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Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  White House Briefing  CSPAN  April 13, 2018 3:00pm-3:23pm EDT

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accountable before the international criminal court. that should be part of this. host: do you think we can engage with putin and russia in playing a key role with russia? ms. lee: we vetoed the resolution a couple of days, but we have to circle the wagons and go around russia. sarah: good afternoon. today i had the opportunity to visit the national safety council's opioid memorial on the ellipse. it's a moving experience. president trump and the first lady encourage you all to visit the memorial before it leaves washington, d.c. on april 18. today at the summit of americas ivanka trump, acting secretary of state announced two-time america,
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latin america women's initiative -- say that fast -- which will visit in he projects that empower women in latin america. this new initiative will break down barriers that limits women in the economy and reaffirms the trump administration's commitment to empowering women in latin america and around the globe. as you all saw yesterday's confirmation hearing for secretary of state designee mike pompeo went well. for his time in the army, successful tenure as c.i.a. director, he has excelled as one of the key leaders in national security and foreign policy. as a result of mike pompeo's leadership, america has been safer, more secure, and more prosperous. there's absolutely no reason that secretary designee pompeo's confirmation process should be -- should not be done in a speedy and bipartisan manner. even the washington post editorial board, hardly a cheerleader for this
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administration, published an the ial yesterday with straightforward headline. i'll take your questions. reporter: calling james comey a liar, leaker, slime ball, is he worried what he's saying? sarah: not at all. the american people see through the blatant lies of a self-admitted leaker. this is nothing more than a sentence by peddling a book that belongs in the bargain bin of the fiction section instead of being remembered as a dedicated servant in the pursuit of justice. like so many of his other colleagues at the f.b.i., comey will be forever known as a disgraced bipartisan hack that broke his sacred trust of the president of the united states,
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the dedicated agents of the f.b.i. and the american people he vowed to faithfully serve. one of the president's greatest achievements will go down by firing james comey. reporter: is the president going to fire rod rosenstein? information. no reporter: a pardon to scooter libby, former vice president's chief of staff. there are many people that believe that scooter libby was part of an investigation run amuck. the recent statements we heard from the white house would seem to indicate you feel much the same thing about the mueller investigation. was the president sending some sort of signal to the mueller investigation or about the mueller investigation by pardoning scooter libby? sarah: not at all. every case should be reviewed on their own merits. pardoning libby was the right thing to do after the principal witness recanted her testimony. the d.c. court of appeals panel
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unanimously voted to restore mr. libby's bar membership after being presented credible evidence in support of his version of events and appears that key prosecution witness, judith miller, recanted her recollection. reporter: the president acknowledges that he doesn't know scooter libby. what convinced him that he deserved a pardon? sarah: the president thought it was the right thing to do. justin. reporter: the president said he expected a decision -- sarah: can you speak up? sarah: the president expects a decision on 24 hours. he said a decision would come that night. here we are on friday and a statement last night you said no final decision had been reached. i'm wondering if you could walk through why the president has a timeline there and specifically does it anything to do with the syrian troop movement we saw
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after wednesday? sarah: no. we're continuing to have ongoing conversations with our partners and allies. he spoke with the president of france earlier today. we're continuing to have ongoing meetings and conversations here at the white house. when we have further developments we'll let you know. reporter: friday. arah: friday the 13th. [laughter] sarah: you guys are groaning like it's a bad thing. reporter: what the justice department will do and what the white house will do in terms of supporting legislation on legalizing marijuana? sarah: the president spoke with senator gardner yesterday and today. we're always consulting issues including states' rights which the president is a firm believer and the statement the senator put out today is accurate. reporter: how big a coalition does he have for this action in
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syria? sarah: again, i can't talk anything about what may or may not happen but i can tell you the president and a number of individuals within his administration have spoken to a number of our partners and allies at various levels across the world. reporter: is he satisfied now that syria was responsible for the chemical weapon attack? sarah: yes, we're again confident that both syria had responsibility in this chemical weapons attack but we also hold russia responsible for their failure to stop chemical weapons attacks from taking place. josh. reporter: there was a report today that michael cohen helped negotiate a $1.6 million settlement to "playboy" playmate and michael cohen is under criminal investigation in new york. is the president still associated with michael cohen? does he consider michael cohen someone he holds in confidence?
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sarah: i know he worked with him as a personal attorney. nothing beyond that. reporter: does the president want to say anything about it? sarah: the president has a deep concern at the turn the special counsel has taken. it started out with russia collusion which was none. reporter: what about michael cohen's actions? does the president have concern? sarah: i refer you to michael cohen's personal attorney. i can't go beyond that. jill. reporter: follow-up. is cohen still the president's personal attorney? sarah: i am not sure. reporter: paul ryan just endorsed kevin mcquarty as speaker in an inter-- mccarthy as speaker in an interview on "meet the press." does the president think he should be the next speaker? sarah: the president has a great relationship with mccarthy. as far as an announcement i don't have announcements. reporter: the james comey book,
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there are excerpts that came out today. he talks about the right of the president in very personal terms. were you surprised by that? sarah: i don't think we're surprised by the fact james comey continues to spread false information. the guy's known to be a liar and a leaker and so there's not a lot about james comey we would find to be surprising. reporter: really quickly on the pardon that came out today for scooter libby, the president so far is -- office issued three presidential pardons. one of those was to joe. is there commonality what the president looks for when he pardons individuals? sarah: again, every case should be reviewed on their own merits and that's what the president has done in each of those. reporter: i'm wondering if the administration has reacted with any message to moscow after officials there today said that the chemical attack in douma was fake and staged with
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britain's direct involvement. sarah: certainly our intelligence tells us otherwise. i can't go beyond that. again, we have a very high confidence that syria was responsible and once again russia's failure to stop them and their continued disaction on this front has been part of the problem. april. reporter: sarah -- [inaudible] bringing russia into the syria equation now calls for delay in the strikes on iran? sarah: again, we are continuing to have ongoing conversations with partners and allies, assess the information and once a decision is made we'll let you know. dave. reporter: thanks, sarah. the justice department inspector general came out with his long awaited report this afternoon on former f.b.i. deputy director andrew mccabe saying he improperly leaked information about the clinton foundation to a reporter and lied to james comey under oath
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to two f.b.i. investigators. do you have a reaction to that? and does that in your mind validate the decision to fire mccabe? sarah: i haven't seen the full report but sounds like two peas in a pod with mccabe and comey. mccabe was fired for misconduct and lying about it. beyond that i don't have anything. francesca. reporter: you said james comey was a liar. that he's a leaker. that he made false representations or claims. other than what the president tweeted this morning about lying under oath to senator grassley, what exactly has he said that's false or a lie? sarah: reopening the clinton investigation the. when he did was based on merit. now he said it's based because of poll numbers. he claimed the president said to stop investigating flynn after he said no one stopped investigations. he also -- even the media has reported that officials have determined that comey leaked four memos, at least four we know about with classified
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information. i think it's very clear that comey has a credibility problem. the other thing is clear. this is one of the few issues in washington that both democrats and republicans agree on. he's been criticized by the legal community for leaking sensitive information and organizations promoting good government found comey's leaking grounds for firing. multiple democrats, including some of the biggest leaders in the democrat party, have also attacked comey. minority leader pelosi said comey was maybe not in the right job. senator schumer said he was appalled by what comey did and did not have confidence in him any longer. senator bernie sanders said comey acted in an outrageous way. inton's runningmate, senator kaine, said he's part of the lowest moment in the f.b.i. even maxine waters said comey has no credibility. the f.b.i. should not be led by a political hack. his loyalty is clear it's only to himself. if you can get this group of
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people and people like mark meadows and others to agree on something i think you have to be right. jim. reporter: what about the dossier, though? did he also lie about the dossier and the conversation with president trump about that? sarah: the dossier is false opposition research that was funded by the clinton campaign to attack the president. it was used illegally to justify spying on americans. i think that's quite the problem. jim. reporter: sarah, about content of the president's attacks on jim comey, your attacks on jim comey, isn't all that a bit unbecoming of the presidency of this white house to go after him in such a personal way like that? sarah: i think it's -- reporter: slime ball and liar and leaker? sarah: it's unbecoming for the person that's supposed to be the top law enforcement official in the united states, the person that is supposed to protect the people of this country to lie and leak classified information, certainly to falsify documents. i think that's a very big problem. somebody who created this
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problem for himself. i didn't encourage jim comey to go out and do a p.r. campaign. congress has asked jim comey to come testify multiple times which he denied being able to do. yet he found time to sit down with george stephanopoulos for four hours. i think anybody that created this problem it's jim comey and he should be held responsible. reporter: two questions. second follow-up question. sarah: because it's friday and you would probably get upset. reporter: you've probably seen this tweet. a tweet you posted before the election in 2016 when you're attacking f.b.i. agents because you're under criminal investigation, you're losing. what do you make of that now? sarah: the rank and file f.b.i. are some of the greatest people in this country. we repeated that time and time again, and certainly have the full support of this administration. i think we've been very clear how we feel about some of the
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leadership at the f.b.i., particularly james comey. reporter: when you go after comey -- sarah: i gave you two, jim. reporter: there was a theme in comey's book, president's disdain for the rule of law and continued efforts to undermine federal law enforcement officials. how would you characterize the president's attitude toward the rule of law and things he says publicly about many of his top federal law enforcement officials? sarah: the president has a great deal of respect for the rule of law. but the president does not have a lot of respect for people whose sole job to carry out the law and leak classified information and they lie to the american public about it. charlie. reporter: deputy attorney general, special counsel, judges -- [inaudible] sarah: what? reporter: the whole list of federal law enforcement officials he's undermineded including people -- sarah: the president hasn't undermineded them in any capacity. just because he calls out things that he finds to be problematic or concerning i think that he should do that.
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if members of the f.b.i. are leaking classified information, the president should absolutely call that to question. you guys spend hours upon hours every single day praising jim comey, propping him up, giving him the biggest platform. we shouldn't be praising him. we should be putting him down. we should be taking him off of air instead of giving him minute after minute. this country has real problems. we should be talking about the economy. we should talk about syria. we should talk about the drug crisis. instead we're going to talk about jim comey. you guys will cover it endlessly all day today, all day tomorrow and my guess is every day next week with very little time given to the issues people care about. so the president has every right to call out that individual that you guys are propping up and say there are problems and that we should be concerned about. charlie. reporter: thank you, sarah. this morning james comey admitted that he didn't tell the president about the political -- sarah: sorry. can you speak up? reporter: this morning james comey said he didn't inform the
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president of the political -- dossier. was the president surprised to hear that? did director comey talk him about the political dossier against him? sarah: i'm not sure about that specific conversation but i know that it's been documented many times over now that the dossier is false opposition research funded by the clinton campaign and used to attack the president. reporter: the question, because it's friday -- did the president talk to former vice president cheney about the scooter libby pardon? sarah: i am not aware of any conversations. reporter: thank you, sarah. three republican state senators from missouri wrote the president yesterday saying that the embattled governor should resign from office. serious charges of sexual abuse against him. faces impeachment and refuses to resign. they conclude as a former navy seal you would resign if his
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commander in chief asked him to. did the president receive the letter? what is his response? and will he ask the governor to step down? sarah: i don't have an official response at this time. certainly something that is very concerning and something that we're taking very curiously and i'll keep you updated -- seriously and i'll keep you updated. reporter: thank you, sarah. concerning the summit next week in florida. does the president plan to push for a bilateral free trade agreement? sarah: i won't get ahead of the president's conversations with prime minister abe but trade will be something discussed as well as the ongoing conversations around north korea. reporter: does the president have another meeting today on syria? will the president be having another n.s.c. meeting on syria? sarah: there is another meeting later this afternoon at the deputy level.
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reporter: i want to ask about the pardoning process. it seems like we had the pardons that were high profile. how is the president responding when to take action on a case? [inaudible] the scooter libby case was very old. how are you deciding when to take action on these cases, and can a normal person who feels like they've been unjustly convicted, can they get their case to the white house? i mean, does there is a justice department process, but it seems like the president is taking interest in certain cases. sarah: again, the president has exercised constitutional authority, and he determines when and how he's going to use that when it comes to the pardon process. he looks at each one individually and makes a decision and we make that announcement. nadia. sorry. nadia. reporter: thank you, sarah.
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[inaudible] with respect to syria, do you think this is a futile exercise since you have evidence they have chemical weapons? sarah: once again, we're confidence in the intelligence we have and in the fact we know that syria's responsible for these actions. take one last question. brian. reporter: i'll do two. one on syria and one on the department of justice. on syria, the president publicly said he wants to get out of syria. has this strike changed his mind on that? is he considering other options other than a plan to pull out u.s. forces from syria? if you could answer that. is he considering other options other than a long-term strategy to get u.s. forces out? sarah: i don't have additional changes to policy in syria at this time. in terms of options, all the options are on the table. we'll continue to look at them. reporter: last question about the department of justice.
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what does the president have to say to republican lawmakers who believe firing mueller will be suicide, as grassley has side? firing rosenstein could mean the end of the presidency for donald trump, as lindsey graham said? sarah: i won't get into hypothetical situations. reporter: republican lawmakers not take an action like that? sarah: as with a number of issues, the president talks to a lot of different lawmakers on a number of topics. he'll continue consulting with them not just on this but on some very big issues that our country is facing and that's what his focus is actually on. thanks so much, guys. happy friday. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> sarah sanders answered reporters questions at today's briefing but on other days you'll see deputy white house press secretary at the podium.
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a profile interview. talked about his family and growing up in connecticut as well as his early beginnings in politics. he also talked about the relationship between the media and the white house as well as what it's like working for president trump. you can watch the conversation tonight at 9:30 p.m. eastern ere on c-span. >> this weekend on c-span live saturday at 5:30 p.m. eastern -- "road to the white house 2020" at the new hampshire democratic party dinner with former missouri secretary of state jason kander and sunday white , "road to the house" 2020 continues with steve bullock. on "book tv," saturday at 7:30, a feature of black classic press in baltimore. sunday, the paolucci book award
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for rod dreher. on "american history tv" on c-span3, saturday at 4:55 p.m. eastern, prominent figures in american law, including supreme court justice elena cagan on the late thurgood marshall. and sunday at 4:00 on "reel america," two cbs "nays the nation" programs from 1968 with republican california governor ronald reagan and former alabama governor george wallace. watch this weekend on the c-span networks. >> democratic senator share odd brown of ohio talked about the future of pension plans at the national press club in washington, d.c. he urged bipartisan congressional action as soon as possible. he co-chairs the new joint select committee on solvency of multiemployer pension chance with utah republican senator orrin h