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Sean Spicer
  White House Briefs on Jobs and the Economy  CSPAN  June 12, 2017 2:44pm-3:23pm EDT

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sorry and that this wasn't you. apparently it was you. do you think anger management is appropriate for you and this sentence is appropriate for you? >> i take full responsibility for my actions. i didn't act in a way that was consist went my behavior in the past. that's why i was pleased to be here and get this done. o we can move forward. >> the house is back at 3:30 eastern today to debate a number of bills keeling with hydroelectric power, energy efficiency in schools and other energy issues. when the house comes back into session, we'll have live coverage, of course, here on c-span. at today's white house briefing, labor secretary spoke with reporters about the administration's job creation efforts after the labor secretary, white house press secretary sean spicer answered eporters' questions.
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mr. spicer: hi. i like that addition. whoever did that is getting a raise. good afternoon. as you've all probably now heard, the president is placing a big emphasis on work force development. secretary of labor as coulda and secretary of education -- acosta and secretary of education devos along with the president's daughter have been deeply involved in this effort and secretary acosta had the opportunity to address this issue just a few moments ago at the president's first meeting with his fully confirmed cabinet. i'd like to kick it off by having secretary acosta come up, talk you to a little bit about this initiative and take a few questions. mr. acosta: thank you and good afternoon. i especially want to thank the work that's been done by eye vanka trump and the office of american innovation to develop the proposals that we'll be
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talking about this week. i'll be traveling tomorrow to wisconsin where we'll be looking at some excellent programs. her leadership on this issue has been invaluable. as you know by know now, the president will be making an important announcement regarding apprenticeships this week. he'll be visiting department of labor on wednesday. there are currently six million job openings in the united states. vacant jobs that can be filled. this is the highest number of job vacancies ever. a business round table survey released just last week found that 95% of executives reported problems finding qualified workers. americans want to work. american companies want to hire. the issue is a mismatch between available jobs and employee job skills. this skillszpwap a particularly challenge in some of the fastest growing expecters -- sectors of the economy. health canned air information technology. and it also persists in some of the more traditional sectors of the economy.
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there are currently 360,000 job vacancies in manufacturing. there are 200,000 job vacancies in construction. with the upcoming plans for infrastructure, those job vacancies in construction are nly going to increels. an apprenticeship combined a paid work component with an educational component. apprentices earn while they learn and in the process, they largely avoid the substantial student debt that you see with higher education today. the most obvious benefit of apprenticeships is a good job. individuals who complete apprenticeship programs have an average starting salary of about $60,000 a year. nine out of 10 are employed upon completion of the programs. both the starting salary and the employment rate are higher than that of traditional college graduates. apprenticeships are also going to increase to labor productivity.
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apprentices hit the ground running, when they start a job they're more able, more productive and tend to be more loyal to the employer. despite these benefits, apprenticeships make only about 3% of the american work force. this administration will expand apprentices across most if not all industries. higher education too should assume responsibility for promoting apprenticeships. community colleges and four-year colleges have an obligation to work with students to educate them in skills they need to succeed. demand-driven, experience-based education is not new. it's used to some extent in the health care sector. demand-driven, experience-based education can be improved and it can be used in a wide variety of sectors to further expand their work force. incorporating apprenticeships into two and four-year degree programs would offer students both traditional learning and skills-based learning. and this is particularly important for those students
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who learn better by doing. president trump has seen firsthand the success of apprenticeship programs in the building trades where he's very familiar. the building trades invest nearly a billion a year of private money into the apprenticeship program. president trump has made clear his commitment to expand job opportunities here in america. apprenticeships is one very important way that president trump will fulfill that promise and i'm very excited to work with ivanka trump and the american innovation as this program goes forward. questions? in the front. reporter: how exactly do you plan to expand these apprenticeship -- what is the government going to do? you're not going to put more money toward these programs. to so how are these apprenticeships going tokespand? mr. acosta: if you look in the
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building trade, there's almost $1 billion that's spent every year. that's all private sector money. the building trades have put together labor management organizations that jointly invest in these apprenticeship programs because they know, both on the labor side and the management side, that a skilled work force is critical to the building trades. that's how it's worked for a number of years. i've talked to several c.e.o.'s. ivanka trump has spoken to several c.e.o.'s. and there's excitement in the business sector. the private-private partnership, where businesses come together with educational institutions to actually focus on-demand-driven education, to focus on the skills that business is demanding has worked in other sectors and can work throughout the economy. reporter: the question is, where exactly do you see these apprenticeships? because most of the complaints against it is that it's for low-paying jobs and not the higher education jobs that you
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need and it amounts to nothing more than indentured servitude? mr. acosta: that's factually wrong. if you look at department of work force data, the annual starting salary for apprentice is $60,000 a year. that's higher than a college graduate. i was in michigan at the ford facility, i met with some of the apprentices at the ford facility. and they love it. reporter: [inaudible] mr. acosta: let me finish. they love it, they are excited about it. they're being paid a very, very good wage. i should add, though, that you seay presentitiesships in white collar positions as well. there are a number of firms that we're talking to that are looking at it for areas like book keeping, accounting. if you look at law schools, for example, there's been conversations even in law schools about the need for more experienced-based education. the carnegie commission came out with a report a number of years ago about the importance of experience-based education
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in law. so the point i'm making is, we need to stop thinking that this is limited to a certain kind of job sector. experience-based education works throughout all sectors of the economy. reporter: to follow up if i may. is your program geared towards the white collar jobs or to mostly -- mr. acosta: our program will be geared toward to all industries and all jobs. the point here is to foster private-private partnerships between industry and educational institutions so that when students go to a community college or when students are looking at apprenticeship programs in the building trades or in four-year institutions, when they leave, they have the skills necessary to enter the work force. in the middle. reporter: in the president's budget, it talks about work requirement.
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also congress is talking about new welfare reform for able-bodied people. could this sort of integrate to that at all? mr. acosta: well, certainly one of the important aspects of this is the portability of credentials. when someone earns a skill, when someone learns a skill, it's important to signal to other employers that this person knows a certain set of skills. and so the -- i should say the emphasis is on high-quality apprenticeships. it's important to not water things down vandskills that are portable and that are indicative of quality. reporter: in terms of the overall focus on work force development, the president's budget contains about 40% cuts in all work force skills programs. from the last budget. if work force development is a priority, why is the president calling for that? secondly, my understanding is the budget has about $90
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million for apprenticeship programs which is what president obama had requested. how is this expanding what the last administration wanted? mr. acosta: let me circle back to the point i made about private-private partnerships and what the building trades do. the building trades invest $1 billion a year of private money to develop a skilled work force. and so i want to challenge the assumption that the only way to move policy is to increase government spending. what we're trying to measure here is outcomes, right? and so private-private partnerships, if industry is in the building trades willing to work with labor to foster these programs, that's exactly -- isn't that exactly what we want to see? so we should measure success based on outcomes and not based imply on spending. i was calling in front of you. then i'll follow you up with you. reporter: how do you foster these private-private
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regulations? is there some executive action that will be taken? is there a tax policy propose signal how are you proposing this would happen? because it hasn't organically happened beyond what already -- mr. acosta: i will answer in two parters. first, you've already seen that to a large extent as we've had round tables with business leaders. as ivanka trump has conducted several meetings with c.e.o.'s around the country here at the white house. and the second part to your answer is stay tuned and listen to the wednesday announcement. reporter: is there a region or group of people you're trying to focus in on with these apprenticeships? even with the president saying the unemployment rate is going well under the administration, there's still groups of people, be it region or race, gender, that still have issues when it comes to employment.
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is there a focus on certain groups, certain regions, certain genders? mr. acosta: you are correct. so the unemployment rate i believe is 4.3%. the broader unemployment rate, that is the u-6 rate, i believe is now at 8.4%. as we've had discussions with c.e.o.'s that are looking at these apprenticeship programs, one of the items of discussion is a way to work with communities that you typically don't see going to the stem fields and other fields. and part of that discussion has been how do you target those groups, how do you reach out? it's interesting because apprenticeships help here because apprenticeships bring students together in a model with individuals who are currently working in their field. so it allows the possibility of role modeling. an apprentice can have a role model that can provide support
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and can introduce them to the field and so i actually think this is going to be a great thing for expanding opportunities, for example, to women in stem. reporter: one follow-up on that. so with that, you're saying women in stem. t when it goes down to race, the african-american and hispanic unemployment numbers, particularly -- [inaudible] -- is this administration looking to push also apprenticeships for those communities as well? for the private-private partnerships? mr. acosta: we're looking to push apprenticeships across the board. all people, all industries. this is an opportunity for everyone. red tie. reporter: thank you. you mentioned that you're targeting all sorts of professions, not just blue collar professions. how do you get around, in many states there are laws that would prevent this sort of thing, such as the legal
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profession, where most states i believe don't allow people to do things like read for the bar anymore. how do you get around regulations and state laws? mr. acosta: let me circle back and clarify. the question was, is this just targeted to blue collar and he said -- i said no. it's across the board. i gave an example where experience-based education has been advocated. and i want to be clear. the vast majority of apprenticeships are not for law. let's start there. so the question, so the question about state barriers, i really think is a nonissue because for the vast majority of apprenticeships are going to be in the types of professions where students are starting out , entry professions, professions that you typically see coming out of community college, professions that you typically see at most largessetate four-year institutions. and for those professions, you don't have those types of
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barriers. right behind you. reporter: thank you, mr. secretary. given the advantages of apprentice programs, what are the c.e.o.'s telling you about why they aren't used much more often? mr. acosta: i don't want to speak for the c.e.o.'s because they haven't told me why they're not used more often. what i can tell you is that every c.e.o. that i have spoken with has made a personal commitment to pursuing these. the c.e.o.'s are excited. i attended a business round table event around this and to a person the c.e.o.'s are looking forward to. it because if c.e.o.'s need these skilled work force -- and they recognize americans want to work. we just need to marry up the desire to work with the work force skills. in the back. reporter: you're one the newcombers at the administration here. i believe maybe this is the first time we've heard from you on camera. can you give us more of a broad reading of how you see the labor market currently, the
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unemployment rate, the 4.3%, the u-6. what is your read on the bright spots and challenges? mr. acosta: the bright spots are obvious. we've had almost 600,000 new jobs so far this calendar year. the 4.3% unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in 16 years, since 2001. the number of job vacancies in a sense points to the skills gap. t it's really a phenomenal number that's quite positive. six million job cray cansies means six million job vacancies meets that we can fill that compared to 6.9 million individuals that are unemployed and, wow. you know, i think one of the -- to fully answer your question, one of the challenges that we need to look at is the labor force participation. there are a number of americans that are forgotten, that have been ignored and that have
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dropped out of the work force. labor force participation is lower than it should be. our hope and ivanka trump's hope and this administration's hope is and president trump just this morning referenced these individuals who are forgotten because they're the ones that elected him. through this apprenticeship program we're hoping to bring them back in the labor force because to have growth we need that labor force growth. reporter: given this is a small part of bringing the labor force participation rate up, what else do you think needs to happen? is it tax reform? what else needs to happen? secretary acosta: all of the above, right? this is a small but very significant part because, you know, if you start providing, if you start changing the system to demand driven education, where educational institutions, whether they be two or four-year colleges or
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other experienced-based educational institutions are providing work force skills, with each passing year for every hundreds of thousands of folks that go through this, those are all new jobs, but shortly all the policies you see this administration administering, whether it be tax reform or other is part of bringing individuals back into the work force. ma'am? reporter: when would we see results? when will the skills gap close? what types of jobs are we talking about exactly versus professions? secretary acosta: so when i think is a very speculative question. i can't provide you an exact date. and the second question was -- i'm sorry? reporter: what type of jobs? secretary acosta: i think we're looking to apply this broadly across all industries. you know, it's -- you know, it's interesting because some of you know i was at a university and i know a student that really wanted to be a police officer and so that student majored in criminal justice. when he graduated he probably
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had student debt. but he didn't have a job because criminal justice doesn't prepare you to be a police officer. so what would things be like if actually a criminal justice degree allowed students that wanted to to have the option of also attend a police academy? and i want to give that specific example of what these possibilities would be. what would a legal studies degree be like if you could actually also get paralegal or legal assistance training? there are possibilities all across that we can look at. ma'am. reporter: two things. bear with me. there is an idea out there or at least one big study to require students graduating high school to have either letter saying they're going to college, the military or indeed a trade school. i'm wondering what you think of that. and my second part of that is, to help us understand what the
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white house is doing with these meetings with the c.e.o.'s, is anything being reduced to a memo of understanding or a letter so we actually get the pledge? because i want more of a sense of what the sense is out there. night meetings are nice but what is the promise you could say that people are telling you and how are you codifying it so you have it written down so you can go back to the c.e.o. and say, you said you're going to do it and you didn't? could you explain how you're -- secretary acosta: happy to answer both. first, what do we think about requirements that every student have a letter saying what they're going to do, i'll speak just for myself on this one. i worry about a requirement that requires students to do a, b or c. i think our nation is about choosing and i think you need to respect individual's choices. you can certainly encourage. you can say, what are you going
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to with yourself, what do you want to do, but i always worry when i hear the word requirement because i think we're about choice. going to your second point, i'll say in part, stay tuned for the wednesday announcement as to what specifically we're going to be doing. i'd say after that wednesday announcement, you can certainly and vigorous follow-up with the various c.e.o.'s and industry associations with which the administration has been speaking because at least for myself, the expectation would be, ok, you said you're very interested in this, let's sit down and let's pen something out and let's see how we can go forward. one last question. ma'am. reporter: can you clarify your answer to julie's question? when you say the president is
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interested in outcomes and you come from an academic environment, is the president saying the way we evaluate these existing programs before recommending dutting grants or workplace support for students, seniors, agriculture, you know, adults who've been displaced, are you saying you evaluated all those programs in recommending they be cut because they're not working or because the president merely does not want to spend the money? secretary acosta: so as you pointed out, i come from an academic setting so let me answer the question by analogy. it used to be the question of whether a university is -- how to -- is doing well was a function of how much the university spends. and in florida, you know, seeing questions like, what is your graduation rate, how many students that are graduating are holding jobs and so you're seeing a focus on outcome as
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opposed to spending. and the point that i was trying o make, and i'll reiterate, is we tend in washington to simply say, how much more money can we spend on something rather than let's think outside the box and try to solve a problem. and i think we owe it to the american taxpayer that's ultimately footing this bill to focus less on how much we spend and more on whether in fact the problems are being solved. so thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit] mr. spicer: thank you, mr. secretary. i appreciate you coming by today. as we get back to what's going on today, i want to take a moment to acknowledge the three service members that were killed this weekend in afghanistan. the injury -- excuse me, the incident is currently under investigation but our thoughts and our prayers are with the families and these american heroes who lost their lives in
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this tragic event. as the secretary said, it's work force week here at the white house so that's going to be a major emphasis for the administration who we're also moving ahead on several other things on the president's domestic and policy jeaped. today the department of agriculture released guidance for american beef prodicers who are preparing to ship u.s. beef to chinese markets for the first time since 2003. as we announced last month as part of the u.s.-china 100-day action plan that followed up on the president's meeting with president xi, china agreed to reopen this $2.5 billion market to american ranchers and cattle producers. before the market was closed, the u.s. was china's largest supplier of beef, providing 70% of its imports. the actions by the u.s. department of agriculture today on important first step in the process of reopening this lucrative market to american businesses. tomorrow, the vice president will be speaking at the department of health and human
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services about the continuing death spiral of obamacare and why we need to keep our promise to the american people to repeal and replace it with a patient-centered centric alternative as soon as possible. the president was in wisconsin. the president will be there tomorrow where he met with everyday americans that lost their plans, their doctors and a lot of hope from this failing law. president trump will never stop fighting for the families who are facing impossible choices every day as their premiums and deductibles continue to skyrocket. he won't rest until we have fixed this. the president's tax reform team is also continuing to hold meetings and discussions both at the principal level and staff level as we work towards a consensus plan that will deliver middle-class and tax simplification for everyone. secretary mnuchin at the tresh and gary kohn continue to listen to members of congress from both sides of the aisle. and the director will lead a listening session with auto
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industry leaders later this week. these meetings have been incredibly productive and we believe tax reform is well on track for the president to sign later this year. together the three pillars of infrastructure, tax reform and repeal and replace of obamacare are key to reaching the president's goal of a booming and vibrant american economy and the administration is going to continue to work every day to turn the president's promises into policies. looking ahead on friday, the president's commission on combating drug addiction and opioid crisis will be here on. it will be live streamed on president trump will welcome the indian prime minister to the white house on june 26. he looks forward to ways of strengthening the ties between the united states and india in promoting economic growth and reform and expanding security cooperation in the indo-pacific region. the two leaders will look to outline a common vision to the u.s.-india partnership that is
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worthy of india's 1.6 billion citizens. i want to wish the 41st president, george her besht walker bush, a happy 93rd birthday. i hope he has a happy celebration. with that i will take questions. reporter: thank you. on your india announcement, the president gave a speech to the [inaudible] in new jersey. if elected it will be the best [inaudible] what does the president want to implement his promise? mr. spicer: we know that the president and the prime minister had a number of positive phone conversations and expect to further the discussion when they meet in person on june 26. as i mentioned just a moment ago, whether it's economic growth and reform, fighting terrorism, expanding our cooperation, as major defense partners, u.s.-india trade has grown six-fold since 2000 from
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$19 billion to $115 billion in 2016, and the indian economy is growing at over 7%. u.s. energy and technologies including natural gas are helping to build prime minister modi's new vision for india and creating thousands of jobs in the process. you can expect the two of them to set forth a vision that will expand the u.s.-india partnership that is worthy. reporter: sean, thank you. two questions on trade. number one, you talked about the beef arrangement. is that beginning today? can you flush out a little bit more about what -- i know there will be an announcement from usda, will we wait for that? where are we in the progress? mr. spicer: the u.s. department of agriculture will have more details but the announcement is coming from them today. i think the announcement's coming today. reporter: secondly, my question is on steel and aluminum. thed president said -- and was quoted in one of the reports
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saying there is legislation being drafted on anti-dumping. the 232 process goes to congress anyway. was he referring to additional legislation or the 232 review that he already initial rated? -- iterated? mr. spicer: there are certain recommendations to address anti-dumping provisions in the steel and aluminum and other markets. so when that comes out, i think there will be recommendations to congress to follow up on how to rectify some of the problems. reporter: thank, sean. couple questions. first, does president have audio recordings of his conversations and meetings with former f.b.i. director comey? mr. spicer: he made an announcement in the rose garden when that will be. reporter: from the perspective of president trump, what role did attorney general jeff sessions play in the firing of james comey? mr. spicer: i am not going to
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discuss private conversations between the president and the attorney general. reporter: when jeff sessions testifies tomorrow, do you believe that he should invoke executive privilege on conversations between himself and the president? mr. spicer: it depends on the scope of the questions and to get into a hypothetical at this point would be premature. reporter: in any way, did jeff both at the d.o.j. ask for permission to testify publicly tomorrow? mr. spicer: i don't know the answer to that question. i know congress generally speaking sets the whether a hearing is open or closed based on the sensitivity of the subject. reporter: is the president ok him testifying in the open setting? mr. spicer: i think he's going to testify. we are aware of it. john. reporter: just to follow on that the president seemed to indicate he thought it was a mistake for jeff sessions to recuse himself from the russia investigation. he said it would be to the contrary on camera. what does the president think
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of the fact that sessions will be testifying tomorrow? and according to the department of justice wanted to testify in an open session rather than closed classified session? mr. spicer: i think the president was clear last week in the rose garden he believes the sooner we can get this addressed and dealt with, that there's been no collusion, he wants this to get investigated as soon as possible and be done it so we can continue with the business of the american people. reporter: if i could ask you about the other headline. the state of maryland, the district of columbia filing a lawsuit against the president seeking rulings on two points in the emoluments clause in the constitution. the r.n.c. thinks this is bogus lawsuit. what does the president, what's the white house's perspective? mr. spicer: the president's interest do not violate the emoluments claws for reason the department of justice following -- clause for reason the department of justice following with respect to the crew lawsuit which is the first one.
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this lawsuit today is just another iteration of the case filed by that group crew filed by the same lawyers. so it's not hard to conclude that partisan politics may be one of the motivations behind the seat. the suit was filed by two democratic attorney generals. the lawyers driving the suit are an advocacy group with partisan ties. it actually started with a press conference as opposed to filing it which is interesting. and the suit challenges the sort of business transaction that everyone from penny who served in the last administration and others have engaged while in office. i think we'll continue to move to dismiss this case in the normal course of business. reporter: thank you, sean. i wanted to just -- two questions. first, why leave open this question of whether there are tapes? don't the american people, do they deserve to know whether comey was lying to the senate? why leave this question open? mr. spicer: i think the president made it clear his
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intention friday. reporter: it's an open question. mr. spicer: he said he would answer in due time. reporter: to follow-up, speaking of lawsuit for the ninth circuit. they upheld the block of the travel ban. any response to that? mr. spicer: we're currently reviewing that opinion. i think we can all attest these are very dangerous times. we need every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the united states and committing acts of bloodshed and violence. we're confident that the president's executive order to protect this country is fully lawful and ultimately be upheld by the supreme court. reporter: two questions. i want to follow-up on an issue. the president does have evidence that the f.b.i. director lied under oath. what is he waiting for? mr. spicer: i think the president made it clear on friday. he would get back as soon as possible on this and his position on that conversation. reporter: what is he waiting for? what's the delay? mr. spicer: he's not waiting for anything. when he wants to further discuss it he will. he laid out his position very
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clearly and concisely friday. reporter: you mentioned you responded to the ninth circuit ruling today. that ruling also cites the president's tweets from june 5 on the travel ban. it cites your statement that this administration seems the president's tweets are official statements. so given that measure, given that the travel ban is obviously a priority for the president, how is it that the president is not putting his own agenda in danger when it comes to his twitter habits? mr. spicer: cases should be decided on the rule of law and on that and when you look at the -- when you look at what the law is in the u.s. code that allows the president to do whatever he -- that's what we are deciding on. frankly i think any lawyer with their salt 100% agrees the president is fully within his rights and his responsibilities to do what is necessary to protect the country. olivier. reporter: a question, though. to the twitter issue. mr. spicer: olivier. olivier, thank you.
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[laughter] reporter: sean what is the president's reaction to the russian government on anti-corruption protests today? mr. spicer: in general or with respect to? reporter: well, i assumed that would be part of the -- mr. spicer: i just wanted to be clear. the united states strongly condemns the detention of peaceful protessors throughout russia. it happened on june 12. detaining protesters, human rights activists and journalists. the united states will monitor the situation and call on the government of russia to immediately release all peaceful protesters. they deserve to support an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law and the ability to exercise their rights without fear or retribution. reporter: one more. the president mentioned a press conference on the isis review. did he say where and when and has he made a decision about changing the policy? mr. spicer: when we have an update on his schedule we will let you know.
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francesca. reporter: you said the president wants to have the russia investigations and all these investigations wrapped up as soon as possible. he said on friday he would be willing to testify under oath. can you say when he would be willing to do that? would he be willing to do that before congress goes to recess? mr. spicer: he was specifically asked whether or not he would talk to director mueller answered made it very clear what his position was. reporter: sorry. i just want to be very clear about this. so he's not saying he would go before congress? mr. spicer: i have not had a further discussion with that. i know exactly what he said friday on the -- in the rose garden is exactly what he believes. reporter: thank you, sean. two questions. does the president have a reaction to the vote in puerto rico yesterday, the nonbinding measure calling for statehood as the first choice? mr. spicer: this matter is something that's going to be determined now that the president have spoken in puerto rico.
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this is something that congress has to address. so the process will have to work its way out through congress. reporter: my other question was, there are widespread stories and explanation when the president goes to miami this friday, he will undue the sdemreck tiff orders from the obama administration -- executive orders from the obama administration that eased relations with could you bea. can you confirm if he will undo all of them or some of them? mr. spicer: we can try. i will say that when we have an anoupsment on the president's schedule -- announcement on the president's schedule we will let you know. we have a very busy week. ambitious agenda. george. reporter: following on some of the stories over the weekend in england, when the president signs off on a foreign trip, how much does he factor in his personal popularity in that country? mr. spicer: none. and so -- since you brought it up, just so we're clear on that, the -- her majesty
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extended an invitation to the president. he accepted the invitation and we look forward to scheduling that trip. there's nothing that was scheduled and we look forward to working on a mutually accessible date with the united kingdom. hank you, have a great monday. >> well, legislative business gets under way in about seven minutes in the u.s. house. members will consider a number of energy-related bills focusing on hydroelect trick power and energy efficiency in schools -- hydroelectric power and energy efficiency in schools. right now, though, a look at possible changes to plore-based health insurance from today's "washington journal." host: "washington journal" continues. is jamesble now gelfand. operation erisa industry committee. good morning.