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Sean Spicer
  White House Confirms President Obama Expressed Views on Michael Flynn  CSPAN  May 8, 2017 1:12pm-1:41pm EDT

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health professionals. >> you mentioned the reorganization and jared kushner's office. are those goals aligned with yours? are you waiting for mr. kushner's reorganization recommendations before you begin hiring? >> no. again, the american innovation office is not intended to come in and do assessments and give recommendations. that's the executive order has asked the department to do that. so that's what we're doing. mr. kushner's office is helping us in identifying industry beste practices and strategic partners that help us advance the modernization goals. we're going. >> we're going to leave the last future minutes of the their today's white house briefing. his spokesman sean spicer. >> i missed you all tremendously. now that i realize we can do that more i'll spend more time the pentagon.
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move this up a little bit. appreciate your flexibility today. so the pool has enough time to cover the vice president and secretary shulkin as they welcome honor flight veterans to washington on the anniversary of ve-day. the vice president hosting more than 120 veterans of world war ii, the korean warp and vietnam wore as part of national military appreciation month and public service recognition week, highlighting the trump administration's commitment to our military and public service. also today, the vice president and secretary price, secretary shulkin, all attended an event on the scientific continues in biomedicine. key leaders from government, the private sector and academia excused the united states' comprehensive biomedical landscape and further educated white house staff, including assistant to president, ivanka trump, and reed cordish on the topic. the readings organized by the national institute of health and left by the director, dr.
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francis collins. a company are were providing analysis and relief examples how america sustained leadership in the biomedical industry has resulted in emmerrable ben photos our country's economic in physical will become. among the participanted was bill ford, ceo of general atlanta. ,dr. craig thompson, dr. barman the president of science. >> -- merck tesse, president of stan understand university and dr. rick lifton, the president of -- the united states is atop the list of global investors in lifesons, this investment is dependent on the nih and the important research it funds in order to maintain ore international leadership in pie bee medicine we mist strengthen
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the partnerships ben government agencies, investos, academies and research foundations. this meeting was an important step. today shortly after this briefing we'll release a list of the president's thirdwave of forward court nominees these ten individuals were chosen to a deep 'knowledge of the law and commit upholdinges constitutional principles. if confirmed justice joan larson will be a circuit court judge of the u.s. court of appeal for the six inch circuit. justice larson is currently serving on the michigan supreme court. and justice david stroud will be a circuit court judge of the u.s. court of appeals for the eight inch circuit. es current i is a justice of the minnesota supreme court. the campaign list which was put together from input from they
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heritage foundation the federalist society and ace that said these, quote, hively respect peopled are the kind of scholars we need to preserve the core of our country and maybe it greater than ever bev. end quote. the president followed the principles that were used to guide that list to select the additional raith individuals and the full list will be out shortly. in terms of that president's asked all this, morning met with general mcmaster and spoke with the french president oelectricity to congratulate him on his victory a readout of the call should be out shortly. the -- to the prime minister dropped into the oval office to greet the president. this afternoon the president has lunch with the vice president. in an hour he'll meet with secretary of state tillerson. secretary tillerson has been meeting with several foreign leader ted state department, include the prime minister, the more than -- secretary mattis is meeting with many foreign
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leaders during the european trip this tweak re-affirm key united states military alliances the secretary is in denmark to co-host meeting with the danish minister of defense and senior leaders from 16 countries. while in -- senator mattis will meet with the secretary of defense and the importance on the nato alliance and with the danish prime minister to reaffirm the close ties between depmarks charge thus other. senator zink i it bus into the exec tv order to review the momments. secretary cinco will be accompanied by the gov and local state -- while in utah, the
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secretary and other officials are holding daily press briefings on the ground. you can reach out to the interior department for more details. with that,'ll take questions. >> president obama warned then president-elect trump against hiring mike flynn as the national security adviser. why did the ignore that warning? >> well, the president doesn't disclose dietings of meetings which was an hour-long meeting but it's true that president obama made it known that he wasn't exactly a fan of general flynn's. which is frankly shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that given that general flynn had worked for president obama, was an outspoken critic of president obama's shortcomings speakly related to his lack of strategy confronting isis and other threats. that there were facing america. so, the question you have to ask yourself is if president obama was truly concerned about general flynn whether i didn't
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the suspend general flynn's security clearance and they approved months earlier and why did the obama administration led flynn go to russia for a speaking engagement and receive a fee. there will steps they could have taken if that was a concern more than just a person that didn't -- had bad blood. >> i want to follow up with a couple points. assuming flint maims one individual why wouldn't that give the president-elect pause? i understand what you're saying the caveat about the fact he campaigned against hillary clinton, et cetera, but wouldn't that give the incoming president pause? >> i would note -- you made clear he wasn't a fan of his and that's not a surprise considering the role that general flynn played in the campaign, criticizing his -- >> give him any -- >> i said, you -- if you know what we enough at the time, which is that the security clearance he had had been reapproved in april of that year and they took not only did they reapprove and it took no step to suspend it.
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the question has to be what did they do if hey had real concern other than not liking him. >> it's our understanding -- need flynn need an upgradedded security clearance to serve as the national security adviser. >> had been head of the defense intelligence agency. >> vetted him at well. >> the same clearance -- the security clearance -- we went of this dirk the slam client athlete any level. once you get it, you had. he had his leigh investigation in april of 2016 and obama administration re-affirmed that security clearance took no steps to suspend it or take any other action. >> bud did you not vet him yourself? >> you don't vet -- on a security clears, that's whyout gate security clearance. everyone in the government goes through the same process. so, the hans is those statement -- that same process worked for general flynn as for me or anyone else who works here. there's no difference of a security clearance on it's
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issued. zk. >> we know what we do at the time, knowing what the white house knows now, does the white house and the president believe that general flip should not have had the clearance reissued last. >> number one, and number two does the white house believe that jeanine was truthful when he felled out out his information. >> i'm not going to get into the details. that was adjudicated by the obama administration and took no steps to suspend that. so that's not really a query for us. it's a question for them at that time. >> knowing what you know -- >> i think he president took appropriate action and the stands by that today. >> this ties to russia and his work as a'm registered foreagent -- >> don't think we'll relilt get this. the president made the right --
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back then and stands by that. hunter. >> thank you, sean. last week officials indicate indicated the pentagon planned to send the president a proposal to send several thousand additional troops to afghanistan. has the president made a decision about sending additional troops to afghanistan and if so when are they going, how many, and what is their mission? >> i'll refer you to the department of defense. they're in contact with hem but we have nothing share at this time. sarah. >> the president treated this more than that senator's then intelligence committee should ask sally yatess about her role about classified likes about general flip? does the president have evidence that ties sally yates to the leak and why did the tweet cat. >> you're aware of the president's concern about spills of confidentings into the open. something that should concern every american and the president made it clear for -- since he took office that is a big concern of his.
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and so the idea that classified information made its way into the press is something that i think, while we're asking all of these questions,s one of the ones i thing the senators should ask. hough did that information out into the open like that? i think that is an equally important question that it not getting asks. >> does the president believe that sally yates is the -- >> he tweet speaks for itself. the senate should ask the questions. >> aside from the announcement that to the president women pig judges many conservatives remained concerned that the president is island behind on overall appointments and the president said he doesn't need to fill vacate jobs in the administration and after these ten there will still be 110 judicial vacancy can -- vacancis are there any plans to increase pays of political appointments. >> there's three questions in there.
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number one, we have a very robust schedule of releasing names. there's a method to this in terms of the nominees put out now and you should expect to see more go through. the process this time rained is different. we're actually going through the office of government ethics and fbi clearances behalf announcing most of these individuals so there's a devils how we're doing this but we're bell on pace with respect to many of this to get the government up and running but the president residents point he is making -- the president residents point is part of the review of government is to make sure we're looking at the positions and figuring are out whether or not we have -- the taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck in terms of productivity and costs so we're looking through the entire government, director mulvaney briefed you how we look at government and figure out whether or not we can do a better job of filling positions, staffing the government, but we'll have to continue to have announcing key positions.
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>> control of the bureaucracy if you don't -- >> we are. you'll continue to see whether it's judicial nominations, ambassadors other, key positions, we have a very healthy clip of announcemented that continue to good out. trey. >> thank you. ahead of her testimony today does president trump believe sally yates is a truthworthy source of information. >> that's up for us to decide. that's for the senate to decide whether or not what she does -- we'll have to wait and see. >> financialing up on sarah's question it seems the president was implying sally yates had something to do with the leaked information. >> i think the tweet speaks for itself. >> two questions on nasa. first, the -- the canadian prime minister on friday said that they're considering as a reaction to what -- what the prime minister calls a unfair punitive duty on canada lumber.
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isn't this the beginning of a trade war between canada and u.s. no that's why we have dispute mechanisms to do this in a responsible way. what the commerce secretary has been in touch with his counterparts and there's a reason that the dispute mechanism is set up under this trade agreement and mos trade agreements to the two parties can resolve them in a way that allows for both sites to air concerns. that why you have an agreement and have a mechanism set up to do that. >> you trust the mechanism -- >> let's let it play our. secretary ross took appropriates action to protect a u.s. industry and we'll let the process play out. >> ten days ago the president said mexico and canada agreed to fasten the process to renegotiate nafta. what happened last sunday. >> our officials -- we'll have further updates on that. right now there's nothing share. john. >> thank you.
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did sally yates have to run her testimony through the general counsel's as. >> not aware of that. >> any rope to doubt that her tim, which will be under oath, will be truthful before the senate subcommittee. >> i would assume when you raise your right hand and agree to tell the truth and nothing but the cruelty you'll do that. that's the whole reason you pledge. >> for weeks during the transition president trump was not receiving a daily intelligence briefing help was receiving his information from general flynn. do you think that lack of direct information from the intelligence community contributed to the lack of vetting with general flynn. >> so first, we hid debt -- extensively went over the pbd briefing throughout the campaign. back then it was three time as week and then supplanted by the national security team. so i don't dish think the people
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mission is is not there. secondly, as i mentioned to christian, the processes that were followed by general flynn were followed -- are followed by every government employee who received a clearance at that particular level. >> on another thing, when you talk about the signing statement that came out on friday with the spending bill, administration officials including education secretary betsy devos didn't know about. what why didn't she or people working on the issue know about that. wholes idea was that, and what happened between -- when sarah was out here on friday saying the didn't think there would be something like that, and then close of business when there was a signing statement and did you know it was coming? >> so, signing statements or a pro forma a activity that occurs during a bill signing performed by the department of justice and legislative counsel, it's been used by every president so i'm not sure what everyone knew but that goes along, going back multiple administrations.
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>> a signing statement -- >> on the travel ban, a couple more questions. back in february the president said they lifting the travel ban mean that many bad and dangerous people would be pouring in. haven't you seen any evidence that's been the case in the three months that this ban was lifted? >> i think that's question nor department of homeland security. >> michigan you have been tracking. >> personally, no. i'd be glad to follow up with the department of homeland secured. don't have anything. >> in the same vein, if the white house is no longer calling this a muslim ban as the president did initially why does the president residents web site still call for, quote pretrenting muslim nonetheless and shades donald j. trump is calling for a total some complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. >> i'm not aware what is on the campaign web site you have to ask them. know how we talked about this from the first day this administration -- as the travel ban in the country -- national security to make sure people coming in here with the right
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reasons we're having a public safety aspect to making sure -- we are have been very consistent since the first day of this administration on this. >> -- completely disavowing the use of the muslim ban? if it's on the web site itch the president residents words are being used against him to, is worth you clarifying that. >> i'm trying to figure out why -- i've been very clear. don't think i need to clarify what we have said, what the president said -- >> coming up in court. >> i understand that. that's one reason we have concerns about how that's being interpreted. the intent of the travel ban was very clear. think the -- it was something that the president made very clear in the filings that we have filed, why he did it, the modus for doing and it was very clear from the beginning. so shouldn't be in the question wife the president is doing this and the idea to make sure we are putting the safety of our
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country and people first and for most. >> two cop coptic, the kushner familiness china making a pitch for the vest a day after the president signed the omnibus which stepped the program without any changes. is it's violation of the conflict of interest agreement that jared kushner came to and also, does the president believe that veals visa program needs to be modified. >> i'll refer you to the cover. jared has done everything to comply with we ethics ruled to mange sure that had nothing to do with him per se. he was not involved. secondly we talked before that the president and congress are looking hat how to look over the entire visa program, all the various visa programs, and whether or not they are serving the purpose they were intended to, whether or not we're making sure that we do what fills the best interests of the american worker, and so we'll continue to work with congress on that. >> and regarding the opioid
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commission, it's my understanding that no members of that commission have been named yet. we're more than 30 days in what was supposed to be a 90 day period for the commission to come back with a report. what is up with that does that send a wrong signal to people who believe this is a very urgent crisis where more than 100 people die every day. >> let me get back to you on the exact names and announcements. i welcome init comed to the opioid crisis the president, both during the campaign and transition and now as president has made clear of his commitment to figure out how to address the crisis, but like so many neighborhoods and communities and he'll continue to work with -- appoint governor christie and a bipartisan commission. as soon as we have additional information on that, we will do that. >> sean -- >> sean -- >> why is it important for the president to get these ten individuals out there to serve
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the country, and more broader perspective of this question, there are a number of vacancies, 129 today, to say nothing of some of the openings over there in eeob that i'm sure can still be filled, the pace seems slow. is the president aware of that pace? is he comfortable with the peace and what is the white house doing to fill other job. >> on the judicial jobs we're going through in a very methodical way. there's a lot of background that goes on in each of these in term hospital-of-of government indigent chugs and the fbi background check and they're all in the pipeline and you'll see a very robust announcements on not just the judicial front but self fronts and we have been tracking where we are and we're on pace where previous administrations have been, some ahead, some behind. about we're doing a great job of filling key positions and making sure with get the right person for the right job. >> sean --
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>> i want to ask you a big picture question about afghanistan. asked about troop levels and don't have an answer for that. last week the -- painted aer grim picture. security incident inside march reached a high of decade. that's rampant drug use in afghanistan. so also the president weighs this request for more troops what is going to be his ultimate goal? stability? or victory in this 16-17 year of this war. >> he wants to make sure we feet isis. that's something in our national security interests, making surely we protect our people, but do so in a smart way. talked about not projecting where he's going and what he is going to do to let the enemy know ahead of time. part of that guidance that his national security team is giving him are different pieces that you're talking bottom.
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achieving outcomes and kin's best interest and utilize our military and treasure to the best of our ability. that's part of what he is getting briefed on some is implementing. so i'm not entirely sure that answers what you're going, about that is what he has been getting briefed on and the kind of depressionmaking presidency underway. >> i think president displead with the current state of affair inside afghanistan. >> we wants to make sure we do what we took win. that's why he charged the generals and other adviser to come up with a plan that can get us there. so, veronica. >> thank you. does the president believe that health care is a right or a product? >> well, i think the president has been very clear in his statements. whether or not you call it's right or not he wants every person tohawk access to health care that covers pre-existing conditioned that is affordable and the steps ha has taken and the bill he worked to pass through the pass clearly
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highlight those priority. he wants to make sure that people have access to care. is concerned when he hears about companies leaving the market place and not giving consumers a choice. he is concerned when he hear beside do detickettibles going through the roof and cost going the roof and people not having the access to health care and very concerned we are facing a choice right now where obamacare is failing and dying, and that if we don't act, that people won't have access to health care and won't be able to afford it, and show to steps he is taking are to achieve those principles that he laid out. blake. >> a question about the relationship that president trump and former president obama. in november were there specific reasons given and as sew -- reef plates to michael flynn and that's. based on -- >> i don't know the answer to that. like i said he passed along what mentioned the outset. >> michael.
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>> two clarifications. on the signing statements, are you saying that the president was not aware of that very law of the details of the law, and was just something done at -- >> no. no sorry. the president obviously aware of what happened. the question that was asked, it is a process, it is happened for administrations going back generations, i'm sure dish don't have the precise nature of when signing statements came into being but there is a normal piece that goes with a bill signing commission to make sure the executive branch's intend is understood. >> a lot of the things in the signing statement were things that car wearovers from things that obama octobered to and orbited to but -- objected to and the president and serb staff were aware of what those things were -- >> yes. >> second question, on the flynn and the security clearance, you guys have made both from the podium and the president make a
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big deal of the obama people gave him the clearance earlier. are you suggesting now, knowing what you guys know with hindsight and whatever, are you saying that they should have -- you believe the obama administration should have denied him his clearance back in april based on the information that you're now aware of in connection with russia. >> i'm suggesting you can't have it both ways. folks saying obama expressed some concern about flynn, well, number one, it was pretty expected. this is a guy who was very outspoken in his criminal simple of president obama's policies so the idea that president obama didn't like the guy, doesn't seem shocking. the point you have to ask yourself, if you -- if the obama administration are or under the obama administration if the reissued one of the highest security clearances you can get, knowinger what they knew then, and then didn't do anything to
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take a pro-active step to suspended any way, shape or form, the question you have to askoffs if they were concerned, why didn't they take any steps? they're the ones who had at that point all the access and all the knowledge to everything on the security clearance, not us. so if president obama or anyone else frankly in the government was concerned, the question should be asked, what did they do and if nothing, then why not if they truly were concerned. think that is a fair question. dave. >> [overlapping speakers] >> over the week -- >> over the weekend, north korea detained the fourth u.s. citizen. are you concerned that they're trying to escalate tensions even further? do you consider these americans hostages and what are you doing diplomatically, back channel or otherwise, to next released. >> obviously this is concerning. we're well aware of it. and we're going to work through the embassy of sweden that has a
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facility in -- an embassy in north korea, through the state department to seek release of individuals there but i refer you to the state department on that. >> you mentioned -- you didn't mention the taliban, should we read that to mean -- no to defeat both isis and tall balance. there's no -- it's to make sure we put our national security interests first in and defeat all of those folk that seek to do us harm. >> are you willing to negotiate with the taliban. >> the president is receiving guidance from the national security team. he is meeting with them and there will be further updates from the department of defense moving forward. the president -- the vice president has an event, want to make sure the pool has time to staff for it. we're around all afternoon. thank you. >> president obama was right