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Sean Spicer
  Wolf  CNN  March 31, 2017 10:40am-11:00am PDT

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was overturned. >> a lot of officials remember now. here's sean spicer. >> good afternoon. first off, i want to catch everyone up who wausn't able to make the briefing last night on the executive orders on the trade -- executive orders the president will be signing. the first directs the department of commerce and the office of the u.s. trade representative to examine every form of trade of use in none reciprocal practice that contributing to the large trade deficit which the largest major nation in 2016 at $500 billion. within 90 days the department of commerce and the u.s. trade representative will submit a comprehensive report to the president on the causes of our unduly large trade deficit. it's the first time in modern history that an american president has called for such an investigation. it's our findings will allow us to make smarter decisions on
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behalf of the american people about our trade policy of our country going forward. that's why the afl/cio, the united steelworkers, and the aerospace workers all came out to applaud the order. the second order addresses the current lack of was inments enf. counter veiling duties. they were put in place to address the problem of other countries dumping undervalued goods into american markets. making it impossible for american businesses to compete with artificially low prices. this is especially a problem in countries whose government s subsidize exports into our country. there's a mechanism for assessing these type of transactions and imposing financial penalties when it's determined that this kind of malicious dumping has occurred. since 2001 the u.s. customs and
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border protection agency has not collected over $2.8 billion in these duties. you think about it, we could do a lot by maximizing this enforcement power for our country. we need to do a better job on behalf of the american worker. if a foreign company often due to its being partly or entirely government run or subsidized is able to flood with a cheap steel, they'd price american companies out of the system. say you're the owner of a steel company in ohio. you can't compete with some of these below market prices. you have to find other ways to meet your bottom line like closing your factory or laying off workers or maybe close down entirely. by not properly using this enforcement mechanism, we're costing americans who work in so many industries, not just in steel but agriculture, mechanical, machinery and other manufactured good. president trump was elected to do everything he can to support american workers and manufacturers. together these two executive
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orders are significant step in accomplishing the president's promise to end unfair trade practices once and for all. also yesterday we were pleased to see that senators mansion of west virginia and hyde announced their support for neil gorsuch. clare mccas cal conceded that among a list of potential nominees that judge gorsuch was according to her one of the better ones. we hope that her praise leads to additional support. it's hard to find any reason except for obstructionism to see why fellow democrats and her caucus have not been able to join them. as i said yesterday, judge gorsuch is highly regarded having received a rating of well qualified from the american bar association and has demonstrated an unbear lelparalleled -- fiel nearly 300 questions from senate democrats on the committee and
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70 pages of written answers about his personal records and has demonstrated a mainstream judicial release record with nearly all of the decisions being joined by a democrat appointed judges. without a clear justification, senate democrats have fudged the facts on recent history, tried to mislead the american history claiming a nonkp -- this would make history in a very bad way. they've also forgotten their own words. i cited briepreviously the regr of invoking the filibuster by president obama, then senate obama and the words that many other senate democrats on why blocking a vote for a judge having gone through the process has no precedent and is irresponsible. let me state one more argument that many democrats have recently made. current members of the september
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seem to also rejek tct the noti of a supreme operating with eight not nine justices. bernie sanders, jdianne feinstein, ben car don. each of these senate democrats need not listen to me or the president but their own words as recently as last year. the president told the american people in his weekly address that was launched earlier today why it is. again, we call on senate democrats to end this unnecessary obstruction and confirm qualified jurist from the bench. filed an appeal in the ninth circuit to hawaii's federal judge against the lawful and executive order dealing with protecting this country. moving on to some of the events today. this morning the president met with former secretary of state. they had an opportunity to talk about regional threats. current affairs hot spots. our attempt to defeat isis.
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and many more areas. it was a great meeting where they discussed many of the challenges facing our country and the president sought former secretary of state and national security adviser's advice on a variety of subjects. he also signed house juoint resolution 42 and hr 1362 naming a v.a. outpatient clinic. also this morning the president join the president the national association of manufacturers and some of its members ceos unveil the annual manufacturers outlook survey. an incredible 93% 6 manufacturers surveyed by the national association of manufacturers now have a positive outlook for the future with a 20 year record high that's more than 35 points higher than that same rating was last year. to quote from the survey itself, the rising confidence stems from the belief that the new administration in washington, d.c. will bring much needed
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regulatory relief as well as reforms to the tax code and a significant infrastructure package. the optimism is evident across the spectrum of indicators. the dow is up over 12% since election day. the national association of home builders is at its highest level in 12 years. the gallop small business index shows small business owners are the most optimistic events since 20 2007. the president has taken immediate steps to do business in this country and we are at the beginning of this process. on top of these significant steps taken in the executive orders this morning, he's also withdrawn from the trans pacific partnership trade agreement. cleared the way for keystone, dakota pipelines, began a wide reform of regulatory processes and signed legislation preventing the burdensome stream protection rule from causing further harm to america's coal industry. the president was glad to see
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the report added to the list of measurements reflecting the optimism that his pro growth policies have created. this afternoon the president will meet with the director of the national institute of health before signing the aforementioned executive orders on trade at 3:30. he will meet with the director of the office of management and budget. in cabinet news today, the secretary of state rex tillerson is in brussels attending the nato foreign ministers meeting. it he reaffirmed the trump administration commitment to nato. secretary tillerson also stressed the need for all member countries to meet their defense spending commitment swlas well the need for nato to take a stronger role. to reaffirm the commitment to nato and to discuss ways to strengthen the alliance and in order to cope with challenges in international security.
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released the 2017 national trade estimate. the annual report which is required by law surveys barriers faced by american exporters. its findings reinforce the need for the president's trade agenda which prioritizes the enforcement of the trade laws to protect american workers and job create ors. the president looks forward to having the ambassador so that he can begin his important work in earnest and fulfill the mission of this report. transportation secretary who yesterday celebrated the 50th birthday of the department of transportation today $10 million in emergency relief funds to help begin repairs on atlanta's collapsed i-85 overpass. this will help ensure the bridge is replaced safely and in a timely manner. the white house office of intergovernment affairs has spoke with the governor.
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the financial reports as filed by commissioned officers here in the white house, right after i'm done here we're going to have a background briefing with senior white house compliance and ethics officers to walk you through how that process will go and the release of that information. and will update you if there's any further information to add. sunday is world autism day further research into the causes and treatment for the autism disorder and we will be celebrating the individuals and families who are impacted by autism. it's a really interesting story how this came to be, the head of the organization has done work
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with this. bob wright is a long-time friend of the president and his wife suzanne was struggling with pancreatic cancer. he said he would light the white house pblue. it's in suzanne and bob wright's honor that this will occur for this great cause and i hope bob knows suzanne is looking down proudly to see that that pledge has been fulfilled. with that, i'd be glad to take your questions. john roberts? >> sean, a couple of questions if i could about chairman nunes' visit to the white house. fox news has been told that chairman nunes who did the unmasking of certain individuals and who ordered the unmasking of those individuals. is the white house aware of that information? >> i don't know what he knows
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and i've tried to not get into the specifics of that report. it's not in our interest to talk about the process, what occurred between chairman nunes and coming here was both routine and proper. chairman nunes and ranking member schiff, who is expected here later today, both possess the appropriate credentials and clearances. we've invited democrats here and i've been told that material they will see will shed light on the investigation. i know a lot of folks wants to talk about the surveillance. the substance, the unmasking and leaks, is what we should all be concerned about. it affects our liberties, our fre freedom, our civil liberties. the day before the president tweet a comment by a foreign policy official evelyn farkas
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has raised serious concerns on whether or not there was an organized and widespread effort by the obama administration to use and leak highly sensitive and intelligence information for political purposes. she said on television, i was urging my former colleagues, frankly speaking, the people on the hill, get as much intelligence as you can. i had a fear that they were essentially watching the trump staff who is worried about the trump administration. that's what's out there and i know nbc news has just reported something very similar about information that was used by the obama white house to spread this information in this information. dr. farkas' admissions are devastating. on march thi4th, the president raised questions about whether they were being improperly monitored for political purposes under the obama administration. later in march, in the ordinary
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course of their work, national security council staff discovered information that may support the questions raised by the president and dr. farkas' claim. these are serious issues. they raise serious concerns and, if true, it would be devastating. we're committed to working, as we said multiple times, to get to the bottom of what happened, why it happened and who was involved. for this reason, we're in the process of ensuring that the reports that the nsc staff discovered in the normal course of business are made available to those committees investigating to ensure that all of the facts come to light. if everyone was treating the president and the administration fairly, you'd ask about the substance and the materials. as we've said before, when you talk about russia in particular, everyone who has been briefed on this subject, from republican to democrat to cia, former obama administration clapper, brennan, you name it, all of those people come back with the same conclusion. there's been no evidence of the
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president's campaign and russian officials. it was hillary clinton who was the architect of the last administration's failed reset policy. she told russian state tv it was designed to strengthen russia. that was their goal, to strengthen russia. she made concession after concession, selling off one-fifth of our country's uranium, paid speeches, paid deals, getting personal calls from vladimir putin. if you really want to talk about a russian connection and the substance, that's where we should be looking. that. not there. >> i wasn't expecting to tap quite such a deep well with that question. intelligence officials also tell us that chairman nunes knew about the documents that he viewed at the white house back in january but ended up looking at that at the nsc only because he could not get access through some of the other intelligence agencies. basically, it was a last resort
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to come here to the white house to view them. do you know if that's the case? >> i don't. but i think it tracks everything -- i saw a couple tweets yesterday where people were saying that the nsa was trying to get documents. from a narrative of what's been out there -- and again, we've tried to be very careful about this. and consistent about how we want this handled. but everything that he's said and when he came out initially, he made it clear that he had been looking into this and he stated that much earlier than the president had raised this issue about surveillance and unmasking individuals for areas that had nothing to do with russia, nothing to do with substantive intelligence or surveillance, so i think as we continue down this path and we focus on the substance, we see more and more -- a very, very troubling and devastating path. >> one more thing to clear up on practice, if i could. we're being told by intelligence officials that the two individuals who were identified
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yesterday ezra cohen-watnick and michael ellis, were not the source for the information for the intelligence chairman. they did play a role in helping to sign him in so he could view the intelligence. >> again, john, i'm not -- if i start commenting on every one of these stories, i can't -- that's not our practice. i mean, again, part of it is if we confirm some things and not others, we go down a slippery slope. we continue to say this is the substance of this matter and what continues to come to light in terms of obama officials admitting either off the record or on the record consistent with what dr. farkas says, there was an attempt to do something politically motivated with the intelligence out there and the question is why. who else did it? was it ordered? by whom? but i think more and more, the substance that continues to come out on the record by individuals
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continues to point to exactly what the president was talking about that day on march 5th. jonathan? >> sean, we heard from the president this morning saying mike flynn should ask for immunity. we know the president has long-standing views on what immunity means. he said in september, if you are guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for? so does the president think mike flynn is guilty of a crime? >> he thinks mike flynn should go testify and do what he has to do to get the story out. >> with or without immunity? >> that's up to him and his lawyer to decide. i'm not going to give mike flynn or anyone else legal advice from the podium but the president's view is he should go up there. he should testify. >> but the president gave legal advice from his twitter account. >> right. and i understand. >> and he's said in the past the only reason you ask for immunity is if you've committed a crime. >> respectfully, what he's asking is go testify. get it out there. do what you have to do to get
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there and tell congress and everyone exactly what we've been saying for a long time. again, i get your point but i think the interesting thing is if you start for a second and realize what the president is doing, do whatever you have to do to go up and make it clear what happened, take whatever precaution you want or however your legal counsel advises you. it's quite the opposite and again i think that that compared to the narrative that you hear from a lot of folks in this room all the time is a little bit opposite. here you have a president telling mike flynn and others to go up there, make sure in fact we talked about the other day with members of the administration, that the president volunteered. this doesn't look at an administration that isn't doing everything it can to get to the bottom of this in an appropriate way. that's been lost on a lot of you. that every action we have taken -- we've got up here and we've talked about russia and
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the lack of connection. we've talked about the fact that every single person who has been briefed has come away saying none exists. and yet at the end of the day, the narrative still comes at us and now we're going to a point where we encourage people to talk to the house and intelligence committee, the appropriate investigators, so they can continue to get to the bottom of this. that's quite