of sol vating at the notion of the headline on
the 100 day mark being president trump reaches 100 days, government shuts down. that's a dream for democrats, right? the democrats are -- >> over health care. >> right. but it's easy for them to say that, i think, because they realize that i don't think that there's going to be a vote anyway. it's easy to say, you know, i'm going to take a stand. >> but there will be a vote to keep the government operating. >> yes. not be a vote on health care. their threat is empty. >> everybody stand by. once again, we're waiting for the press secretary sean spicer to begin his briefing. he was supposed to begin at the top of the hour. clearly running a little bit lit. we'll have live coverage of. that much more news right after this. traw. one day a big bad wolf huffed and he puffed and blew the house down. luckily the geico insurance agency had helped the pig with homeowners insurance. he had replacement cost coverage, so his house was rebuilt, good as new.
we're waiting for sean spicer to come to the lectern and answer reporters questions and there are lots of questions on this day 98. only two days until the first 100 day mark arrives. let's get back and talk about some of the issues, some of the questions he's no doubt going to be asked about. nafta, the north american free trade agreement, certainly on the agenda right now. the president says at least up until a few days ago he was ready to pull out of the trade deal. he talked to leaders of canada and mexico overnight. says he's ready to negotiate a new deal. here's sean spicer. little bit of a different room this morning. i'm sure you all know i was up here earlier this morning off camera with some of your kids. it was a pleasure to be able to share a little bit of the white house experience with them and i hope they enjoyed it. i think some of you have trained them very well. i hope they enjoyed their visit. i'm glad they got an opportunity
to visit with the president and vice president. we have a bunch to talk about today about what the president's been doing and he's got an executive order coming up. so going to try to get through it all. this morning the president welcomed the president of argentina for an official visit. president and first lady just left so we will have a readout for you very shortly on that. we've got a 2:00 p.m. the president will be signing a memorandum on imports and threats to national security so we'll try to keep this briefing on time. i know secretary ross spoke about the memo that the president signed a bit yesterday. but i want to reiterate that the american aluminum is in trouble having declined to the lowest elves we've produced since 1952. it is critical for our national defenses. the army ground vehicles and the air force jets, the navy war ships, but american companies are producing less aluminum than before. especially in the high purity aluminum that's used to build things like the f 35, the f 18,
and the c 17s. the secretary of commerce has initiated an investigation to determine what effect our reliance on imported aluminum has on both national and economic security. the memo the president will sign today similar to the mem o oh this memo combined with similar action on steel is an important step towards fulfilling the president's promise to, quote, put american steel and aluminum back into the backbone of our country. the president has been speaking about revitalizing the american manufacturing industry for quite a long time. another one of the president's most significant pledges has been to ensure that the men and women who have served this nation and military have the care, treatment and support they so greatly deserve. later this afternoon the president will go to the department of veterans affairs where he will sign an executive order that will take serious action to fix the broken v.a.
system through the establishment of the new v.a. office of accountability and whistle blower protection, which will remove and discipline federal flows and manager whose have violated the public's trust while protecting employees that speak out about wrongdoing. the president will be joined at the v.a. by several veterans and their spouses who have experienced or witnessed firsthand the poor quality of treatment that unfortunately too many of these heroes have received from v.a. facilities including sergeant michael vierdo who lost his leg and arm in afghanistan in 2010 and his devoted wife and caregiver care ra. the president is making it clear that the delays and improper care experienced by these veterans and unacceptable. the president's action comes on top of the signing last week which gives more veterans the option of seeing the doctor of their choice without traveling long distance or waiting for v.a. care. these actions which are only the beginning of his plans to
modernize the v.a. the president is making clear the trump administration will not accept anything but the best for those who have served our nation. today as can every day this week as we approach the 100th day in office he's continuing to follow through on some of the biggest promises that he made to the american people. on monday he hosted a working lunch. reiterating his dedication to making american a leader in the world. tuesday he prioritized the protection of the farmers and ranchers of america's heart land by establishing the enter agency task force on rural prosperity. today as i mentioned he's taking action on trade and veterans. as we speak of trade i know last night you saw a readout of the president's call with president penn and prime minister trudeau. the president and prime minister
called him and asked him too renegotiate nafta rather than terminate it. the president has a great deal of respect for these countries and the leaders and he said he would hold on the termination while we negotiate a better deal for america and its workers. the president also made it clear if they are unable to agree on a deal that is fair to american workers and companies, after giving renegotiation a good shot, he will move forward with termination. with that i'll take some questions. >> what changes in nafta does the president hope to achieve? >> i think when you look at the various sectors, it's obviously being a multi lateral agreement. there are areas in canada sectors, whether it's agriculture, manufacturing services, that we look on both of them where i think there's both a modernization recognizing the world has changed and also some trade imbalances and issues. also frankly some areas that nall outside the scope of nafta as it was negotiated at the beginning. i think we want to look at.
obviously issue of dairy came up. that's an area we would want to look at as well. part of this is to look at not just the exiting agreement, but areas and sectors and industries that have fallen outside or because over the last couple decades have not kept up with what the promises and the commitments that were made. but we've got a ways to go. matt. >> as you know, under both the reagan and bush administrations, concerns about tax cut fuel deficits were dismissed with promises of growth. we're hearing that same sort of rhetoric now. the deficit increased a great deal under both those administrations after the tax cuts. what's different about the president's plan that won't lead to the same sort of ballooning of the deficit? >> well, there's a few things. number one we outlined those principles yesterday. we've got a lot of work to do with congress and it's moving in a positive direction. there's a lot of pay fors as they call them in this proposal that will continue to be refined
as we move forward and negotiate it with congress. so there's a lot of things. i think the president laid out a plan that achieves or seeks to achieve three basic things. one is economic growth and job creation. two is a simplification so the american people can file their taxes in a rather normal process that doesn't require a ton of money and time. and three, is to do stuff that makes our -- create a better business climate and make sure that manufacturing and job creation and people want to hire here and that we help the middle class. those are the three guiding principles that the president has. as we do that, one of the things that you recognize through a lot of the models here is that you're going to achieve greater economic growth. it's something we saw both following the tax cuts in the kennedy administration and the reagan administration. i think that we can achieve greater growth, economic prosperity and job creation under the plan the president laid out. john? >> thanks a lot. you may have seen the news about the of of the inspector general announcing its launched an
investigation into the payment that the former national security adviser michael flynn received prior to becoming the national security adviser from rt, russia today, which is an entity of the russian government. what's your reaction to that first of all? >> i think that's appropriate if they think that there's wrongdoing, then the department's inspector general should look into that. >> are you satisfied with the vetting that was done of general flynn by the transition team before he came on board as the national security adviser? >> so that's a great question. i appreciate you bringing it up. let's walk through that for a second. general flynn was a career military officer who maintained a high level security clearance throughout his career in the military. his clearance was last reissued by the obama administration in 2016 with full knowledge of his activities that occurred in 2015 as you point out. so the issue is, you know, he was issued a security clearance under the obama administration in the spring of 2016.
the trip and transactions that you're receiving to occurred in december of 2015 from what i understand. so obviously there's an issue that as you point out the department of defense inspector general is looking into. we welcome that. all of that clearance was made during the obama administration and apparently with knowledge of the trip that he took. that's how the process works and i welcome the department of defense's review. >> if he wasn't fired by the president -- i'm sorry. if he wasn't fired by the president for lying to the vice president, would he still have his job today? >> i will just say they think the president made the right call at the right time and it's clearly paid off. >> given the progress that congressional republicans have made does the president want a vote on that bill? >> he wants a vote when they have 216 votes. i feel very good about the progress that's being made to
get to that number. i think speaker ryan's comments this morning indicate that it's moving in the right direction and that should be good news for everyone in america as we move towards a system that creates a health care system that serves us and makes sure that premiums don't skyrocket like they are now and that we're able to see the doctors that we want to see and have plans that have competition in them. >> so the presidethe -- >> the president wants a vote and health care system as soon as possible but that's going to be dictated by the speaker and majority leader when they feel they have the votes. that being said as we've maintained, we feel very positive about the work being done to get to that and the reaction we're having. as you recall, there were a lot of members that had initially had some problems and we're very pleased with the reaction, the public reaction that they are having to what is currently been negotiated. i think it's only getting bigger and that's welcome news. >> the president's tax plan is getting a little bit of mixed
signals on what his vision is in terms of retirement savings. can you layout what the president's vision is in 401 k and tax deductions surrounding those? does he imagine removing those or is he going to protect those? >> the secretary of the treasury both talked about the current plan protects charitable giving and mortgage interest and that's it. as we move forward with negotiations in the house and senate, that plan will continue to flush out. but one of the benefits of the tax plan on the individual side in particular is by expanding the standard deduction two $24,000 for a married couple creates a bracket of zero taxes for many americans. that's good news. we'll see more and more americans get some relief they need. >> these deductions comes with its own group, own lobby. they fight very hard for these
things. are you prepared for a battle on those tax deducks? politically that's a big left. >> i think the one interest the president is going to fight for are the american people and american worker. that's what he made his entire campaign about putting america first. his special interest are the american people and making sure whether it's putting more money in their pocket and economic growth leads to more jobs. that's the one interest he's fighting for every day. so we'll do battle with whoever we have toto achieve a greater outcome for american workers. >> retirement savings, to general flynn, you said the obama administration had -- is the implication there that if the trump administration was the one adjudicating his clearance, this year he would not have been issued that clearance, not the white house knows everything that there is about general flynn? >> i think i'm just making sure people understand the process and how it works.
the way a process works is that if you have a top charity -- top security clearance, you fill out a form. there's an investigation done. you are reinvestigated every five years if you are able to maintain that clearance. and whoever owns that clearance, whether it's the fbi or the department of defense, goes out, does the investigation. in between that period you're responsible for updatingthe information that you've provided in accordance with the agency that issued that. my only point is that when general flynn came into the white house, he had an active security clearance that was issued during the obama administration with all of the information that's being discussed that occurred in 2015. so i'm just -- i guess my only point is to explain how the process works and who adjudicated that. >> you're not implying wrongdoing on the part of -- >> no. that's why the department of defense inspector general is looking into in th to see how
that process works. i think it's important for folks to understand that when someone applies for a clearance, they get that clearance. it's issued at the top security clearance level for five years. and that the person who has been issued it then has a legal obligation to update the issuing agency any variances in what they supplied as information to obtain that. >> when you were here on february 14th the morning after general flynn was fired by the president you said that the president -- asked him to leave the white house, the situation regarding the phone call with the russian ambassador and the vice president, but also, quote, a series of other questionable instances. i was hoping now you provide some more information, some of his financial dealings in particular now have come to light. is that what led to his termination at the white house? >> look, i think we addressed it at the time. i think as -- no. no. that's right. i think the president made the right decision at the right time
and he continues to stand by that. >> things have been brought up to you today. not the process, but your own vetings, meaning the transition, are you satisfied that met the standard that should have been met with michael flynn and are there any regrets this white house has about bringing him in knowing what you know about him now, seeing the behavior that would be plainly inconsistent with the standard that candidate trump set during the campaign? >> with respect you're saying our process. the process is every government employees is eligible for a clearance goes through the same process. so it's not -- we don't have a unique process. >> the only question you asked mike -- it couldn't possibly be the only thing you asked him. >> when someone comes in the question is do they have a clearance. if not, they apply for one. if they have one it's made available from the issuing agency. the whole reason you have a clearance is so that someone is found whether or not they are -- >> but you just said it was not
just the episode with the russian ambassador. it was other instances. those have come to light. any regret -- >> i would just say the president -- >> knowing what you know now, did you miss something and do you regret brick r bringing michael flynn -- >> i think the president made the right decision at the right time and it's been pretty clear that -- i'm just saying he made the right decision and i think we looked forward from that decision and the decision stands. >> the treasury secretary left us with the implication when asked about retirement savings that they were protected. what you just said indicated they might not be. >> let me get back to you. i was want clear on that distinction. i will have the treasury folk read that out for you. >> general flynn came with on the obama administration vetting. that's the impression you're giving. >> it is. >> general flynn came in and walked through the door with just the clearance that was conducted by the obama administration. it doesn't make sense. >> sure it does.
when you applied for a credential to the white house briefing room -- hold on. let me explain the answer to you, jim. calm down. the kids have gone. i'm trying to answer it, major. this is the answer. when you apply -- hold on. when you applied to come here to this briefing room as a member of the press, you apply and you fill out certain forms with the secret service to have your background run. when i came in here on january 20th, the people that were cleared the day before, we didn't rerun your background. we trust when you were cleared the first time, if you were cleared on december 15th or january 20th that you were still -- that your background check still cleared. every individual came into this white house either applied for a security clearance or had one. everyone in the government goes through the same sf 86 process. every single person. and so why would you rerun a background check on someone who was the head of the department of defense intelligence agency that had and did maintain a high
level security clearance? that's it. it doesn't -- there's no difference between administrations when you come in from one, they rerun it. the reason they grant them for five years is that it's a very extensive background where they check your contacts, your places of residence, your employment. they go out into the field. they do a lot of that work. then you are required to maintain updates to that clearance. they rea jude indicate it every five years. that occurred in this case. now the department of defense inspector general is looking into it. >> congressman cummings a accuses this white house of a cover up. you say what? >> i was frankly taken back by his comments today because they're frankly not true. the department of defense was the issuing agency for general flynn's sf 86. we referred them to the department of defense who owns and issued his security clearance and they got a copy of it. that's how the system works. the documents that he requested he received. so with all due respect, he got
the documents that he requested. our job, they sent a form letter to multiple agencies asking for a copy of this. what we did was properly refer him to the issuing agency and department and said this is where you got it and he got it. >> there are no other documents that you have at this point that could be turned over to this committee that would be relevant to this investigation? >> not that i'm aware of at this point. they asked for the sf 86. we referred them to the department of defense. that's great. two, they asked for a contract, all copies of his speaking engagements from a speaker's bureau. i believe he was referred to the speaker's bureau for those. three is they asked for all foreign contacts that he mayor may not have had. since the incident occurred that they are questioning before his employment at the white house, i think we've complied with every document that they've looked for. >> two questions. one, does the president still feel that mike flynn should seek
immunity? >> i think mike flynn should test. >> i have not asked him but i believe that general flynn should do what his counsel advises him to do. >> the president said he wants to start renegotiating nafta as soon as today. >> yes. >> did he notify congress about that yet? >> we've been in communication with congress for a while on this, yes. adam? >> the president talked about puerto rico. [ inaudible ]. there are millions of investors in the united states, senior citizens, who may not be aware that they hold funds within mutual funds that expose that to a default in puerto rico. is there anything the white house should do, one, to safeguard those senior citizens and their investments and, two, to prevent an increase in cost to states and municipalities that may have to pay more to borrow if puerto rico defaults? >> right. i think the issue itself is
extremely difficult. it resolves around the continuing resolution to fund our government. there needs to be a continuing resolution effective this friday. the president has done everything possible, worked extremely hard with congress to ensure that we maintain the government, keep the government open. the democrats at the last minute have come in and thrown a lot of monkey wrenches into the ability to get this done despite the president doing everything that he can to show good faith to keep it going. they keep moving the goal post. the issue is to make sure we do what's in the best interest of our country and people by keeping the government open. that's the issue at hand right now, not a question of whether or not that can be dealt with. there are ways that that issue can be dealt with. but throwing it in at the last minute and trying to gum upkeeping the government open is probably not the most effective way. >> puerto rico defaults with or without the cr, is the
administration working -- >> again, that's a separate issue that needs to be addressed by congress in terms of how it is done. the method is to make sure we do everything in our power to keep the government open effective friday. george? >> as the tax plan evolves, do you believe it's a fair question for anyone to ask how that plan personally affects the president and his family? >> i think the president's plan right now is something that every american should worry hopefully about how it's going to affect them. i think when you look at the ways that this is going to benefit middle-class americans, middle-income working americans grow businesses, that should be and frankly that is the concern of most americans out there. they are worried about their job and whether their company is growing and expanding and about whether or not they are saving enough money and how much they are paying in taxes. what the president's number one goal is right now is to provide middle income and lower income tax relief to americans and
that's what his goal is and that's, frankly, what most americans' goals is. >> is that a fair question to ask? >> that's up to every individual to ask but i would guess that most americans would applaud what the president is doing to spur economic growth and job creation in this country. >> if middle-income americans should feel empowered to ask how this plan affects them, why is it that secretary mnuchin could not talk about what everyone in the middle class -- >> i think everyone in the middle class should know that the president's plan is to make sure they have more in their pocket. >> so there's a guarantee from the white house -- >> the goal of this thing, of this president's tax plan is to provide them and lower income people with more money in their tax credit. thank you so much. see you at the signing. >> all right. so sean spicer, the white house press secretary, wrapping up his daily briefing.
heard on michael flynn, the t - president's former national security adviser amidst all of the allegations against him. gloria borger, he did defend the trump administration's record and tried to pin some of the blame on the obama administration. >> right. he started throwing flynn under the bus by saying that if congress thought there were transgressions, they ought to investigate it. but then, he brlamed the obama administration for not doing a proper vet because there's a five-year period, i believe he was saying, that you don't need to reinvestigate somebody. and so he said, well, basically, he passed the buck, it was their fault, not ours. which leads me to believe, stunningly, that the person who was to become the new national security adviser didn't get a new vet given the fact that he's
a pretty controversial person and he was fired by the last administration. >> that's right. >> you know, it's interesting. because elijah cummings who revealed all of these new documents, the department of defense inspector general investigation now under way involving flynn's security clearances, he was complaining, cummings, that the white house is not cooperating with this house committee and giving them the documents they need. >> well, you know, after this briefing it makes you question whether they are withholding the documents or that the process has been so sloppy or that the proper documents, that would have proved and shown the vetting of the national security adviser for the president of the united states didn't happen or happened that was a big
suspicion and i also, you know -- you always know watching sean spicer to say the president is watching me now. he was asked whether the president regrets appointing michael flynn as national security adviser and he said it is the right decision at the right time. >> just to remind our viewers, mark preston, at issue is the $45,000 that he took from the russian television and the more than $500,000 he took -- his lobbying firms took from various turkish elements for which at the time he did not register as a foreign agent of turkey, only after he was fired did he retroactively register as an agent of turkey. >> that's right. 2015, december, he goes over and does this rt appearance.
2016, he lobbies for turkey at the same time he's advising then candidate trump, 2017, 24 days on the job before he gets fired. >> and susan page, this is clearly still an embarrassment as much as sean spicer would like to pin the blame on the obama administration, it's clearly an embarrassment that the president of the united states had to fire his first national security adviser after less than 30 days on the job. >> it underscores the continuing price that they are paying for a transition that did not work the way transitions have worked after people have won the presidency. the trump team was not ready for the transition. there hadn't been the groundwork laid during the final few months of the campaign. usually you have a vetting process by the transition team before you make a nomination, before it goes to the vetting process and that did not happen at this time and now we see the
consequences of that. >> this is one committee looking into this. there's the senate intelligence committee, house intelligence committee, judiciary committee and a criminal investigation that the fbi is engaged in. so this is not going away. >> no, it's not going away. there's a larger question of russian hacking into our election and whether there was any part of collusion but flynn who is fired remains a distraction because he's become symbolic of the way this administration has disregarded, i would say, the process and the vetting that you would think that a new national security adviser ought to have even if he had been cleared previously. >> and everyone knew about him trip to moscow when he was sitting there with putin.
>> absolutely. it's hard to hide that. susan, it made me think that the administration didn't properly vet when it came to their nominees but what makes michael flynn different is that he didn't have to come up for confirmation in the senate because he was a presidential aide, the national security adviser. so it was a different standard and probably they knew that inside the white house but they focused more on the ones who are in public where the members of congress and the senate are digging into records. >> and we're going into a couple weeks now of congressional hearings and we're going to hear from the likes of sally yates during this transition time who she herself was dismissed and others that were in the obama administration. so certainly not going away. >> yeah, may 2nd, the first house intelligence committee hearings in all of this, they will take place. some of it in open session and some of it behind closed doors. guys, thanks very much. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m.
eastern in "the situation room." congressman congressman elijah cummings will be my guest. the news continues right now. hi there, i'm brooke baldwin. let's pick up where wolf left off. this brand-new headache as a new investigation is launched into president trump's investigation of national flynn. we learned today an investigation was opened this month to take a closer look into payments flynn accepted from russian interests. we are also learning about nully classified documents that show