tv MSNBC Live With Katy Tur MSNBC January 24, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PST
donald trump. after he fired fib director james comey, he asked acting director andrew mckay who he voted for and then railed on him for his wife's bid for senate seat. if the optics were bad, this is, quote, 100 times worse. remember, it was only yesterday that we were talking about reports the new fib director christopher ray was being pressured by the trump administration to get rid of agents like mckay. and new exclusive reporting today from nbc news. michael flynn kept the white house in the dark about his fbi interview. what happened after nbc's kara lee rise was an extraordinary sequence of event for the first year of a u.s. presidency that put donald trump right in the cross hairs of robert mueller.
we now know from multiple sources that robert mueller is zeroing in on the president's firing of james comey. >> michael flynn who talked to the fbi one year ago today tried to keep the entire thing secret from the white house. >> that one day a year ago today really set into motion a lot of things we're seeing now in terms of the obstruction of justice. >> there is now a incredible case of obstruction of justice against donald trump. >> i'm not going to sit here and say there was clearly obstruction. >> indicting a president of the united states on obstruction of justice isn't like going after you or me. prosecutors will call this a head shot. you can't miss. >> we're waiting on a white house press briefing, sarah huckabee sanders will likely face questions about the russia timeline and why presidential felt it was okay to ask who a career civil servant voted for. >> not to mention news again but
nbc news that mueller questioned firing acting attorney general sally yates, mike pompeo and mike rogers all with a connection to the firing of james comey. let's get to your exclusive reporting. kristin walker is at the white house. carol lee is the one who broke today's developments on flynn. and ellen broke the story on the andrew mccabe's oval office meeting with donald trump. she's with the "washington post." carol, the significance of michael flynn not telling white house about the interview, what is it? >> well, it's significant for a number of reasons. one, it gives us a window into what happened in this now very significant day one year ago. we also learned that michael flynn didn't have a lawyer with him in this interview. if you're representing michael
flynn, that would be a frustrating fact. he was notified by the fbi that they wanted to come talk to him, it was put on his scheduled. he didn't notify the national security council legal team. normally someone would sit in a meeting like that. he didn't have his personal lawyer with him either. generally, people we've talked to said that he just -- he kept people in the dark about that. one thing i would say, katy, there are instances where the fbi will say, hey, let's keep this confidential. >> you say that set off an extraordinary chain of events. so michael flynn is interviewed by the fbi, doesn't tell anyone about it. they figure out he was lying about the sanctions with russia. from there on, flynn falls, james comey falls, sally yates falls, and it goes on and on, a special counsel is brought in.
now donald trump is potentially being investigated for obstruction of justice. >> right. there's this fbi interview with michael flynn two days later. sally yates shows up and meets with don mcgahn saying he could be susceptible to blackmail by the russians as informs him flynn had been interviewed by the fbi two days yearly. the next day, the president called james comey and invites him to dinner at the white house. there's another data point in this case, the obstruction of justice inquiry. we've seen since then a number of other ones, whether it's the president asking comey to drop the flynn issue after flynn is fired allegedly or the firing of comey himself. there's been a number of things since this last interview. >> you say that the special counsel in addition to talking
to james comey also talked to united states united states. that should be expected. but you're breaking a little more news that he spoke to the cia director, the nsa director, and then one of your sources refers to them as peripheral witnesses, periphery witnesses. explain that. >> sure. we learned the cia director is among those who've been interviewed. by periphery witnesses, they're not the center of the obstruction of justice case. this was related to perhaps some pressure that the president may have put on these folks to take steps that could potentially be seen as obstruction of justice. so they're not seen as central to a witness in the way james comey himself would be. that's what they mean by peripheral. >> got it. kristen, have the white house reacted yet to this? we're waiting on a press
briefing, but do we have anything from anybody in there? >> no official reaction yet, katy. but the white house has been very consistent in its messaging. they say that this investigation is moving apace and will be concluded soon. the president's legal team has been in contact with the special counsel's team. they're trying to figure out what interview he would sit for or submit answers to written questions. those details are still being worked out behind the scenes. the bottom line is that this is increasingly getting closer to the oval office himself, the revelation of all those people being interviewed by the special counsel's team. in addition, condominium condominium. this is getting closer to the president. nothing gets under the president's skn more than this. this is a page he would like to turn rather quickly. tonight he'll be leaving for
davos, the world economic forum there. so we'll try to get questions before he takes off. this is something looming over that trip as well. >> ellen, you coauthored that reporting. bring us into that room. >> this was a meeting that trump called to get to know the man who would become the next director, the acting direct of the fbi just after trump had fired jim comey as fbi director. the meeting began with an exchange of pleasantries, but after some time, trump asked mccabe what some would find an inappropriate question, which was who did he vote for in the 2016 presidential election, and mccabe answered he did not vote. but that wasn't all.
in this meeting, and this is the part that perhaps made mccabe feel the most unfortunately. trump showed his anger at mccape over political contributions his wife received when she was running for a seat in the virginia, and received nearly $500,000 from a political action committee controlled by the governor of virginia, associate of bill and hillary clinton. >> he's gone off on twitter about that a couple times. ellen, any idea of andrew mccabe took that question who he voted for as an innocent question, i am getting to know you question, or did he feel it implied a
little more, loyalty in the way james comey said he was asked for loyalty? >> i suspect more the latter in the sense that i know he found these conversations disconcerting, disturbing even. and colleagues, friends within the bureau thought so as well. this conversation or exchange is also, i'm told, off peripheral interest to the mueller team, the special counsel team. >> i'm not surprised by that. certainly if they're investigating obstruction of justice, whether or not donald trump is asking his -- the people in his administration are people in the fbi for some semblance of loyalty, i'm sure that would come up. kristin walker at the white house, carol lee and ellen nakashima of "the washington
post." benjamin is a msnbc legal analyst and friend of former fbi director james comey. the reporting that the president asked the acting director who he voted for, donald trump or hillary clinton. mccabe says he didn't vote for anybody. today the head of the rnc, mcdaniel, was asked about this meeting on cnn. here's how she explained where donald trump came from. >> i know this is a big story. i think it's just a conversation. i don't think it intends all these terrible things that people are trying to put forward. >> was it inappropriate. >> i don't know. i asked people who they vote for sometimes. it's trying to get to know somebody. i don't think the intentions are as bad as being put out. >> the rnc isn't denying it but she believes it's donald trump saying i want to get to know you, know who you are, andrew.
tell me who you voted for. what are your politics? >> a message for mcdaniels, if you ever meet an fbi agent, don't ask that question. it is very hard to overstate how inappropriate that question is with respect to somebody who is career law enforcement officer, particularly one who's involved in highly politically sensitive investigations, and particularly after you fired his boss for not being sufficiently loyal and not clearing you publicly in an investigation after you asked him to drop an investigation of your national security adviser, he declined, and after you publicly said your political opponent in the prior election should be in prison.
and it's just really hard to overstate what a breach of propriety that is with respect to this particular type of career civil servant. >> ellen mentioned one of her sources says this is of interest to robert mueller. >> there's a few possibilities, one is there is a whole sequence of events involving trump's interactions with law enforcement involving the russia investigation. and if you're bob mueller, you want to know all of them. you want to know exactly how the president interacted with the law enforcement apparatus over this set of issues because you've got to decide in the totality of the circumstances what to make of that set of interactions. the second thing is critical to any obstruction investigation is the question of the subject's state of mind, obstruction of justice is a specific intent set
of crimes, that the same exact conduct can be obstruction or not be obstruction, depending on what you intended to do when you did the act in question. and so any interactions that reflect on the president's state of mind in his interactions with law enforcement are inherently of interest to an obstruction investigation of this type. >> we're talking a lot about obstruction lately, and mueller focusing on that in regards to the president of the united states. does that mean that that is all his investigation is focused on? can this be considered low-hanging fruit? >> no. i think it certainly doesn't mean that's all they're working on. we know they're working on other things too because, for example, they indicted paul manafort and rick gates on matters that have nothing to do with the obstruction component of the
investigation. they've also indicted george papadopoulos and mike flynn on matters that are not -- or in flynn's case, only distantly related. but in papadopoulos' case, not at all related. the reason we're all focused on the obstruction component right now is that the investigative elements of that matter seem to be cottaming to a head. normally you would do an investigation like this in the follow stages. first, you gather all the documents, and then you interview all the people involved from the bottom up. and over the last few weeks, we've seen interviews with people who are at the very top of this hierarchy of events, and that does indicate that the matter is sort of coming to fruition or to a head or is
going to peter out. but that we're working toward the end of this investigative steps. >> ben, one more question. this is regarding the new nbc news exclusive reporting about michael flynn being interviewed by the fbi and not telling white house about it. carol lee learned peter strzok did the interview with michael flynn. if the name is familiar, that's because he's been in the news quite a bit about those text messages, the anti-text messages against president trump. he's now being used by supporters of the president and those in the white house to say that this is a way that the fbi isn't necessarily fair to donald trump. what's going to be made of him doing the interview with michael flynn? and is this a dent in the mueller investigation? >> well, it's certainly an embarrassment. look, i think people will try to make as much of it as he contact
because peter strzok clearly behaved inappropriately and expressed things that you shouldn't be writing as an fbi agent on a case and that is why bob mueller removed him from the matter long before it became public. that said, there is no indication, at least not that i've seen, that anything about the michael flynn interview or any other investigative step taken by the mueller investigation was inappropriate. in the michael flynn case, we have a real piece of evidence that the fbi did not behave inappropriately which is michael flynn pled guilty to lying in that interview. his lawyers would have been entitled to raise any concern they had about the circumstances of his interview and not only did they not do it, but they had him plead guilty and he pled guilty to the offense charged.
to whatever extent peter strzok may have engaged in inappropriate activity, it does seem like harmless error in the context of mike flynn. >> thank you for joining us. once again we're waiting for that white house press briefing to begin. it should start at any moment. let's get to another report on how felons and people under foreign influence have gotten national security clearances. joining me from washington is national security and justice reporter juliaanesly. lay it out for us. >>, yes katy. this is really interesting. according to a report from the department of defense, 165 defense contractors got national security clearance at the interim level, meaning they were able to work up to one or two years just at that level while the rest of their background was checked out. they found people who slipped through initial security
clearance check had felonies, one included the rape of a child this. person was allowed to work for two more years getting these national security briefings. it also calls into question whether or not people should be working at the white house like jared kushner with an interim security clearance. it's a point that elijah cummings is making today. he's calling on the white house to be as transparent as the defense department saying that they too probably have the same level of fail rate, that these interim security clearances are not something that people should be operating on for a long time because they're missing these huge things. >> jared kushner still is operating on an interim security clearance, right? >> that's right. we know at least as of last week that was still the case, katy. from reaction i've gotten to this article so far, jared kushner's name is really coming
to the surface. he gets presidential daily briefings, which is a lot more than these defense contractors are getting. he's sitting in on these high-level meetings. the fbi's had to go back again and again while he updates his financial disclosures. >> julia, thank you very much. senator chuck schumer pulled his offer for the wall. where does that leave d.r.e.a.m.ers? i'll ask congressman charlie dent next. pssst. what?
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there are two efforts under way. i use the term loosely because they're in the early stages. one of them is among senators of both parties. there'll be a meeting this afternoon to see if we can agree to some ground rules. >> senators are racing to agree on a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would protect the 800,000 d.r.e.a.m.ers. but in the last 24 hours, they effectively went back to square
one. senate democratic leader chuck schumer pulled an offer to provide the president with funding for the border one at a time he explained last night to rachel maddow. >> i sit down with president trump on friday and offered him quite a bit. i said if we do full d.r.e.a.m.ers, we'll give you the deal, and he basically agreed. so we were close. then he backed off. so now wive taken the wall off the table because they backed out of that deal. >> president trump responded this morning in a presidential statement via twitter, if there's no wall, theres no daca. joining me in the newsroom is "new york times" columnist michelle goldburg. michelle, you have an op-ed about this today saying senator schumer sold out the resistance. >> i think that although i understand some of the political arguments in favor of ending the shutdown early and i understand
that he was dealing with a rebellion in his caucus, we ended up in a situation where democrats are further away from a deal having shown their willingness to cave and their inability to take heat on this issue. meanwhile you have no movement from the president who feels like he's gone a big win out of this issue who's now going to be able to deliver his state of the union to a government that's open instead of one that shows him to be a chaotic president who can't lead. and you have a demoralized democratic base. a massive protest that happened this weekend. people all over this country, over a million people took to the streets and one of their demands was democrats stay strong and fight on daca and fight on the d.r.e.a.m.ers. they feel really disappointed by
what happened. >> political cowarepublicans ha. if trump had to delivery his state of the union to a nonfunctioning government it would have underliends the sense he's a chaos president. instead democrats reinforced their reputation f. >> liberals don't fight is the reputation, they're afraid of the right-wing base than they are of their own bakers so they're not willing to really stand up for what they believe in and take political heat if it means kind of suffering through a few weeks of bad poll numbers. >> if they had kept the government shutdown through state of the union, what do you think the response would have been from the american electorate. >> we can't know that. the polls show that it breaks
down in party lines. most blamed either blamed trump or the democrats. i don't think that how this played out was not -- it's not written in stone. it has to do with the arguments that democrats make on their own behalf and their ability to communicate what they're doing and why it's worth it. >> let's listen to more of senator chuck schumer explaining his reasoning and responding to the criticism last night on the rachel mad dow show. >> we're doing everything we can. but what people have to understand is, we don't have a magic wand. if we become the majority next year, if the house becomes the majority, we will get d.r.e.a.m.ers. now, obviously we don't have the time with what trump has done, but we have a chance in february. do not give up. we're only four senators short.
this last three days has focused more attention on the d.r.e.a.m.ers than ever before. >> is that true? there might be a bipartisan solution in the senate for the d.r.e.a.m.ers, but the house said no game, we're not playing with that. the durbin/graham deal is a no go. >> the sick thing here is we have a bipartisan solution that could pass the house and the senate, right? if paul ryan was willing to take up a deal that had bipartisan support instead of sticking to the hastert rule. so we already have this process that is high jacked by the nativist anti-immigrant fringe. republican party which also has significant influence in the
white house. a lot of the people in power in the republican party don't want to make a deal, zmaiand we're g to start to see d.r.e.a.m.ers get deported. >> michelle goldberg of "the new york times," thank you very much. charlie dent, republican congressman of pennsylvania joins us. i want to mention one thing to our viewers. joe manchin all but confirmed this morning that he asked schumer to tend shutdown by saying i'm going to resign -- not resign, i'm not going to run for re-election if you don't do this. so charlie, let's get back to the house and republicans in the house. we were talking just the other day on "meet the press" daily how you felt the hastert rule would imply there's enough pressure to put on the outliars and paul ryan to make a deal on d.r.e.a.m.ers. are you still so confident? yesterday steve scalise said
this is never going to happen. >> i tell you what's never going to happen, katy. there's not going to be an "a" republican-only bill signed into law on daca and border security. a lot of the energy in the house is being spent on one bill, which is going to go nowhere in the senate. it's a fantasy, we all know that. it'll come to the house and there will be tremendous pressure on the house to take that bill up. there are at least six daca d.r.e.a.m.er proposals out there, and i can tell you if there is a bipartisan bill that gets out of the senate, the house will be forced to take this up. i'm convinced of it, and i think the hastert rule is going to have to be set aside. we'll have to deal with it. that's just reality. there's going to be so much pressure. i can't imagine how we would stand that in the house.
>> whos the pressure going to be coming from? who's pressuring paul ryan? where is the pressure coming from, i should say. >> the pressure will be coming from many of the members in marginal and swing districts and republican members who are in tough election fights. many of them feel strongly about this issue. we have members in california and florida and colorado who feel very strongly about accommodating these d.r.e.a.m.ers and taking care of them. but politically, they need it. so the choice of the house leadership will be do they accommodate their most vulnerable members in the general election or accommodate members in deep red districts who don't want any action at all? that's the who i say the leadership has to make. >> if they vote on anything resembling amnesty that they're worried about it being taken on by someone even more to the
right than them. even if the republicans -- >> can i answer that? >> go ahead. >> the answer to that is, i said this to leadership many times, why are primaries more important than marginal districts? cry me a river. go out and beat the guy. just go beat him. stop crying about it. do your work and go pound them. that's what you should do. >> i'm sorry. one last question. the president doesn't seem like he's going to want to sign any sort of bipartisan deal. sarah huckabee sanders said the deal in the senate, lindsey graham dick durbin deal was doa. are you confident the white house is going to sign something if you send it to them? >> i'm not confident right now that the white house will sign something. but our job as members of congress is to pass legislation. and i say let's fas legislation that we can agree on in a bipartisan manner, send it to
the president and make him decide. we'll put in language he'll like on border security. there'll be some accommodations on the family migration issue and diversity visa lottery. there will be changes he should like. whether he chooses to sign or veto is up to him, but make him decide. >> pennsylvania congressman charlie dent. in your honor, sir, go eagles. >> go eagles, fly, eagles, fly. more on the fbi. an incredible moment as former doctor of usa gymnastics was sentenced this afternoon, up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting athletes he treated. over the last few days, larry nasser was confronted in the courtroom by 156 victims. nasser himself spoke for the first time during today's sentencing.
[ inaudible ] >> but the judge in that case, rose marie was not squad, and she delivered a harsh review ahead of the sentence itself. >> you did this for your pleasure and your control. this letter which comes two months after your plea tells me that you have not yet owned what you did, that you still think somehow you are right, that you are are "a" doctor, and that you're entitled and you don't have to listen, and that you did treatment. i wouldn't send my dogs to you, sir. >> he's already serving a 60-year sentence for pornography
charges. earlier today the ncaa announced it would launch on investigation into michigan state university of for potential rules violations in regards to nasser. we'll be right back. it naturally begins to change, causing a lack of sharpness, or even trouble with recall. thankfully, the breakthrough in prevagen helps your brain and actually improves memory. the secret is an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember.
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inquirer," the 62 lawmakers revealed he developed an affection for his younger aide, but after he found out she was in a serious relationship with another man, he says he reacted poorly. meehan later wrote her a letter complimenting the aide saying you are kind and sensitive and caring and infectious with your laugh. you are and have been a complete partner to me and you have brought me much happiness. let's bring in the reporter who interviewed congressman meehan, jonathan tamari. what sort of vibe did you get from the congressman there? did he understand that he might have crossed the line? >> no, in fact, this was his defense. he was saying that he was trying to keep things above board, that he was hoping by expressing these feelings he would prevent them from being going somewhere inappropriate. to him this was his argument for why he didn't necessarily do
anything wrong or commit sexual harassment and should continue in office and continue running. it was a surprising defense to me. i don't think it played well with a lot of people who read it. his argument was this was innocent. >> he said that they were soul mates, a lot of folks would think that was inappropriate, especially since the imply was married, also she worked for him. i have to go to sarah huckabee sanders. she just started the briefing. >> -- here in the united states. as you all know, this week is national school choice week. secretary devos has been a strong leader on this issue for many years and she was doing a great job leading the charge at the department of education. the president released a proclamation officially declaring this national school choice week. to maintain our leadership and strengthen your modern economy, he wrote america's education system must prepare students for the unforeseen challenges of the future by giving parents more
control ivory their children's education. we're making strides toward a future of unprecedented educational attainment and freedom of choice. i encourage parents to explore innovative and educational alternatives and i challenge students to dream big for the futures they deserve. i also inch state and federal lawmakers to embrace school choice and enact policies that strengthen communities. on the nomination front we're pleased to see jerome powell to be confirmed. and we're pleased to see alex aczar cleared his final hurdle. we look forward to his confirmation so he can continue working to lower health care costs and increase the quality of care for all americans. finally before taking your questions, i would like to deliver a statement regarding
the path forward on immigrants. last fall there was a list of the core reforms necessary to fix euro immigration system. these reforms were assembled with career public servants who know what is necessary to keep america safe. since that time, president donald trump and his administration have hosted dozens of meetings with republican and democrat leadership and rank and file members of the house and senate to discuss these reforms and find a bipartisan path forward. based on these negotiations, the white house will release a legislative frame work on mobbed that represents a compromise that members of both parties can support. we encourage the senate to bring it to the floor. this framework will secure the border and closing legal loopholes, ending extended family chain migration, cancelling the visa lottery, and providing a permanent solution on daca. after decades of inaction by
congress, it's time we work together to solve this issue once and for all. the american people deserve no less. and with that i'll take your questions. >> first on that immigration announcement. does that have include a path of citizenship for recipients? >> if i told you now, it would take away the fun for monday. we will, again, rolling out some of the specifics of the framework of that legislation we'd like to see on monday. i'm not going to go further than we have in laying out the principles we already have over the last several days. >> the davos trip. today when you said that he supported -- that he was pleased to see a weaker dollar. does that reflect accurately the president's view of u.s. currency? >> currently we have a stable dollar because of how well the
u.s. is doing. it's as powerful as it's ever been and it's the reserve currency of the world. that's the official position at the white house. >> the white house prefers a stronger dollar than a weaker dollar? >> we believe in three-floating currency. the president's always believed in that and we have a stable dollar in large part to how well the u.s. economy is doing right now. >> does the president making a habit of asking career government officials their voting habits? >> not that i'm aware of, no. >> did he ask andrew mccabe how he voted? >> looked, the president and andrew mccabe have had limited conversations. i can't get into the details of what was discussed. i wasn't there. there are widespread reports of his retirement. we're making sure we're focused on the fbi and doj serving all americans fairly and efficiently. and we're going to move forward from there. >> it's a yes-or-no question, he did or didn't ask.
>> i wasn't in the room, i don't know what was discussed. i know he didn't ask me. i can tell you that. >> does the president trust the fbi and the people who work at the fbi? >> he certainly has 100% confidence in director ray. that's why had he put him there. he feels like he is the right person to lead the fbi. he has confidence in the rank and file members of the fbi. we're not going to let a few bad actors tarnish the entire group. that's why director ray is there. any changes that needed to be made he'll make those changes. >> the justice department is threatening 23 so-called sanctuary cities including new york, chicago, and los angeles with subpoenas. if they fail to provide dominates show whether local law enforcement officials are sharing information with federal immigration authorities. what's the white house's view on this? and the fallout from that
appears to have affected the attendance of some mayors to the event. >> the white house is clear we don't support sanctuary cities. we support enforcing and following the law. that is the department of justice's job is to do exactly that. if mayors have a problem with that, they should talk to congress, the people that pass the laws. department of justice enforces them, and as long as that is the law, the department of justice is going to strongly enforce zit how will that impact the white house's relationship with some of the larger city mayors in this country which they have pledged to not only work hand in hand in major policy issues, in particular with infrastructure? >> we would love to work with these mayors particularly on infrastructure, but we cannot allow people to pick and choose what laws they want to follow. if we have a country with no laws, then nothing matters. so we cannot allow a few individual people to decide they don't want to follow the rules.
you guys wouldn't be allowed to do that in your own networks and outlets, and the federal government cannot allow people to act independently and completely ignore the law. major? >> in the development of this compromise framework you're going to release on monday, how closely did the president and his staff work with the house republican leadership? >> look, we've been working with both skmous senate members. we had dozens of conversations with them. and the framework that you see on monday will be borne out of a lot of those conversations that we've had with a number of members, both republicans, democrats, house, and senate. >> is it the president's belief once that's presented that will be a package that could pass the house of representatives? >> we would certainly like to think so. we have taken into account all the conversations we had both at the presidential and the staff level and tried to incooperate that. >> if it passes the house and the senate --
>> i don't think a legislative passes doesn't help us much. >> you understand the difference? the perception is in the senate it would come down in one form and would not be passed in the house. my question is, do you think you can bridge that. and based on your conversations, is it your goal to do that? >> i want to see a legislative package that addresses the four things we laid out that can pass both the house and senate and make it to the president's desk. >> reporter: we can help actually fix our immigration system. >> therefore it's different than what you previously discussed either with senator schumer or lindsey graham or dick durbin? >> it addresses the four principles we talked about all along. and we think, again, takes into account all of the conversations that we've had turnover last several months. john? >> thanks a lot, sarah. steve bannon, the former chief strategist for the president in the next few weeks will likely come before the special counsel's office to submit to an
interview with the special counsel's office. will the president be invoking executive privilege to prevent any part of his testimony? >> i can't speak to the specifics of that. the white house has been fully cooperative and will continue to do so. >> the privilege is one that only the president can invoke, as you may recall he did not invoke it when former fbi director james comey testified before the senate intelligence committee. as you mentioned many times, the president has mentioned many times, there is no collusion. >> i'm glad you guys are starting to echo that too. if you could say it more and more when you're on your networks, that would be really helpful. >> why would the president want to invoke executive privilege after not doing so for the former fbi director?
>> i'm not going to walk through hypothetical situations. the white house will remain and continue to be fully cooperative with the special counsel and allow them to work through their process. right so the president's posit on immigration positioned himself in the center between the house and the democrats in the senate. the democrats seem to be moving further left and with rich on border while funding. what is the benefit of the president being in that position as negotiates move forward. >> the prose is in a position to lay out the framework. there is nothing on the table that addresses all of the concerns that we feel like brings all of the various stakeholders to the table like this framework does. and the president wants to lead on this issue and that is exactly what we're going to do and you'll see more details of that on monday. kristen. >> what was the president's relation to learning his former national security adviser
michael flynn didn't tell him he was [ inaudible ]. >> i'm not going to get into the details of anything on this case. if you have specific dwes, you have to reach out the to special counsel. >> [ inaudible ]. >> i haven't spoke to him. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> i'm not sure. >> and does the president still think that michael flynn is a quote, unquote, [ inaudible ]. >> i haven't asked him. >> and you said you hadn't asked the president whether he asked how ant rue mccabe converted, that is one of the leading stories of the day. >> that is not the leading story that most americans care about. all of the polling that any american in here would take, i would very seriously doubt that -- any person in america would list that as an issue they care about. and frankly that is what we're focused on. >> can you ask him and get us an answer. >> i'll let you know. >> john. >> thank you, sarah. two brief questions. first, housekeeping matter. it is been reported unofficially that the president will host
french president emmanuel macron and his wife at his first state dinner coming up this april, i believe. will you confirm that the president macron will be his guest and make a state visit here. >> yes, i can confirm that that will be the first state visit. the date is till being finalized and we don't have that yetton did you -- yet done but as soon as we do, we'll let you know, a. >> and recently district courts in russia have vowed that. [ inaudible question ] would not be allowed on the ballot and ep has run into efforts that have kept him from having a competitive election twens preside -- against president putin. does the white house have any feelings about that and the russian election. >> i'll have to get back to you on that. >> on the president nominating charles redding to be the irs
commissioner. >> we don't have any personnel announcements on that front at this point. >> and another question, in light of the fake news awards last week, wanted to ask -- there has been reports about -- the e.u. commission has set up a panel to investigate fake news, other european democracies, allies have set up panels to look into fake news, saying their trying to protect the democracy, this has some people concerned about government's looking into deciding what is truth and not true. can you say in light of what the president has talked about in fake news, that this is not something that the u.s. government should ever do. >> look, we certainly believe in a free press. but we also believe in a fair and accurate press. hunter. >> thank you. was the president speaking more metaphorically when he promised to build a solid wall that was over 30 to 50 feet high along
the border? >> look, the president has always guaranteed he will build a wall and that is exactly what he intended to do. over the past several years, i know he's talked about what that could look like. and in some places we have natural bayyer -- barriers that you don't need the wall and in other places where it is desperately needed as determined by law enforcement officials and dhs. that is where we would put the wall. >> what his actual vision of the call look like? >> i think you'll see more of those details laid out in the framework on monday. >> from the 30 to 50 foot physical barrier. >> you'll see the details laid on out monday. maggie. >> thanks. the president said repeatedly there was no collusion between the campaign and russia. can you define what he means when he said collusion? is he talking about meetings between officials or information exchanging hands what does that -- >> i think the accusation against the president is that he had help winning the election and that is untrue.
he won because he was the better candidate and he worked harder and he had a message that america came out and supported and voted for him. that is why he won. it wasn't because of some pead up hoax created to delegitimize this president because he was the best candidate at the right time that america wants to see and that is why he's in the oval office today. >> does he think that the reporting from the intelligence community saying that there was hacking that went on done by russia, does he -- he rejects that? >> no, he's addressed that. but that doesn't mean he participated in it. i think those are very different things. stating the existence of something happening is very different than having helped make it happen. and you can't con flate the two. and i think oftentimes that is what individuals are trying to do. >> right. does he mean that about himself or the campaign officials when he says collusion between the campaign, does he mean himself or does he mean that no one on his campaign could have done
anything? >> look, i think he's stating for himself and to anything that he would be a part of or know about or have sanctioned but that is something that again i think he's very clearly laid out. he and his campaign had nothing to do with. roberta. >> sarah, you talked about the stability of the u.s. dollar. but today when secretary nations spoke about the u.s. dollar it went -- it sent the dollar down to a three-year low. so i'm wondering whether the white house has concerns about the way he casually talked about the value of the dollar and whether you could say unequivocally whether the white house brings in a strong dollar policy. >> as i said, we believe in a free floating currency and that is always the president's police chief. we still very strongly believe we have a stable dollar and that is a good thing and that is why it is the reserve currency. i don't have anything else further to add on that front. >> thanks, sarah. does the white house still
maintain its commitment to representati representative meadows and tom cotton that they would sign off on any bill and be consulted with [ inaudible ]. >> we've been consulting with those sliindividuals and other members of congress and incorporated a lot of those thoughts and ideas into this framework that you'll see on monday. take one last question. peter. >> sarah, let me ask you, on tuesday it was a high school of kentucky and monday a school outside of dallas, a charter school parking lot in new orleans, there have been 11 shootings at school in the first 23 days of this year, in october after the vegas shoot ug said it was an unspeakable tragedy and a day for consoling survivors and morning those that were lost and said there was a time and place for political debate. what has the president done since october to prevent any of the shootings from taking place. >> look, i think first and foremost, to recognize that any loss of life is incredibly sad
and any shooting at any school across this country is something that should never happen. students fearing for their lives while they are attempting to get an education is unacceptable. certainly in this administration and by this administration the president believes that all americans deserve to be safe in their schools and in their communities. we've had two years of increased violence prior to the president taking office. we've tried to crack down on crime throughout the country. the president instructed his administration to make the recent crime wave a top priority. some of the things they've accomplished in that process and been focused on is they've charged more defendants with violent crime offenses than in any year in decades, they've charged the most federal firearm prosecutions in a decade. and they've convicted 12 h00 ga members and took down drug trafficking organizations in an attempt to create safer and better communities and safer schools. thank you so much.
>> [ inaudible question ]. you said we all agree we want students to be safe at school. that is not in dispute and we agree we don't went there to be crime. but what is the president doing -- you said at time today is not the day -- >> i just read off the things he is doing. >> we should have a policy conversation, so the question is what is the policy the president is willing to pursue or actively direct others to pursue that others are safe. >> they instructed atf to do a thorough review on firearm provisions and that is ongoing and submitted to the office of management and budget. we're going through that process and that policy discussion is taking place. at the same time, the president is instructed the department of justice to crack down and make the crime wave that took place long before the president ever came into office a major priority. and you're seeing that happen. you're seeing the department of justice that is being active, empowering law enforcement to crack down on crime and that is what results i just read out to you show, is that they are
putting the focus on that. >> we agree [ inaudible question ]. >> they are part of a crime wave, absolutely. you can't completely separate the two. they are a part of domestic violence and it is a part of a crime wave we are focused on addressing and you could see the things that we've done since taking office. >> and can the he tell americans what he -- [ inaudible question ]. >> i think he has. peter. hold on. i was commit and let you finish. but let me be very clear. fact that you are accusing the president of being complicit in a school shooting is outrageous. >> i'm not. it is his advertise that accused the democrats of being complicit on a different topic. i'm not accusing the president of anything. i'm- >> ignoring the safety and security of our boarders is different. the president has instructed the top law enforcement agency in this country to crack down on crime and