'Briefing Room': Spicer says Russia meeting was about adoptions

ABC News' White House producers and reporters break down today's press briefing.
25:18 | 07/17/17

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Transcript for 'Briefing Room': Spicer says Russia meeting was about adoptions
Welcome to the briefing room where ABC news politics is going to break down everything that you just saw at least you heard on my back at the podium capital as the White House reporter. Joining joining us right here Johnson Tucci who covered the cup champion probably more events than any. They went over the courts. It. That we don't want to today the eighties in the Washington Post poll and president getting on an ambulance at the White House fire I'm sorry oh my god yeah other kind of effort the vehicle. The emergency though Russia the big story our ABC news chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl is joining us from just outside that briefing room where he was and John. I wanna play this again because I think it's an important explanation we heard today from John Spicer on Russia it seems to take the story backwards not Boortz that. Let's. Let you know not any games this is excess. But I will say that. That is quite often for people who are given information during the heat of the campaign. Two to ask what that is that's what simply he did the president's made it clear through his tweet. And and there was nothing they as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe it there was anything except for discussion about adoption Nijinsky act. I would refer you back to councils well. So as as he's honest and allows us plaza at the podium with a not paying attention is the last week because a whole lot happened that establishes actually quite the opposite. It was really strange I had to listen to a couple of times after the briefing was over to picture I have heard him right I mean. You get the sense that he didn't read in newspaper over the past week or so I mean. He said there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe there was anything. Except for a discussion about adoption. And name as he missed perhaps the magnets the act. That that that's so incredibly strange because we have Don juniors emails which came out last Tuesday. Which said that this meeting was set up. With that with a promise of of information about Hillary Clinton. About negative information and Hillary Clinton tied to the Russian government I mean. Cracked me if I'm wrong Rick but that it was a four pages of emails. About this meeting. And I didn't see anything that reference either that make it's the act or adoption I didn't see the word adoption. In any of those four pages of emails so. I don't know that was really strange opted to show owns credit here he did say what I would refer you back to council on now one you know. Rick this this kind of brings me back to the accident is I spent some time here. And on Capitol Hill during the the the days of the Lewinsky scandal Clinton administration and Mike McCurry was the Press Secretary and he had a a a a strict policy did not deal with questions related to the independent counsel investigation. Or the lawsuits that were brought against. The president referred those either outside counsel. Or to Lanny Davis who was inside but but but dealt with legal issues might be a good idea on do it. And at the summit of the debt have the president tweeting and the fact that on your first thing this morning worst thing this morning right. Right now. Witness investing in. The president would you ice we know. Don't talk about everybody is after. Mark all let he. For hours at the White House accuses. Me completely Johns. You know copies. He could. Instantly reflected on what he's eating and it. And as though he's not intention what's happening right now in the news cycle. That IP is email. But but John get a sense that that part of the reason for that is that the president himself. Wants to see his people and aged on this fighting back. So I mean did you for for the president sitting back and watching or guess in this case you have to be listening. I wanted to hear simply you know why you have to talk to somebody else about that seems like somebody on his team was not stepping forward and and and taken on the fight. You think that I mean rightly quizzes him reaching for one. Both that easily mean president. An active watcher TV installed flat screen TV. In the White House in order watched the briefing so that he has something like that he thought. East this weekend. That he. Tonight as a guy I didn't realize that I don't you know I don't know the answer that you know jobs I don't know attitude to I don't know I don't know I'm speculating. Likely like the idea that is it on camera for one person. And I think I it would be right into the. To acquire back. The other thing that he's watching right now John you know this is of course this battle over health care what's going on up and you know we thought we would get. The CBO's court today now hearing more likely tomorrow but regardless. It seems like we're back and get a vote on for the next couple weeks obviously it's incident with Senator McCain went under. On surgery. That the White House is still not backing down source lice are seeing in the briefing. The president's going to be hosting several senators tonight for dinner. Yeah I didn't say which senators would be coming what I I thought that was it stinks what I have been told. Is that that votes is now quite likely to be pushed off. Until not just a week or two what Intel's September we may not see a vote this summer on it it all depends of course. On when Senator McCain cable travel again this was pretty serious surgery. And you know he's not going to be to position travel it's been suggested to me that it could be not just a week but several weeks which would what you into the middle of the August recess and a vote. You know sometime after Labor Day. So Mary Bruce joining us from Capitol Hill what's the buzz on the hill about situations Senator McCain they seem to be downplaying it in the least the public statement. But as John points out as this might not just be a couple of days. The bus but here's a lot of uncertainty look this is another big surprise twist in the Republican request to overhaul obamacare and let's be honest there's been quite a few. And right now. He's uncertain and now the time line. Of this is Unser following of course this surgery that John McCain had over the weekend now you know it is teen says he's not expected up here this week. Question is when we'll be back out here let's remind everyone of the map here right Republicans. Can only afford. New Republican votes if they want this thing passed and they aren't losses Q. Writing off senator Rand Paul at Boston College which means just one more no vote and think this bill in. Irony they eat every single Romney Republican senators get on board is that they had any hope of passing. And right now by our count got I've had a huge map was the right now by art house at least nine. Senate Republicans are still on the sentiment deep concerns about that that's a reading the amount of room that they have to me four and one of them Senator John McCain. So not only did they need him back here in Washington before they even think about trying out this vote to have a vote but also need him to get on board to win. The question now we did you know that this expert Phil lay did it. After that health. Leaders leader McConnell does this help Republicans frank get more support for their pillar does it hurt that. You remember this entire process happened largely behind closed doors are a lot of criticism that this process has been rushed. And certainly opponents of the bill say extra time will only hurt. Republican hopes you're getting it built anywhere. And what about dinner. What's the with them right now it's grew by eight. I've been struck by how absent the White House been through so much this process Berry are there a couple of really persuade the ones that might be dying tonight. At that that's the question it right I have to say our team it's our thumbs are burning we're trying to figure out emailing everyone calling it like me who exactly. Has received this invitation Johns thanks and it's not that one. Into the briefing there but as John mentioned what a lot of criticism that the president has not exactly been making up in public cell. For this Anita back to sign it almost seems more engaged in the house was happening there version of the bill I haven't talked a lot of Republican senators appears say that. Their phone is ringing off the hook with calls from the president and his team. That sent the president certainly has seemed quite eager to ramp up the pressure on senate Republicans who heard him. Last week saying they can't get this done he will be angry he said that that ancient. We'll be very upset that they have to get this done the question is just. How and how are they going to reach this incredibly deep divide that still remain than its worth a reminder this is just one part of the Republican Party that would think concerns. Both sides of the ideological spectrum that raise serious issues with his family got. Moderates say it rolls back too much you've got conservatives on the flip side it doesn't go far not got this back and forth he thought here. And haven't been able to strike that balance yet and it's certainly. Doesn't seem to simply delaying a fine themselves more time is and a help that meeting didn't want. They've eaten by a couple votes overnight you look at the White House but an. Earnings to be seen at going to be an interesting an interesting dinner that night. Well we don't have the extra scoop of ice cream and man. An X Ers made it out because I didn't want. You can really got into that senators. And meeting with and then he was on the red last week he's been up to the cap capital Hellman and meet the governor. Governors sound. So that John back to you because we hurt we hurt the possibility of news a little bit later today on the year on the we know that so far the White House's push this board certified arise keeping up its end of the bargain but that's fights are saying. If there be an announcement imminently what's what what's the expectation it will hear anything today. Well there has been now we we have been expecting we hear something today with interest in fact we had expected to be a briefing. At the White House today on this but that did not happen in one child was asked directly about this. He referred. Questions to the State Department so. So I guess that these whatever happens on this if it happens will come from Rex Tillerson the secretary of state. Over their in foggy bottom I thought it was actually in the midst of that discussion now while he wasn't directly answering. What they were gonna do on the Iran deal the president was asked about the Chinese American student who. Was sentenced to ten years in prison in a wrong in Indian in a move that was seeing. You know is as as as a great violation troubles asked about this. And was very muted in his response. A very muted response. Theaters anymore coming out I it's I've read a little something guys into the fact that he's hunting to stay on that because we know so much from the secretary Phillips and so frustrated. With what he sees that the White House and if this is a big announcement is imminent was excellent in driving the train. The ambulance fire or whatever vehicle they get to that Garcia hit. What do you guys thank you to do something there for them for the White House that the kind of back off this wouldn't let let Rex it was a have a thing. Johnson. Years. Back but. Nearly. A year and the bad do you think you the I. What's going 08 department and the White House. I think honesty and sent. It. Maybe it's that we are. There I gotta run for dynamic after the. What I I I I have a little more work to do you mean there there obviously. Trying of that field on the wanting their celebrating this week in John YouTube and over there. It's made in America we Wear the White House there there's an item from all fifty states we saw the president. Get on up fire truck despite mr. Klein's. But but but it's easy easy to believe it until I wanna feel like you did that president orders yet everything yeah. And yet on what it looks like nothing you see in those are they around. Well I'll tell you I was out here for Good Morning America at 7 o'clock in the morning little before 7 o'clock I heard. A helicopter in the background with the backing and Marine One was landing on the South Lawn kind of startled me because that usually means the president either coming or going. And the united I realized it was all about this maiden America. Process because of course Sikorsky helicopter. You know based right here in the United States makes that incredibly. Iconic helicopter. Part of the exhibit there. But one thing that came up in the briefing on this is. The Trump Organization as you know Rick and and and you know John because it came up. Countless times over on the campaign trail. The beat the question of where. So strong ties are made where a bonkers various products or product line made and so many of them. Are made not in America. The question was asked will there be a commitment from. The Trump Organization is part of this made America we to make their products here in the United States or more. States. John didn't seem particularly eager to gauge that question. He has after all to be fair. Spokesperson for the Trump Organization. Bright and that big profile this weekend in the Washington Post which of her wheels saw. Going through bunker trumps Brandon where her products are meted and somebody dealing she had when she's running the company and as the company is gone without her how they've been operating abroad. But the other part that we evil that than watching John. Is that fact that this White House and how there briefings go capping urine and aired it mainly off camera lately. Manning off camera not a lot lately which Sean Spicer. Some numbers I think we thought there is such that the mass grant them at your rates at. So on Atlantis at seven briefing at. The halfway through July at the halfway through July since seventh briefing. That Alec Hemmer off hammered. This is the net. About either of and this is his fourth of those 74. Op him. So compare that seeking keeping. Their pets and doing a lot more rats Don yeah and a those same months she's briefed its how many can. While thirteen. Just as as John and it isn't it is an off camera briefing from suspects at this today is the eighteenth day. Since a white house office of the questions on camera I'm John Spencer to present pilot. June 20 that's almost a month that it's a job as a Spicer date it. Room then then azeris Sanders dental is that divider Ruble will. Well women I want to go over these numbers from from from so captain you're saying they're been seven. Three things since the beginning of June with Sean Spicer. Right that's right that's right and yes and you finish at four of these have been like today's where cameras are prohibited. Right correct that's OK so worked at that means. The lessons that means won't. We're we're Rick which in the fancy college you know the math really it's obvious it had three. We've only had three on camera briefings from the Press Secretary since the beginning of June. That's the leader to be the case John. That is. That is something else what they beat the atmosphere is different and there was shown. But not but the substance isn't that much is that much different. If Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Came in and did her very first briefing during his amidst one of the that the crises I forget exactly which warned. It was engulfing the White House it's amazing how calm she can be. No matter what is going on. So even though you know Sarah got thrown into this later. And didn't have extensive experience as a washing communicators. That show on is that you know almost two decades or. You know she she's she handles herself. With app salute columnists. And it doesn't get rattled and and the substance of the beavers wore it. Sort of thing through he's a little more fiery author that but it off. But. Let me do my day. To look mom but. If it was pretty all right I'm done probably give back to manage your fantasy baseball lineup. A White House correspondent our thanks all centenary groups over the capital joining us and our first ever briefing room we have some voters baseball or Ugoh. Because there's a new ABC news Washington Post all that is just out the last couple days out last week in week of the latest revelations got some really interesting numbers. We're going to be joined by apple bumped from the Washington Post in addition to Chris consultants Anderson ABC news contributor who was also a Republican pollster. Krista let's start with you because you pupils reliving. You look at a poll like this what do you think what you take away. The president started off this presidency without very high job approval to begin with specifically presidents get a honeymoon. This president did not but it's a battle fine for him that his numbers continue to go even lower from that high water mark. Only having 36% approval in the most recent ABC poll. Now a lot of this is being driven not disagreements with the president over issues and facts. Is fully tend to get really good marks for things like his handling of the economy. But some questions about his personality things like whether or not he's acting presidential or not. Where he gets much worse marks only about one in four people think he behaves in a presidential lake and the same number think that his. Meeting is something that is positive only 24% approve of his tweet. So most of the problems that voters seem to be having with this president the folks that are undecided or swing voters kind of in the middle. They're not objecting to his policies per say but the way he's handling his time in office. OK so some of these numbers guys fascinate me so fascinating fact that route. So it's 20% who was edited out not doing a better job than most presidents you can read that I've noticed yet 24% think is needed speeding improper 24% are okay with his use of Twitter 27%. Say that there's strong leadership in the world and this one really sucks that is startling to me 26% say that dot juniors but that's that the Russians are OK so people really bad numbers the local. But read another way. As as you point out in in a posting today that's one in four Americans who live in what you say is the truck ball won a war that's not insignificant. The Sonics and an insignificant of extra minutes it is certainly is the fact that there this three piece of the 25% point 6% point 7%. Suggests that there is this court nugget of people who we've known about essentially cents down from first started running we knew that there was a score reads the sport. He could all these things that happen so when you on the campaign trail and we knew he never lost a court support he continues to keep that core support. The challenge -- in 2016 years running it's Hillary Clinton was very very unpopular as well. And the question is if he and when he when he if these numbers hold a giant since its only points and dean if these numbers hold. Will that be enough to actually get him across the finish line it's hard to see how could. You know I just remember that one line fell from what went from was on the campaign trot he says that Iowa. Body go out on Fifth Avenue shoot someone. Any wouldn't lose any supporting. And you get those people and no matter what they are that from Flint area they're any they are totally all in fan boys O'Donnell thumping they believe in everything he's saying you're doing and Kristen. I'm curious tying this back to use the social media because. There's. It seems to me like but a lot of these folks would popularly an echo chamber for the president and when he's out there talking about. The great progress that he's making he's channeling these people. Well there are a lot of folks that are in Trump's orbit that view even when he has conflicts or even things that are traditionally viewed as setbacks. They didn't have opportunities any time he gets into a conflict with the media. The chance to demonstrate that he's a strong night it they they left trying to convert things that. But conventionally sound negative into something that is positive or tries to reinforce one of his good attributes. Which is why I think even though these numbers for any other president would look really bad. He and moving into a mid term you'd think congressional Republicans to be very nervous that the president's numbers are so bad. And yet his numbers are actually somewhat better than what you see first day congressional Republicans and that there are a lot of folks that. May not want to elect a congress that would cause more gridlock so Republicans and Democrats both on congress in a very complicated situation going into the mid terms next year. That person talked about our although it. And what the numbers as far as independents are concerned show for the president that seems feeding area the actually is losing ground. That's right sent Donald Trump does very well among folks who call themselves Republicans he's held on to an off a lot of them. Even ones that think they don't necessarily love his sweeting or they think that he's not always very presidential he's hangs onto a big chunk of his own party. But he is a lot of those independents that were mid perhaps willing to give a chance this Philip mentioned maybe they voted for him not because they like him but because they just really didn't like Hillary Clinton. Who have been playing a little bit late this scene maybe they said at the beginning of this presidency it's somewhat approved of the job he was doing but are still waiting to see those results that he's promised. And so whether he can deliver will have a big impact on I think whether or not those folks are still in his camp. Come next November. And when it comes delivering whatever it did you know that they're talking with over the White House there will ring on the common people of it seems to me that if you just have that he's above water just on the economy. They kind of like their chance house going into the minutes. Will probably mean you know I mean it. When we say above water it's all in the context about something very tactful experts like these waves his numbers are not particularly exceptional. Economy out but I think it's important to remember something that was just point out which is that they're actually easy policy issue on which people are very unhappy. And that is health care by two to one margin people reject the idea that the Republican plan is better than obamacare. Again we haven't seen quarter of the bout they in the respondents saying that they like the Republican plan better. The reason that's important is because that's probably going to be something that's looming big over the when he teed elections and one of the things to remember about our fronts or support is. It tends to be more conservative the more conservative Republicans who are also the bulk of the primary electorate an honest people but they make up at higher proportion of that primary electorate. Then they would the general pool of Republicans. And four Republicans on Capitol Hill paying attention this. They are going to see that the people who come on turnout in the primaries are very very much on Donald Trump side very very much support this health care bill. And that's why we're seeing this tension on you know it's a very unpopular bill but with those primary voters of Republicans need in order to be re elected. It's pretty up. All right Phillip Butler Washington Post Chris that's always Anderson thank you guys are being your honor inaugural edition of the briefing room. Thinking I can before we wrap right here guys what did you learn today takeaways. Man come on and any better it's 01. Tonight I like to you think the one key thing from our polls are talking about with the economy. And I do you think you can go look at how this present campaign that I think of one line particular from. His speech at trump tower in huge doesn't fifteen of the greatest jobs president and got ever Korea. And if he continues to. Push the economy may that is signature mission if obviously treasury department's out there are showing that they're doing better and better investments that jobs. I think is our poll shows that he blew his campaign on as far as the briefings concerned. You know there's a couple emails all forward somebody might help them. It shot out to. Or act in response. And I think it's only options discussed and you get to the broader point oh yeah. But we begin with you with your numbers right there had not freedoms in the plea that you agree with yeah. According to go Fifth Avenue she is somebody and it doesn't matter what you learn anything. You've sent. Care. And yeah. And and I'll tell you that the picture of the day and they'll be president. Getting into emergency vehicle we have my. That's in me and I think that you that people will have a there I was as there. There I don't others was mostly that's going to be a lot of this for us if you can be seen quite a bit president getting it and and he loves it. And it's a pretty powerful image again if the message today is jobs he Rick what are all those things. It's like I've the fire truck right. Emergency vehicles and generic description. Our eye on today and we are gonna be back tomorrow in any gate that the White House hasn't briefing. For Johnson tootsie after all I have recline want to.

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