tv Nothing Problematic in Nunes Conducting Russia Probe Says Spicer CSPAN March 29, 2017 4:35pm-5:16pm EDT
chico as one of their early experimental farms at the actually oenld and ran their own. >> sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv. we visit the california state university farm. >> it's the number one industry in california yet. and there's 23 csu campuses, only four of them have agriculture. chico represents the northern part of the state. we draw students from all over california. to get experience in agriculture itself. >> and we'll also go inside the chico museum to the historic chinese alter from the chinese temple. watch c-span cities tour of chico, california, saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's "book tv" and sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country.
>> at the white house today, shawn spicer on the investigation being conducted by the house intelligence committee over russia's interference in the 2016 election and he defended the conduct of representative devin nunes who chairs the panel. this is about 40 minutes. >> setting off a chain reaction after diction that spreads from person to person and from family to family. president trump has already taken executive action to strengthen law enforcement and dismantle criminal cartels. he and his team will continue to discuss how best to root out the threat to american communities with drug enforce ment experts as we continue this fight. stopping this epidemic is not -- is an issue that every american regardless of your political background can and must get
behind. we must work together from the leaders of the most local from most local and community recovery and support programs all the way to the white house to solve this problem. the white house took a big step by meeting with the individuals which concluded new jersey grofrn chris christie who is a leader in this issue, attorney general sessions, duvos, veterans administration secretary, home land security secretary kelly and others were in attendance. a full list of participants has been provided. their desire to see that this problem is addressed is one plaguing communities and i know the president places it at the highest priority. there was a mention by the
drug -- the acting administrator of the dea that they have a program where twice a year they gather unwanted drugs. last year they gathered over a million pounds of unwanted drugs. i think the dea is putting out more information of the next dropoff. when you see the action taking place in this report, it is a call to harms for a crisis that is plaguing our country. nikki haley, senators for medicare and medicaid services who will all speak about the unique challenge that's women
and young girls face today. vice president pence and the first lady will also be in attendance. the president is proud his administration is full of so many female leaders from whom will be on stage this afternoon to those in -- so that their work doesn't always make headlines but it's felt across the federal government and across our nation. women's history month is coming to an end. the trump administration is committed to empowering women in the workplace. the work we started this month will not end at the end of this month. it will continue. the president made women's empowerment a priority throughout the campaign speaking out on affordable child care and paid family leave, investing in women's health and the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs and business owners. in february, he and prime minister trudeau from canada launched the united states/canada council for
advancement of women entrepreneurs. this month the first lady hosted an event for international women's day in the east wing. cms administrator burma hosted a panel on women and health care. ivan an ca held a roundtable with women business owners with linda mcmahon as well as others with latina business owners. the first lady joined the undersecretary for political affairs tom shannonton present the secretary of state's international women of courage award at the state department. the president believes as the first lady said this morning "wherever women are diminished, the entire world is diminished with them. however, wherever women are empowered, towns, villages, schools and economies are empowers and together we're all made stronger." the trump administration will continue to work to ensure that the american economy is a place where women can work and thrive. later this evening, the vice president will participate in the swearing in of david friedman as the next ambassador to israel. president is glad that ambassador friedman will be officially on board as we strive for a lasting peace in the middle east. mr. friedman's strong
relationships in israel will be a tremendous asset to the president in furthering that mission. finally i want to speak about judge gorsuch and the blatantly political obstruction of his nomination to the supreme court by senate democrats. yesterday, the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said next friday the senate will vote to confirm neil gorsuch to the supreme court. unfortunately, senate democrats began justifying their opposition by claiming a 60-vote standard for his confirmation. that standard doesn't exist and these claims continue to be false. a party line filibuster by the senate minority is not a fair up or down vote. you don't have to look further than the voices of many of these same democrats to see why in 2013 senator tom udall said and i quote in full, some of us may disagree with justice scalia on philosophy, you he is a qualified nominee. he receives up an or down vote and he was confirmed. likewise ruth ginsburg was considered a liberal. many of the other side may have disagreed with her views but she was confirmed by a vote of 96-3. he added a minority in the senate should not be able to block qualified nominees."
we could not agree more with senator udall. unfortunately, he has now adopted a new party line of obstruction on confirmation of judge gorsuch. it's sad and unfortunate. we encourage all senators from both parties to fairly evaluate the judge's eminent qualifications and grant him a vote. with that, glad to take your questions. april. >> thank you, see. >> how are you today. >> i'm fine and how are you? >> fantastic. >> well, sean, going back to some issues in the news, nunes is not going to recuse himself. what does the white house say about that? >> well, april, the white house, as i think i mentioned this
yesterday, i mean, he's conducting an investigation. he is the elected or appointed, i can't remember how they do it over there, but appointed and confirmed but by his colleagues in the house and the speaker. he is the chairman. he's going to conduct an investigation. it is up to the house of representatives and the speaker and the members of the house republican conference to determine. but there's nothing i see that is problematic in him conducting an investigation that we asked both the house and senate intelligence committee. >> reporter: what conversations with paul ryan -- to include demes and republicans are talking about what looks like impropriety in the intel chief's handling of this so far, particularly as there's not a
hearing right now. >> well, i would take issue with -- i think you're right there may appear to be certain things. but i don't think there's any actual proof or sustaining allegation about anything that's done. again, i mentioned this yesterday. if you look at what chairman nunes has done, he has met with people who are clear to discuss classified information regarding a review that he is conducting. that's how it's supposed to work. again, i understand that when things are leaked out in the media, that somehow that is a standard that's acceptable, but when two people who are cleared to discuss classified information or three or however many discuss classified information, somehow that's wrong because it's not being leaked. he is conducting a review which we have supported on both sides of the chambers and i think they should do this.
but i think to start to prejudge where this thing is going, we have been as supportive as you know, and i think that let's let that process bear itself out and see what happens. i will tell you that i've seen reports in the media that the nsa has documents that they are supposedly trying to get to the house intelligence committee and that have been requested. we think that's a great thing. if that's in fact what's happening. but again, i think part of this all gets back to that there is a process. and i get that sometimes it's frustrating to us. i believe that we want this over as much as i think some of you. but we recognize that there's a process that has to take place. and that process is taking place that is the chairman and house intelligence and i know that senator burr and senator warner are talking about the process they're going to go on the senate side. some of these things take a little bit of time. to the extent they are gathering the proappropriate documents and looking at those things, that's part of the process and review being undertaken and we're fine with that. >> reporter: second topic, tax reform and infrastructure, reports are saying you're going to do it together. aca, obamacare going into trumpcare at that time, tax reform, infrastructure were said to be some of the reasons why you did not come up in the budget with eliminating the debt. do you have cost estimates as it relates to tax reform and infrastructure as of yet? >> no, because i think you need to have plans laid out first. i think part of this is we're in
the beginning phases of both of those. so to have a score on either one of them or a cost when we don't have those formalized yet and i think we're in the beginning phases of having those discussions with both stakeholders, members of congress on both sides and obviously internally, the formulation of those plans is continuing. till that happens, i don't see us having a formal cost or a score. >> reporter: cbo now? >> it's not a question of trust. i want to be clear about what i've said before. i think when it comes to cost estimates and budget issues, which is what cbo is charged to do, threw are the congressional budget office. while i think sometimes they're a little off on that, that is what they're charged with doing. i think there's a score. it's not a question of trust. it's a question of accuracy. i think the issue we previously brought up was when they had scored people and coverage which isn't necessarily their wheel house, they have been way off. again, i don't think it's a question of us trusting or not.
it's literally a question of saying they believed that 26 million people would be on obamacare. 10.4 were and falling. i think that's not a question of whether we trust them or not. it's a question of those are the facts. and those facts bear out that they were off by more than 50% when it came 0 counting people. i just want to be clear that it's not a question of whether we trust them. i would ask whether that's really what they're supposed to be doing. major. >> reporter: a couple things we talked about on monday. monday you said to us from the podium, you would look into how chairman nunes was cleared here and with whom he met. we tried to ask you that yesterday as you walked out. do you have any information to live up to the commitment you made on monday to provide more details about how that happened in a process you just told us again is above board and totally appropriate. >> i don't have anything for you on that at this time. but again. >> have you looked at it. >> i have asked some preliminary questions and not gotten answers yet.
but so no, i don't have anything further on that. i would argue, major, it's interesting and i brought this up the other day, there seems to be fascination with the process. it's how did he get here, what door did he enter as opposed to what's the substance of what we're finding. not from you. i'm not trying to be -- so many times i get calls we have an unnamed intel source that says the following occurred. do you admit, deny it, whatever. we have an argument over substance. in this case, the fascination is what is door did he come in, who did he meet with, as opposed to what i think it should be ironically it's not when it's the shoe's on the other foot is what's the substance. just yesterday, just to be clear, we started this day with "the washington post" falsely posting a story saying the white house blocked sally yates. right? by the end of the day, it's officials blocked sally yates.
they were wrong. they jumped to a conclusion based on whatever unnamed sources. what we're trying to do is argue there should be a process. the chairman of the house intelligence committee and others are going through a review. we support ta review. and so as much as i understand that everyone wants to jump to how did everyone get in, what did they do, they're undergoing an investigation. >> reporter: i have a substantive question about that but i'm asking you about something you told us. >> i said i would look into it. >> are you going to continue to look into it. >> i will. >> will you live up to that obligation. >> the obligation, as i said i would look into it. and il continue to do that. >> you said yesterday about sally yates, show what you know. one of the reasons there's a question about chairman nunes it, he hasn't told his own committee members what he knows, how he learned about it, and what the substantive importance of that is. so we are also curious about that and among the things that might be or might shed light on that is how he got here, who he met with and weather learned. >> those are questions for him. i think i also think. >> standard he should be held to. >> there's a slippery slope we're talking about here because if we start looking into certain things and the accusation the next day is going to be you looked into this. why did you ask this person or not. a couple weeks ago when there
were stories whether or not we called certain people and we did. we're damned if we do and damned if we don't on stuff. on the one hand, you certain answers and talk about us being involved. we asked for an investigation. at the same time, we've tried to make sure that we allow that t? why did you ask this person or not. a couple weeks ago when there were stories whether or not we called certain people and we did. we're damned if we do and damned if we don't on this stuff. on the one hand, you want certain answers and talk about us being involved. we asked for an investigation. at the same time, we've tried to make sure that we allow that review to go on that both the house and the senate intelligence. so we can't cherry pick every time you decide that a piece of information is relevant to what you want. i think we know that they are undertaking a review. hold on. >> the members of the very committee themselves say they don't know what is being discussed. >> fair enough, right. >> how is the process going forward? how is that a workable process? >> what i'm saying is the answer to that question, that's a question for chairman nunes. i don't have any authority over how the house intelligence committee conducts itself.
>> you have a story whether he gets into this building and gets secured information on this site. >> how he conducts himself with his members, when and where he shares things are issues for him and the committee and the house of representatives, and not for us. that's it, plain and simple. john >> reporter: we know members of the house freedom caucus, the tuesday group of republicans are up on the hill trying to see if they can come to some sort of an agreement to find a way forward on health care. how real does the white house think this possibility of resurrecting health care is? >> well, i think the president from the early days of his campaign talked about repealing and replacing. it's a commitment that he made. i think he would like to get it done. but he also understands and i don't want to be -- i want to be completely consistent with two things. one is, he understands that in order to get to 216, we have to make sure that it does what he says it was going to do, that it achieves those goals of lowering costs and creating more options.
so we're not going to create a deal for the sake of creating a deal that ends up being not in the best interests of the american people. you've got to know when to walk away from a deal that will end up bad. he wants to have a good deal. so the deal that he's looking for is willing to have members come and talk to him and engage with on this whole area and figure out what it would take, what their ideas are to get there to grow that vote. if they can do that and get to an area where we will have a majority of the house, we're going to engage in that. we've seen members of both sides of the aisle engage with the white house on ways that are potentially ways to get there. so it's a conversation. and we're not trying to jam that down anyone's throat right now. it's an ongoing discussion. >> does the white house share the frustration of many republicans in capitol hill and the sentiments that the house freedom caucus "botched this"? >> i think the president's comments on this speak for themselves.
>> reporter: i have one more on the same thing. the president, members of the white house have suggested that maybe we could get some democrats on board. health care reform. the fact that no democrat, not one democrat supported the last attempt and given the desires of the freedom caucus versus what the democrats were going for, is it reasonable to think that even one democrat would come on board with this? >> no, i mean, i think it is not unreasonable. >> i said is it reasonable. >> i think it depends on how they want to get there. i mean again, there's a balancing act. it's not about picking up one but it's picking up enough to get to 216. what does that take without compromising the principles you want to achieve. so is it possible? sure, that there's a handful or so or maybe more democrats that are willing to engage, but it's worth the conversation. but again -- >> kind of a boehner tactic to say if you're not going to work with us, we're going to go to the democrats?
>> no, it's a math tactic. it's how do you get to 216 in this case. and it's engaged with whoever will get you to that number. over the course of 17 months, obamacare, you know, failed and started multiple times. it went off on multiple different tracks including sing payer until it finally came back and ultimately upon scott brown's election, they jammed it through and did it so quick to make sure that the secretary of human services -- i get it. so we're 20 days, 21 days into this process, 22 probably today. so we'll see. but i think the idea that the president has put out there is that if people want to float ideas and suggestions on how we can grow this vote and get to a majority, he'll entertain them. >> i have a lightning round about opioids. is a commission being created? is chris christie the head of that commission? he was talking about it but i haven't seen anything on it. what sort of time line will that
commission have in terms of presenting findings? what's the goal of this? >> well, i think it's easier to start with the goal. if you see the roundtable and i know the pool will have a readout of this afterwards, the goal is to figure out i think governor christie has been a leader of this in new jersey. it's an issue that plagues countless communities more and more. and so you know, whether it's new hampshire or other places in the midwest, it's sitting there and figuring out best practices. and how can we get it down and how can we provide the treatment. i mean i think the dea administrator was noting in the discussion that we've gotten really good at law enforcement. but the question is, how do we focus on the treatment, how do we focus on the prevention. how do we look at things that happened in the past to deter drug addiction from starting in the first place and to deter young people in particular from starting with drugs to now how
do we help families cope with this. i think today is the first step of bringing some of the stakeholders together. but like i just mentioned on the other thing, i appreciate that everyone wants the answers, but i think that there's a reason that you're looking at this as two things. a whole of government and a whole of person. right? it's looking at how do we look at people to help them get the recovery, stay clean, not start in the first place, help them get into treatment centers, help them get a job afterwards. there's a lot of whole of person. but there's the whole of government. you're looking at around that table today, you've got families and parents. and individuals who have been personally affected in one way, shape, or form. you've got governor christie who has dealt with it at a state level. pam bondi looked at it from a state level. dea from the perspective of law enforcement and you've got secretary devos looking at it
from education and prevention. it is a big, big issue plaguing our country, plaguing our communities and families. i wish i could say this is how we're going to solve the problem but the first step is understanding the problem, the magnitude of it and looking at how we approach it holistically. >> reporter: the timeline for them coming back with findings, and then the president when he was campaigning seemed to endorse the s.t.o.p. act which would prevent fentanyl from being -- help to prevent it from being imported from countries like china. would he use his presidential bully pulpit to sort of push for that legislation now which has not gotten off the ground yet over in the congress? >> not the specific piece of legislation but there was a lot of discussion about fentanyl and the rise of it today. i think the attorney general brought that up and was talking about the escalation of that from the 1980s to now. there is a look at it. again as i mentioned, you've got
the attorney general there, law enforcement and education. part of this to look at this and figure out what are the ways we can address it from coming into the country and the dea administrator was talking about it, especially the flow from the southern border. you look at it from a law enforcement issue and treatment and prevention issue. i wish i could give you a really easy answer and say here's the silver bullet that's going to stop this, but we recognize the growth of this problem and then epidemic. how do we solve it going forward. john? >> reporter: thank you, sean. yesterday, prime minister teresa may signed the letter that began the process for brexit. a week ago, on friday, jean-claude juncker who is the president of the european commission used some unusually strong language about the president saying that his comments encouraging other breckitys could lead to war among the balkan countries. and he also said in the end, and he's quoted on page 1 of the
financial times" that the president does not note a lot about europe. what is the president's response to that? >> to brexit in particular? >> to the comments by president juncker of the european division. >> i think the president is very well steeped in world affairs especially europe, nato. he's a leader in the effort to call brexit, as you know. and obviously, with respect to that, we respect the will of the british electorate and her majesty's government in taking steps of departing the european union, whatever future the uk, eu relationship looks like, we want the uk to remain a strong leader in europe for both the eu and europe to remain strong leads globally. i think both on the eu and on that -- veronica. >> thank you. i have two questions or topics. what's the white house reaction to the shooting today at the capitol? >> well, it sounds like a very troubled individual. obviously, i'll let law enforcement read that out.
but i don't want too to get ahead. from what i understand and seen, it's sounds like a very troubling instance. again, i don't want to get ahead of this. it looks like law enforcement, i appreciate the efforts that the capitol police and others took. you literally watch people put their lives in harm's way today to protect tourists and other citizens. i want to commend the work of the capitol police and the work of law enforcement to continue to protect us at this time when washington is in its glory with the cherry blossoms out and so many people are coming here to visit. the tidal basin and their house of representatives and the senate and walk around washington, d.c. it's reassuring to know so many brave men and women are willing to put their live obtz line to make sure that the city stays safe. >> last weekend the president spent the weekend here, not at mar-a-lago. i'm wondering, was that in any way in response to some of the pushback he's received about the
costs associated with those trips? and part two of that, does he plan to be here again this weekend? >> so no. yes. the president wanted to be here last weekend. he wants to be here this weekend. he'll be here. i will have updates on where he'll be going forward. >> does he show any concern about that pushback? >> no, he feels great. hunter. >> thank you, sean. president trump is reportedly expected to sign legislation that would allow internet service providers to monitor internet activity and sell that information without users' permission. will he be signing that legislation and why does he think it's good for america? i'm wondering who this benefits apart from isps and their executives. >> the house and senate just passed that. when they enroll it, then we'll have further updates on that. i know that i believe we have a statement of administration policy on that bill out. and we have further updates on a signing ceremony. i will let you know. >> doesn't this erosion of protects make risks for people
to use that information for nefarious purposes, also hostile nations looking at what congress men are browsing for online? is that concerning to the white house? >> as i mentioned, we have a statement of administration policy on that bill. we'll have further updates. when we sign it, i'm sure we'll have details on why. zeke? >> two questions on two topics four members of centcom were up on the hill earlier today and testified that the u.s. government believes that russia has been supplying materially the intel data. i was wondering if the white house has any response to that testimony. does it believe that's a constructive --> who was testifying? >> the commander of centcom. does that take constructive effort on the part of the russian government in that region? >> there are several entities looking into this. i'm not going to -- i will say that d.o.d.'s response speaks for itself. we understand the intelligence on this, the president's been briefed on it. i'm not sure what specifically you're -- >> on the part of the russian
government right now. >> i think the centcom commander's testimony speaks for itself. >> second topic for you, about a month from now, the government will run out of money according to cr administrator. the president talked a lot about the in the campaign. his budget request funding for a border wall, a south border with mexico. is that a deal breaker for the president in any sort of government funding measure in the next month or so? >> on april 29th, the cr expires. the continuing resolution. we are going to work with congress on that, on the fy-17 budget that needs to go forward. i know director mull veiny has talked about that. i'm not going to get into the specific details. if you saw the budget they put out, i think it's $1.6 billion or $1.7 billion he initially put in the fy-17 for the beginning of that wall and there's 2.5 -- >> [ inaudible question ] >> that is our request. we will continue to work with
congress on how to move forward with the rest of fiscal year '17's budget. blake? > sean, health care. the president here last night speaking to senators that quoting here, "i know they're all going to make a deal on health care. that is such an easy one. i have no doubt that it's going to happen very quickly." what is the renewed sense of optimism and what exactly is very quickly? . >> i think there's a little bit of sound that needs to go with that. he was having a little bit of fun with previous comments made with respect to how easy it would be to get health care. so but there is a renewed sense because i think you know, the comments and the calls that the president has gotten as well as the vice president and other members of the senior team that he have come in and said we believe that there is a path forward. we have ideas to talk to you about that. i've seen some of the reports put out regarding some of the individual members of the senate and the house that have been up here meeting with our team. i think there are a lot of people who have some ideas how to move forward.
and we're entertaining those. but i think the interesting thing is that despite the setback that we got last friday, i think there is a renewed willingness from a lot of members who made commitments to the american people and to their voters that they want to see this done, and they understand that not getting this done means, as i said, and the president echoed when he went up to the house republican conference that there's going to be a consequence for this. people need to be taken at their word. a lot of members made a commitment to their voters and constituents that they were going to get something done on this, and address the health care situation, and that hasn't gotten done. that's a concern for them. >> let me ask you real quickly, you say that you embrace the house intelligence committee review of all of this. john mccain said earlier today because of the potential schism within that committee, there should be a select committee that goes from this. would you embrace that if that
happens, and what would be your response? >> i'm not going to get into house and senate matters. as i mentioned at the outset to april, i believe that people, how they conduct themselves internally is up to them. that's obviously not for us to decide. the question that i still think is outstanding is that what has happened is a review was called for part of it was already on going from what i understand especially on the house side. the chairman of that committee has gone and sought individuals who believe that information to further the review. i'm really not sure how it's anything other than what you're supposed to do. i think that is consistent what he has talked about. dave? >> reporter: two questions. you mentioned senator udall opposing the gorsuch nomination. he was here at that party last night. did the president try to work with the room with him and other democrats will the nomination last night? >> i know he and the first lady and others spoke to a variety of senators. i wasn't keeping tabs on everybody that he spoke to. but i do know that had he an
opportunity to speak to a lot of different senators. and he's talked to a lot on the phone. i don't know been senator udall himself. >> and secondly, two-thirds of the democratic senators did not attend the party last night. did that disappoint the president? >> i think we're excited to see the one-third that did. senator schumer was there, senator durbin. there were a lot of folks. i think that you know, i'm sure the president will continue to do things like this. it was an amazing opportunity to have a moment sort of free of politics and to enjoy some collegial moments with each other in the white house. and listen to some, united states marine corps bands played some amazing music and bring people together. i think the president's talked about this. he's mentioned this a bunch of times. there used to be a time when you could sit down and share a meal together. i think that's what he's been trying to do is bring groups back in and at least just have a conversation and get to that human side a little bit.
and so tonight, yesterday was a good start. i think. jonathan. >> reporter: the president's got in his inbox a letter from senate democrats. and they say the democrats say they are ready and willing to work with the president on improving obamacare. they have a couple of conditions. first the president has to abandon his effort to completely repeal the law and rescind the executive order. this letter is signed by the vast majority of democrats in the u.s. senate. what does the president say? >> i think as the president has noted we're willing to engage with people. i think they understand his principles. we need to repeal the law and replace it with something better. >> they're saying they want you to take full repeal off the table. >> i've seen parts of the letter. i think what we need to do is figure out who wants to engage in a constructive conversation. i understand what they want. but again, it's not just a one-way street. i think the president made very clear what he wants to do.
to the extent some of them want to have a conversation, we have a 52-seat majority in the senate. if there's individuals that want to have a constructive conversation achieving the goals, we can do it. i think they also need to understand the president's red lines. >> but they say as a first step, they want to repeal an executive order. is that something he's willing to do? >> he's committed to making sure he's continuing to go down the path he's gone down. there are ways if they want to join him, that they can. i think there are some areas that they may want to engage with him on that we've seen so far. i understand they have a right to put out a letter and draw their lines in the sand. the president is committed to going down the path he is and obviously, first step is to get to 216 in the house. and then address the concerns in the senate. he's continued to have conversations with the senate. and i think that as obamacare continues to struggle which it is, the premiums continue to go up and up, i think the question is, will those 40 people understand that they are the ones who are going to be responsible for owning the current policies that are making
so many americans struggle. >> just to clarify, was he joking when he said that making a deal on health care would be an easy one? >> i think if you watch the tape, it was a light-hearted moment, jonathan. he was having a little fun. >> he doesn't think it's easy. >> no, watch. he was having a fun time with the senators there. jim? >> reporter: the other thing that the president said last night was our soldiers are fighting like never before in iraq. as you know, sean, u.s. troops there are in a support role and an advise and assist role. what does he mean when he says they're fighting like never before? does it take into consideration what happened during the bush administration and the obama administration going house to house. >> no, i think that there's been some progress, particularly in mosul, the way that they have taken back that city. i think for a long time, there was a lot of concern about iran moving in and dominating parts of iraq and i think with the advise and consent of u.s.
military advisers, there's been tremendous progress in moving iraq forward to an area of civility and continuing to see the troops there in iraq stand on their own. i think that he is very pleased with the action that general mattis and our soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines are taking to do that. >> reporter: a follow-up. if you couple that comment with the comment on health care, it being an easy one to get that done, it sounds like you probably have heard this and come across this notion he's detached from reality in making those comments. >> first of all, i think that -- i again would respectfully ask you to review the tape. he was having a light-hearted moment. it's on tape. everybody watched it. he was poking fun and making a joke. there's been comments before how he didn't get it and he was joking about how easy it was. it was a light-hearted moment. it was on tape. i think everybody -- and the idea there is this like trying
to make it look like he's being utterly serious at the time is a little bit of a stretch. >> one quick thing on chairman nunes. >> but just so we're clear, he was very proud of the work that our soldiers and sailors are doing over there in iraq. there is a lot of the work and a lot of progress being made and the updates he's getting from general mattis on a daily basis -- >> he doesn't think they're in combat? >> the no, the progress that's being made in iraq and the fight against isis is going extremely well. he's proud of it. >> do you personally know who the source of chairman nunes' information is? >> no. jeff mason. >> reporter: two topics. first on health care. does the president want to start a new health care bill or tweak the one that did not go last week? >> we're starting with where we are and trying to move that forward. that is the current vessel. >> and on a separate topic, the president did not mention the paris agreement yesterday when he went to the epa.
can you update us on his current thinking about that? does he want the united states to stay in and if he does, how does he expect the united states to meet its commitments without the kleen power plant. >> the paris ingredient is still under discussion within the administration. >> when you'll know? >> i can try to look into that. i don't have one at this time. >> thank you, sean. early voting has begun in the georgia sixth congressional district to fill the seat of secretary price. some democrats are using this as a referendum on the early days of the president. does president trump plan to be involved in that race. >> i've not even thought about it. i think if needed, the president has always been clear that he wants to support the team and help the team. honestly, i have not tried to really focus on -- i've tried to shed that previous life a little. i've not looked into georgia's -- to the race in georgia. i'm sure i'd best refer to you
-- you to the nrc on the state of that race. thank you very much. i'll see you tomorrow, thursday. take care. i do owe you one tomorrow. i'm sorry.. sunday night on q & a. >> britain was the dominant power in the middle east. it was everywhere in decline and nationalists were rising up. so the big strategic question that the u.s. faced was should it support britain against the rising nationalists or try to create a new order by mediating between the nationalists and the british. >> hudson institute senior fellow michael duran on his book "ike's gamble, america's rise to dominance in the middle east." about the suez crisis and its aftermath. >> eisenhower, what he's trying to present is the soviet union coming in aligning with the
nationalists undermining with the british and taking control of the oil in the middle east. we cared about the oil because it was 100% of european oil came from the middle east. so we wanted to make sure we had friendly arab regimes that would not align with the united states at least keep the soviet union out. that's the goal. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on q & a. >> earlier today, british prime minister teresa may signed a document officially beginning the uk's exit from the european union. she delivered the letter by hand to the group's priz, donald tusk. we got an update this afternoon. >> mark phillips is senior foreign correspondent for cbs news joining from us london. thank you for being with us. >> pleasure. >> so explain what today's action will trigger, by the british prime minister? >> well, formally, this is