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Sean Spicer
  CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  March 10, 2017 11:01am-11:32am PST

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>> it is president obama who deserves the credit for the february jobs numbers, a statement that was brought out -- >> i'm sure they did. >> how much do you feel president trump should be recognized. >> look, numbers are going to go up and down, there's no question when you look at the ceos that hire people and the krrk eos th -- ceos, you can look back over the last several administrations i don't believe i've seen the number of ceos and businesses come out and talk about the expansion of investments or hiring based on the vision and agenda of a administration the way they have in this one, so it's not just a question of what we believe. i think if you look at the auto makers the other manufacturers and frankly some of the service industries that have come out
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and talked about the investment that they're going to make or the continuation of a project they had going or the movement of one of a manufacturing plant or job investment those speak for themselves it's not a question of what we believe, i think it's a question of the commitment that u.s. manufacturers and job craters are make because they want to buy into the president's agenda and envision for creating a more tax and regulatory business friendly environment to grow here and i think those speak for themselves. >> do you believe though that the polices already have had an impact. >> absolutely. look at the confidence indexes, they're all going to the top. the stock market has generated over $3 billion of additional wealth since he was elected. there are several several economic indicators that show his vision an agenda, that's no
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secret, when you talk to economists and business leaders, they have confidence in the president's agenda that will yield for a more favorable business compliant to hire more americans, based in america, to make us more competitive around the globe so i do believe that, if you look at what outside economists and business leaders do you can see that. >> reports of jobs report phony or fiction, does the president believe this was fair and accurate? >> i talked to the president and said to quote him they may have been phony in the past but it's very real now. >> could you clear up what seems to be tension what you said yesterday when the administration or the president was made aware of general flynn's foreign lobbying ties and today the transition team
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was informed of -- >> there's a big difference when he filed, two days ago and what happened then. what the a.p. is reporting, just so we're clear is that a personal lawyer of general flynn's contacted a transitional lawyer and asked for guidance on what he should or should not do the lawyer instructed that wasn't the role of the transition and up to the personal lawyer to work with the appropriate lawyers or subject matter experts to determine what was appropriate and not appropriate in terms of filing, but this was a personal matter, a business matter not something appropriate for a government entity when they should file for an individual citizen. that was in guidance of what should be done and shouldn't be a shock to anybody if you're asked a government lawyer what you should do in your private capacity as a citizen they're going to tell you you should consult experts in that area to
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determine what you should or should not do. >> if the transition was aware of that advice why wasn't the president made aware that that recommendation -- >> there are tons of individuals that consult with the lawyers and with ethics experts an say i own this stock, will i have to sell it? i own a business, this house, and for the most part they're given guidance to go seek professional help, a entity, asking for tax advice if you call the irs and say i want to know what i should do with that they will tell you to consult a tax attorney. that's not the job of the government what you should or should not do as a private citizen, so it's a vastly different scenario regardless of what department you call in government. you call the department of education and ask them and education standards they'll
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probably refer you to a local entity or to a teacher if you're asking about your own child. they're very clear about the line between private action and government action. >> does the president agree with house conservatives that the sunset dater t for the medicaid expansion should be moved up to next year? >> i think the bill pfr tbefore house, the reconciliation piece is a three-prong process, number one it's the first time you're going to have a full addressing of an entitlement like this in decades. it is actually a very, very good thing for conservatives when you look at how we're going to address medicaid and entitlement that many conservatives have fought for years need to be addressed, but that being said the president has also been very clear through all the discussions and commentsed throughout the week as he meets
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with members of congress angd outside groups that if somebody has an idea that can make this legislation more accessible more choice to the american people drive down costs he wants to listen to it, but i think right now that's where the bill stand. we're going to continue to l listen and work with members of the house and the senate. i don't want to prejudge the bill itself, but it was crafted in the way of the president's thinking and a very smart way of addressing entitlements and going forward. >> the president is willing to negotiate on the sunset of the expansion -- >> right now the date that's in the bill is what the president supports. he's willing to listen to individuals on dimpfferent aspes of the bill that might achieve the goals he set out but it's not a question of negotiation. we have a date in the bill an that's the date in the bill, but i think as the bill continues to
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work its way through the house, that goes for speaker ryan, he's got members approaching him with ideas senator mcconnell is probably dealing with the same issue, and i made it very clear from the get go, this is going to where we take the best ideas listen to individuals an try to achieve the goal that is the president has laid out and the principals he's laid out. >> piggy backing off john and john, at a breakfast this morning when he referenced nancy pelosi said it couldn't possibly be true against the former president because that's not how our system works, she also said obama would not do that and would be a waste of time to investigate that allegation, does the white house have any information to refute house minority leader, nancy pelosi's
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claim an why the president hasn't asked the fbi chief about this. >> i think we spoke very directly the about this. they have the appropriate forum and process and staff to report and look into this matter and report back. >> sean, can you see that the president was informed at all about this arrangement. >> no, no. >> -- to a foreign agent. >> just so we're clear, you wouldn't -- general flynn filed with the department of justice two days ago. how would anyone know -- that's sort of like asking -- >> what about the need to file. >> that's up to his personal lawyer. again, each person that goes through the process in government seeks counsel in the activities they own and conducted as to what they have to do and not do, but this is like asking someone needed a
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file whether they had a kleclie they have to file a lobbying form, that's up to their counsel whether they engaged in activities in the past or whatever it is, if a doctor needed to go and up their certification, that's not up for the government to determine, there are certain private activities that you conduct and seek counsel on, that's not up to the government and exactly how the system worked. >> how did that not raise a red flag -- >> you already got your question answered, john, john. >> you have an attorney calling the transition saying that -- >> no, no. >> the person in line to be the national security adviser may need to register as a foreign agent an that doesn't raise a red flag? >> it's the question of whether they gave them advice they were supposed to, it's not up to them what you need to do or not do, there are certain activities that fall under each of these
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requirements, the flush hothres is not appropriate nor legal for the government to go into private sincitizens, seeking ade and that would be like a tax return and saying that's not a deduction you should take, that's why they tell you you should seek counsel, professional advice or expertise, that's not up for them to determine, plain an simple. >> moving beyond the legal question. just to follow-up with john. moving beyond the legal question here, this is an issue of judgment about who you guys wanted in your administration, if there were published reports that your potential national security adviser had dealsings with the government of turkey, congressman cummings sen a letter to mike pence during the transition informing him of this and raising a red flag, mr.
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pence was on television i believe yesterday saying twice he had no knowledge of that letter. >> that's right. before you accuse the vice president of certain things, what he said is he was not aware of the filing, and he wasn't. >> in terms of the larger question, forgot about filling out forms and legalism, what does this say about the transition team's judgment about still appointing him as national security adviser when you had knowledge of this information? >> you're asking me forget about the legalisms. that's what we ask people to do is follow the law. you can't forget about the legalism. that's what we did. they consulted a lawyer, which everyone who had something is advised to do. that lawyer consulted the transition lawyer who said it is your job to consult the appropriate lawyers -- >> beyond the legal issues i'm saying moving beyond the issue
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of the papers here, talking about the judgment of the president, the vice president and your team made to select this man as a national security adviser when you had information he had these dealings with turkey. >> what dealings are you referring to, the fact that he had a client, also head of the defense intelligence agency, unbelievably qualified impeccable credentials, what is exactly are you getting at? because so far he had impeccable credentials, stellar career in the military and widely respected and for you to impugn -- >> he wouldn't have -- >> but again there was no disclosure at the time and the question is if his counsel determined that he didn't, that's up to him, but it was up to him the burden is on the individual to seek the legal advice or professional ex-per tee to decide what to file or
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not. we could have a argument and somebody who made something on their tax returns, at the owned-townedend of the day, they are advised to seek expertise and legal council what's appropriate or not. that's not up to the transition attorney to go through someone's livelihood, they were given the proper advice at the time, to seek expertise, he had already obtained counsel. >> the transition officials were not overly concerned by his relationship -- >> it's not a question of overly concerned, glen, did they provide him the avenue they were supposed to, did they tell him to seek counsel and he did. plain and simple. >> the question would be very simply right now does this raise concerns there may be other members of this administration or served in the transition that were or are currently lobbying on behalf of foreign gompts
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governments that may be advising the president of the united states. >> we trust people to fill out the appropriate forms and the president -- >> he may have been taking action though. >> you're asking me, look -- this is like saying can you tell me that the executives at nbc has gone through every single person's backgrounds, we trust them that they're filling out the forms in the legal manner, we advised to do the proper and legal thing, we did the right thing then and we expect every employee to follow the law, this president when it comes to ethics, he has ran on a commitment to drain the swamp, very committed to making sure that we institute high standards
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here around held to them. at the end of the day when he found out that general flynn betrayed the trust of the vice president back in day, he let him go. the president has high standards for everyone that works in the administration, so the answer to your question if somebody does something not kept in standards of the president and the administration they will be let go. i believe that everybody has done what is legally required of them. but i can't tell you that ever single person has done everything. i can tell you the president has made clear to every person in this administration you are expected to live up to the high standards that he's set for them an if you don't, you will be dismissed. >> as for the removal of the south korea's president what is the reaction to have white house and we know there will be a presidential election in south korea and know several leading
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candidates, they prefer less confrontation with -- and also oppose the deployment of -- so does the white house look into the impact of the election? >> i believe they would have to have an election within 60 days there's an acting president who we have strong relationships with and we will continue to work with south korea, they're both a ally and friend in region, this is an issue we continue to keep up with on the developments there, it's a domestic issue which the united states takes no position, it's up to the south korean people to determine the future of their c c country, we continue to be a steadfast ally and partner to south korea.
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>> the president tweeting within an hour -- a violation of the federal rules i'm wondering if there's counseling in you and the president's future but also you say generally to critics the risk of doing this is criticizing non-partisan by the books. >> i understand that rule was instituted to deal with mark fluctuations, i think tweeting out a great way to start a friday, here are the actual numbers that you all have reported is a bit -- don't make me make the podium move. i mean honest to god every reporter here reported out that we had 235,000 jobs 4.7. there isn't a tv station that didn't go live to it so to tweet out great way to start a friday,
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i don't think that's a mark disruption, i think there's a lot of excitement in this country when we look at the policies that the president has instituted to help put more americans back to work, so i understand the rule, but let's -- >> the obama white house for instance went out of their way not to comment in that hour long period, rearranged the president's schedule. >> i get it. it's not about commenting, it's one thing to give analysis, literally tweeting out great news, i think yes, we're excited when the president and the rest of the team saw the news this morning as reported on every television station, twitter, internet and every major news site around the country and world we're excited to see so many americans back to work, so i apologize for being so excited
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to see so many americans back to work. >> the vice president in november did lay out general flynn was being paid to lobby for turkish interest during the campaign, why did that not raise a flag. >> it's not a question of raising a flag, we keep forgetting something, his attorney went to a transition tth who was told you need to seek kouns se counsel on this, it's not for us to adjudicate whether somebody needs to file under the lobbying registration act, it's not the job of the transition attorney, it's to tell them to seek additional counsel, not to tell them what to do or not to do. >> the vice president specific sli sayi ly saying when this was brought to the vice president's attention didn't he raise questions, bring it to the president and look into it further? >> it's fairly simple to say why
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didn't this occur, did they seek the appropriate advice an counsel and that's the answer. >> i have a health care question for you. >> oh, good. >> aren't you relieved. >> makes me feel better. >> is the president willing to sign legislation flexible about the refundable tax credit portion of the house bill, would he be willing to sign legislation that avoided that because conservatives are concerned that's an additional entitlement? >> i think more and more the president talks to members of congress and outside groups number one i think they're excited to understand the totality of this and addresses this in the weekly address and you can find it that continues to explain, the comp h comprehensive piece, the additional legislation, buying health care across state lines
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allowing small businesses to pool, allowing health savings accounts to expands. the fda going after medical malpractice. people have to remember if you get your health care through your employer which the majority of americans do you are not taxed your employer is not taxed. it is fairly inadequate and unbalanced for small business owners, ranchers and farmers sole proprietors to have to face a disproportionate tax burden because they're not a big employer, i think this is something that conservatives should be embracing an i think the more they understand the comprehensive nature of this they are beginning to support more -- >> the refundable tax credit provisions? >> oh, yeah, absolutely.
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>>. [ inaudible question ] asking about why irs commissioner is still in his job. would you have any response to that? >> i don't. i would refer you to the department of treasury on that. >> the president tweeted for the past eight years during the obama presidency russia quote ran over the united states and in particular picked off crimea and added missiles which the president described in his tweet as weak. given that he seems to be focused on crimea, at least as far as his tweet is concerned will the president use the authority and funding granted him to send lethal defensive weapons to you caukraine, was i party platforms though the republican language was watered down and if he's not going to i asked you this several weeks ago if president doesn't want to do
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it, is that because he would rather focus his efforts with russia on partnering to try to defeat isis? >> i think ambassador haley, at the u.n., any annexations to crimea are not -- until that has been resolved. the president has made it very clear that miss philosophy is not one that i'm going to tell you what i'm going to do, he colds his cards close to his vest. >> -- to deal with sanctions. >> i'm not going to get into the president's negotiation strategy. as he continues to engage with the president of russia around secretary tillerson -- brian, it's your birthday. you got a question. >> going back to, my staff we've got about several dozen e-mails on, we talked to congressmen this morning saying if you're
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going to repeal and replace obamacare why not give everybody what congress and senators get? can you address that? >> i think part of what we're trying to do, somebody asked the other day about federal benefits right now a third of our counties have a third of a providers, the president understands that, that's not choice and frankly why he's pushing -- why we're doing this is that so many americans have no choice and he wants there to be greater choice and lower cost. by doing the stuff we're doing especially the third prong of this allowing competition over state lines taking the government mandates what they have to include that's really going to institute more choice. prior to obamacare you could go from a variety of different options and taylor what you and your family needed based on the conditions you saw or the deductible you wanted and choice dried up with obamacare that's
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the point though is that if you want more of that kind of a system then this is the bill and legislation and the comprehensive approach that you should be supporting. >> but specifically the perception that somehow congress senators and congressmen get better care than the rest of us, can you address that. >> yes. i think that's why we're trying to pass it the way we are. we want more choice, we want more competition, lower cost, the american people deserve a better health care system and that's what the president is pushing for. margaret. >> did the white house sign off on secretary tillerson not to take the press with him on woo should be a important trip to asia and north korean threat, what are the marching orders, what discipline has he given for secretary of state? >> i know that the trip was one of the topics of discussion, i
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will try to follow-up with that. with respect to the first part of the question the press is being invited they're traveling commercially, there's a press logistics to make sure they can get everywhere. >> can't possibly go to all three of those cities an commercially cover them. >> they have made accommodations for members to have press to cover everything. >> something you advised -- >> no, we don't get involved in every logistic, they have made aware of the concerns of some of your colleagues and making accommodations in the future respect to the size of the plane, but make no mistake, there's a logistics component to make sure that the press is welcome at every stop an there's lo gist call support.
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>> would you like for this administration to be covered going forward -- >> i hope it will be covered fully. >> that reporters should be allowed to be on the plane with the secretary as they have for many years. >> there's a big difference making sure we carve out x number of seats and having transparency and openness, they have logistical support, to make sure you have hotels and travel, this about blocking everybody, not every plane can accommodate every member of the press. >> can't they get a bigger plane? >> there's an element of cost sai savings that the secretary is trying to achieve. but at the end to have day there's been a component to every stop, he's doing everything he can to support the press and who wants to come an cover him and will be open to make sure the secretary is
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available throughout the trip. >> president trump was very critical of chancellor merkel on the campaign trail. how does the white house think that will affect the tone of the meeting tuesday. >> i know that we did a bit of a readout earlier on that, there's a lot of excitement on both sides of the ocean for this trip. i know that we are looking forward to meeting with the chancellor an her team and talked to her folks over there and they're very excited about coming over. there's a lot of trade an economic interest on both sides and obviously there's an element of national security that we share. and so i will let the trip -- look forward to the readout but there's a lot of excitement coming and i think the president looks forward to meeting with the chancellor and discussing areas of national shared interest. >> i gather from today and yesterday, correct me if i'm wrong, i want to make sure i
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understand the answer to this question, are you saying the president was not aware that lieutenant general michael flynn was akking as a foreign agent when he appointed him to be national security adviser? >> correct. you wouldn't know that he didn't file until two days ago therefore nobody would have known that. >> they can file a lobbying disclosure with congress in november. >> that's different than filing with the d.o.j. >> it's one question friday. >> the other question is did flynn disclose he was acting as a foreign agent in the security clearance review before he became nsa? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> kwhwhen a former president spillover and the new president stands on his own merit when does that happen?
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>> i think on january 20th you begin to assume, what are you specifically asking for? >> numbers from jobs. >> the first full month that encapsulates the president's administration, i think that's a very telling number. i get it these numbers are going to go up and down but for the first full month we're seeing the enthusiasm and spirit that so many business leaders have been drawn to and it's exciting as the first month but this encapsulates a full 30 days of the trump presidency. and so we're going to continue to work forward with policies that will lower taxes create a entrepreneurial business climate to allow the expansion of u.s. companies and grow u.s. jobs. >> other the last couple weeks we have heard all the negative, not all about the affordable care act an how you're looking to make it patient care.
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>> right. >> with that, are there any positives that you can articulate from aca that will care into -- >> i think children being able to stay on their parents plans. >> but that's subject to -- >> you're asking about elements, an again, remember, there was stuff part of the aca that is stuff that republicans supported for a while as well, this is making sure the most effective an comprehensive health care policy that achieve it is president's goals. i don't know, i'm sure i can go through the bill an get back. it's very long, 974 pages. >>. [ inaudible ] >> i can