The Briefing Room: Trump weighs SCOTUS choices, trade war boils

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders talks Trump's Supreme Court justice considerations as the EU threatens retaliation if U.S. imposes auto import tariffs.
33:38 | 07/02/18

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Transcript for The Briefing Room: Trump weighs SCOTUS choices, trade war boils
Death NN. This morning in the Department of Justice in the federal bureau of investigation's joint terrorism task force. Announced the arrest of an Ohio man for providing material support to al-Qaeda. On Sunday the suspect explain to undercut him undercover FBI agent that he was planning to conduct an attack in Cleveland on Independence Day. In a future terrorist attack in Philadelphia. President trump commends the work of the DOJ and FBI for helping stop this would be attacker. To continue the ongoing and important work of denuclearization. On the Korean Peninsula secretary Pompeo will be leaving for North Korea. On July 5 to meet with the North Korean leader this team. State Department will release more details about his own upcoming trip. One item that some of you may have missed last Wednesday in the midst of a busy news day was a confirmation hearing for VA secretary nominee Robert wealthy. Mr. Wilkie is been twice confirmed by the senate. Most recently last fall by unanimous consent for his current position as undersecretary for personnel and readiness at the Department of Defense. During the hearing mr. Wilkie not only demonstrated that he has the leadership and experience to lead the VA. He also spoke in depth about how he shares the president's vision to put veterans first. Senators Isaacson and tester the committee chairman and ranking member respectively have expressed their support. The White House expects the senate to move quickly to confirm Robert Wilkie is next it secretary upon its return and with that I'll take your questions here. There is column even when my husband so that is that there is a tough battle now on the I did for the record you know whether records show if you hate crimes. I didn't commit to that back. Wholesale take a question yet that is the theory that we'll yeah good I think this is a big moments. I had. But it was that the president tweet about it that it just. All right I expressed during the campaign. The president said I. Pro life and I don't get me pro life judges is the president still committed to a playing pro life just. As the president sent last week he's not gonna talk. Two. Judges about specific cases. He's looking for individuals that have the right and select the right temperament and that will uphold the constitution. Says its causes you want the nominee that will respect. President and that Roe vs. Wade is settled law. Does the president agreed appropriates his weight is settled law. And again the presents are gonna get an end to asking. The candidates about specific cases but he's looking for somebody that meets those qualifications that I just outlined. Important thing yeah. Overseas might go. Sir is there any concern the president has based on over the weekend reports North Korea that it is either. Continued on its nuclear program making efforts to enhance it and in any way seeking to deceive this administration about uniquely positioned hedge. How we are going to confirm or deny any intelligence reports what I can tell you is that we're continuing to make progress. Ambassador Kim had a meeting just yesterday with members of the North Korean delegation and secretary Pompeo as I just mentioned. Will be headed to North Korea later this week we're gonna continue those conversations. Choosing to make progress. The public. What's. Well I think a number of things one. In the last eight months you haven't seen. Missile launches you haven't seen nuclear debt. You haven't seen that declared that detonations. And again these conversations are continuing to evolve I'm not gonna get into the details but I can tell you progress continues to be nice days. We're we're usually in these. It wasn't amazed how I can I cleared that up I know you're really curious about that. Again the president is being very thoughtful about this process. I'm he's looking for certain characteristics between outlined. And beyond that I can tell you. He met with four people today. That meetings lasted roughly 45 minutes and he's gonna continue yes and he's gonna continued. And meetings through the rest this week with a few other candidate. I'm CBS we're today it is Kavanagh. On fire. Again I'm not gonna get in two. Anymore the process than what the present state Nazi. Present last Thursday a group of weird house Republicans passed the strong but there immigration bill known as good left two in the afternoon vote today. Then on Sunday you don't clear I'd never puts the Republicans in the house to vote for the immigration bill either good level courts do. Why would the president lied. He didn't the president has talked all along we've laid out the priorities and the principles that we support. That we wanted to see reflected in legislation. That the same time the president wasn't aggressively lobbying members because he knew that Democrats in the senate. Still were unwilling to actually come to the table and focus on solutions rather than playing political games. We could've gotten it through the house but that doesn't work if we can't get it through the senate. And Democrats have made it abundantly clear that they don't actually want to fix problems they just want to talk about. This all the way I guess for some reason they think this is a good issue for them. Although it isn't. And frankly. I think it's outrageous that Democrats have not. Come to the table and tried to help fix this problem. Here work that it's been kind of maybe on the table president. I found solace. In order us around. And I just want to get on the record. Keeping with the context for us and what isn't planning to send you the number of conditions are met is that really something. We don't have any announcements are planned set to roll out of hand. So without getting involved with more program presidents and it shouldn't apply in its report. Were any and. Again reckoning and it's those details. On that question. This consideration. Toward president and getting conservative woman. Again the president would like to see somebody who meets the qualifications that I have laid out. And that's what he's focused on it. Sara de fund trade on Canada respondents view the steel and aluminum terrorists that the president has imposed already on. Reported steel and aluminum. What's the response. From the White House the president to that actions by Canada. Are we spend a very nice to Canada for many years. And they've taken advantage of that. Particularly advantage of our farmers and at the G-7 the president actually proposed that they get rid of all tariffs and drop all barriers and have. Really great trade and they refuse that and escalating tariffs against the United States has nothing to help Canada. And it only hurts American workers the president is. Working to fix the broken system and he's gonna continue pushing for that short. There national security advisor John Bolton your QB the door of into the US recognizing the Russian annexation of Crimea. His upcoming meeting under them. Will you allow US. Are acknowledging that annexation or does that on it. We do not recognize Russia's attempt to annex Crimea we agreed to disagree with rush on that front. And our Crimea sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Russia returns the peninsula to leave her. State. A possibility in the future problems aren't I sit what is recognized the annexation. Be on the table if Russia agrees to certain. At a getting it into any negotiations at this point six. Following up on North Korea album the president had declared on Twitter that there was no longer nuclear threat. From North Korea and even putting aside. His reports about intelligence. Material. There's also commercial satellite imagery. Showing activity going on at its North Korean. Sites related to uranium processing. As well as the missile. Facility. So does this administration believe that there is no longer a nuclear threat. Also tumbled yesterday on face the nation so that the overwhelming bulk program. Could be just now. Here well experts are saying it could take ten to fifteen years so we get a little bit. Again we're continuing to make progress. We had good meetings yesterday. In as us that secretary of state will be there later this week to continue those discussions. I'm not gonna confirm or deny any of the intelligence reporting that's out there. And as far as the one year time line ambassador Bolton said. If North Korea makes the decision to. There ballistics programs could be dismantled any year there's great momentum right now for positive change. And we're may be together for further negotiations beyond that. The elections and we don't want elections. Is that he intends to raise the possibility of Russian interference in the mid term election disease at puzzles or anything it's that he would like to hear. About I'm. I'm not gonna get ahead of the president's conversations but will. Keep you guys posted an updated as things develop job. I believe that that look. It is a very much. Turns out they are very positive and constructive first call lasted about a half hour. And they talked pretty extensively about trade. And the willingness for both parties to come together to make a deal we're gonna continue focusing on making sure we get a good deal for the United States. Or an actress Christmas morning. It's an all hang. As you know I'm not gonna answer questions on this topic in order for your presence outside counsel. The EU has responded with retaliatory terrorist. Candidate did so over the weekend as well Mexico has done so as well. China has put their tariffs on as well some of them and some are expected to come 34 billion dollars worth in the next few days. He's the United States winning this battle and if so how. Again the president is focused. Not on the short term that on the long term and he wants to make sure that we're doing things that help protect American workers. And protect American industry and he is gonna keep pushing to make sure that we have good trade deals we have been in trade deficit swift. Nearly every country across the globe for years the president wants to ensure that that does. Continue. Long term because affairs for the folks who were actually impacted by this. And they just here while we're in this for the long term as long term. Weeks months years. How how long is the long term we're not setting a timetable and their allotted different negotiate net negotiations going on. We've made progress on a number of fronts and the president again is committed to making sure we have good deals. He'd be happy to get rid of all tariffs and all barriers of there's countries out there that want to do that I'm sure he'd be happy to sit down. And make that happen right now and it this process forward a whole lot quicker. Alec farmer 34 going on Friday. I don't have any changes right now Alex where he kids is that we hear the topic number one when President Clinton as he wrote Heatley over her. Once again I'm not gonna get in to any specifics. That we would be looking at this isn't seeing this he himself doesn't matter how he feels his own policy does he wants you. Eight yen has this is ongoing and I can away in two anything specific on that front of this policy. If I had as high as Landers and then I'm telling you while we're in the middle of this process that haven't updated common. Or Korea does the president still trust the embassy police others. And yet we see progress and momentum in the process. And we've had good conversations as. Recently as yesterday and we're gonna continue those conversations later this week can push forward Jeff. Their presence of. Is he considering. I asked secretary in the nation and the president had says. That is not accurate that the US is leaving the WTO but he certainly voiced frustration he's made clear that he has. Concerns that there are a number of aspects that he don't doesn't believe are fair and China and other countries that use the WTO to their own advantage. We're for it focused on fixing the system. That would include. Today. It doesn't youth in the US that's changed them something. What was her that I am have a specific announcement on what he didn't right now he'd like to see the system get fixed and that's what he's focused on doing. I feel that Senator John McCain should resign as the governor continues senators who will then bet on Supreme Court nominee. I asked him about that specific but there are question. This is such a had little choice for the president's going to affect his legacy for decades. Why is the White House nipping this so quickly when he announced on Monday helped me just a little over two weeks I think it's Katie announced his retirement. The president put out his lips. Nearly two years ago of what. Those individuals would look like and has continued. You make updates of the list just last year and these are all individuals that have been looked at and considered. Not just for the last week for the last two years. And some than at the president's been very thoughtful and and is gonna make the right decision and I'm accounts. I shot. Follow up. That hassle factor the president wants the UTE. What actions is he expects. And the president would like to see just an overall more fair trading system. And we're gonna be continuing negotiations with individual countries as well as our organizations and we'll keep you posted on anything to us Francesca. Spare. Watch him. This morning and potentially help fuels excuse for our attorneys and be completely white side. His failings country first but not. Once again an act and a way into the decision ever for the president's council. Question in response in case you re hearing cleared vaccinations for Russia. It pertains to premium or knock on the table. Is he would like they're fifty. But what can't tell us unfortunately our stations for allegedly meddling on its it was passed and I get I'm not gonna get ahead of the president's meeting but will keep you posted as it takes place. John. There corrections. Leaves one foreign one domestic. And week regarding an eight. Ago. You told us that the president intended to call president heard a lot of turkeys. Following is re election or his election as president. And we never got a readout on that call or whether or not he couldn't graduate here would you elucidate. On the call that he made to present in her life and I don't think. Here's America. I know that they spoke last week I'll get back to. It alt check into it activity tells the call the other question I have was regarding. The president's position on Roe vs. Wade. Into the third debate secretary. The open question was about this very subject and he did say the Supreme Court. We go over terror Roe vs. Wade and the usual more will be hurt the State's. Is that still his position now. The president is pro life but in terms. The process of selecting a Supreme Court nominee as the president said last week he's not gonna discuss specific cases what those nominees. So that a lot of negotiations are keeping. Place right now is there any reason to consumers to see that there been progress I he's. Before the deadlines in. Paris this week. Were continue those negotiations that are happening for things further at this point Laurie say if answer from palace that left one man. People into east team. Bill which would stop and separation of work. Permanently and reform the US asylum process which is led by GOP senators and some members. Now we have to see the specific legislation. Before we weighed in directly but certainly would be open to legislation. That's fixed the broken system if Democrats would actually show up to do their jobs and participate in solutions we would be happy. To discuss those and again support things that help fix the broken system. What is current US policy network isn't zero tolerance for easy task deletes the president's executive order. Is. I bought some time for congress but that the clock is ticking. In congress needs to act to fix this process. Because were running out of time on what we have the ability to do. Particularly with the district court that weighed in just last week Ayman. The next big thing US chamber of commerce which. I generally works very well with a Republican president. Wants to campaign that it took both the president's terrorist agenda they're saying that the administration is threatening to undermine economic progress of work so hard to achieve. The president make. And again the president's focus on helping protect American workers and American industries and the create a they are playing field athlete wants it is that's ways hoping to achieve and we're confident that he will. Here with the former prime minister Abdul limiting certain vehicles with the cruiser for. Could govern your chair and look very good parent and the US security specialist police say thank you. Yeah do what. Bringing residents do hey he's human he India. Bruntlett civilian Indians. Eight Pennsylvania. I don't keep because I don't think we have a trip planned but once we do we'll certainly make an announcement we'll take one last less than anybody else are. We'll be looking ears and his parents are being removed. Yes they did they hit video. Fifty currently in respect. In Gaza back. Dangerous data about sanity yet for him to pick him. Source competitors that's and if that but he did in here who are. Going here is devastating and. Certainly though the president's talked many times about fixing. The overall system both illegal and legal immigration. We want to certainly address illegal immigration. In securing our borders and protecting American communities. However at the same time there is a process that people should follow and we want to look for ways to fix that process as well and expedite that but from back here for the last question. This continued immigration vice president has this just in Central America. Finally here that they need to do more to control immigration. President brown Trout has threatened to cut foreign aid to Central America things that they don't do more to address the outlook immigrants. Can you know what specific steps the White House has taken to carry out this threat has been written meetings with USA and he State Department. An outline what could be back. Out we frankly we'd like to see that not happen because we'd like to see them step up and do more. To stop illegal immigration into the United States. They'd like they're helping their participation in making that happen thanks so much does have a great debt. He thousand children never brought back we're here. There. Yeah. They're welcome to the briefing room money's coming ABC news political director Rick Klein joined by Johnson ditching my partner in crime today and John McConnell longest free thing. Punctuated by some response to the bombshell that's ABC news broke this morning on Good Morning America George Stephanopoulos. Sense of how Michael Coen over the weekend a lot of interesting things said by the president's personal attorney first and foremost what he says about first loyalties to my mind. Clear indication that he's thinking about may be doing something here. What was your read on the fallout from that no comment for the White House say the president ignored the question but what what's your take on what's behind this and what it. It's what I mean first inform us and we're being directed to go to the president's legal team they're not comment and I talk I don't wow needs of all of them. All night since this first broke that this was the first time we hear from Michael Colin. The president's former lawyer we shrink that very clear that he is no longer the president's attorney but a long time picks are always there for the president always he's taking care any problems that where there. From stormy Daniels to a potential business deal in Russia setter seder you know I think like everybody wall trying to understand why Michael Cohen did I mean that was sort of what George was talking about. This morning as he's breaking down the interview but. Really for a person said that he would take a bullet for Donald Trump according to George not even an ounce of praise from Michael Cohen for the president. Ya it seems like he's declaring himself to be in play on this maybe he's making a play for a pardon. Maybe he is not simply just warning anyone who is is listening he's got tales that tell he did say that he wants to answer at some point about the stormy Daniels pavement as well. Yeah I mean listen I think they'd at the end of the day we have not heard from Michael Collins since that early morning raid on his home his office and the hotel room that he's been staying at the last several months. On EE is surprising. That he would send a message like this and every lawyer that we spoke to every member of the president's team we spoke to him that's fine today. Didn't really believe huts that Michael had done this interview until George broken down this morning on the air because it is so surprising in. He has not been charged anything he had they're still going through a review of all the evidence that was collected we're talking. Millions of pages of documents cell phones computers that were seized from his apartment and his office and home. Up so I do think now it's really weird is this all go the one. Piece of news I think got buried here is that we learned that that joint defense agreement that Colin has with the president's legal team. That thing is over the coming days which is a real clear sign that the air is a break here between Cullen and the president's team. Terror pulmonary joining us now from the White House and you've known cover Michael Cohen for a long time how surprising was this and what's in the mood among the white house press happened responding to this or choosing not to respond to this such as it is. Should all be pretty frightening he at the keeper of the president's secrets I was surprise ending. Michael culling his entire being has been about his association with. President trump when I spoke in months ago it just about. His feeling about not being involved in the administration is very expensive and that you know I still play a big while outside counsel obviously that changed. With the legal issues but to see this kind of separation is really. Startling. And they should be worried act and clearly he's shown that his loyalty. Is to you his own family then himself and like Sarah theaters awaits as a mere freed out I can't council she can't say more but the president silence on this shocking. A lot in an interview Eddie Eddie will be easy to see if and when the president chooses to engage on this anyone else attacked like this are threatened like this you can imagine what does that sound like. Unless urgent let's turn to the Supreme Court guys out that we just heard from the White House that the president had four meetings with. Finalists people from the list we presume for the Supreme Court they can see. All week from tent today he's going to make that announcement. He's got a couple of war interviews week does seem. John like that like the president realizes how big moment this is and how quickly he's intense on will be to put pressure back on Democrats to confirm oh yeah I mean. It was Aniston is this all happen. Earl stunned. Yesterday it was late aft and ending this is gonna happen but then Justice Kennedy retired. His team snapped right and actually I mean they had this list it's a list that. They started building during the 2016. Campaign on the refreshed it on after the gore search pick and an attitude since. On the President Clinton next month from this list so we think mean every person that's involved in this process that we've spoken to over the last week is confident of that the president knows he has to move quickly in order to get this done before the mid terms. Our understanding is that there are five top candidates right now one was the runner up last time justice Hartmann. We know that one of those other individuals that. I think from talking people could really be it is meaning Conan Barrett now remember she is one of the few people the only real person that's a contender in this top five at the president himself has appointed to her current position. So for Donald Trump to have one of his own. That he's already done before that's a good option. And some news over the weekend that I want to ask you about Tara Susan Collins the senator from Maine. Moderate Republican senator told Martha Raddatz that Roe vs. Wade should be very key. For her vote that if someone chose hostility to precedents like Roe vs. Wade she would not confirm. We just heard from the White House again that the president does not intend to ask specifically about Roe vs. Wade he has said in the past that he would only be. Putting pro life judges and that will be we've been turned like automatically he said at the final debate. But but Tara it does seem that the president is watching his warts and is not asking that question. You still think that ends up being a litmus test bull for her for the president and outside advisors. Well I think is that it's the president asks his Supreme Court nominee here candidate about rover swayed. When they're in hearings for confirmation bailed me ask did the president ask you about it and look up here that he's putting. Up pressure on him so he doesn't really speak carefully president trump is. Has been advised not tax them that's by dynamic and is clearly running its profits at tight ship yet announced that there. Launching a war room at tenure they really want to get this through and I'm president. We short period of time for that new court October 1. I I mean. The president was. It's gonna be careful in terms of what he sad about rover sweet Susan call on the other hand means she's really firing a warning shot right now but we'll see she actually sticks to it. When she bats. Ya and in the end it the probability that you won't know for sure when that when that vote comes up. A listen to tariffs guys because the president has said trade wars are not a bad thing and they're actually easy to win this is sort of what it looks like you have the Canadians. I you have the the the Chinese and now the European Union saying that there's indeed peak tariffs on. American cars we also the news the president thinking about leaving the WTO some push back for the white house on that. What's your sense John how prepared they are for this moment the push back a lot of is advisors have been saying this is what happens. When you start imposing be tariffs other countries was. On yeah and I think also here to remember that. The president recently need to shake up to economic teen years Larry Kudlow there seems like Coke Lowe's on the same heat with him his former. Economic advisor we've heard reports Gary Cohen does not agree with the president's. Philosophy here. You know the president was very clear I think you have to you know anybody that shocked right now buys has just go look at what he said. Every single day in 2016 and 2015 he was pretty damn clear that he was going to meet which reward that trade wars were good night for the economy so. I I do you think once again anyone that is shocking just have to go back and roll the videotape this is exactly what he said he would do now I will say. That in some respects and look at Harley-Davidson. President didn't really expect that one half price so I do you think on that. You know there's it was expected fallout from this but the fire and fury with some of these companies that he's been working with before that I think is thrown. It was also knows the chamber of commerce and the Coke Brothers political grouper all topple the ball up with ads right now trying to make the case against tariffs and Tara you covered the EU very closely is when you're over it at political. What's your sense of of how it's playing there how serious. The European Union is about responding. I was surprised to see that actually starting their parents early this is a really strong move from the that European Union which is. Technically very awful slow bureaucratic. Actually launched their tariffs early I think this is their way of sending a warning shot and acted it targeted you know into that they targeted. Industry that affect the president's Bates like. Her band and playing cars and Harley-Davidson. It's really interesting to see and picking that Iraq. Shot at the present at the end of the day are in a much weaker position in the United States right now they do not the same sort of economic growth that we have. And politically here in this kind of right now Angela Merkel the topic thinks sort of political stronghold over Germany not your seen lots of right wing. I resistance from. Now all around me they don't have a stronger hand but they're certainly trying to show that they Q. At the end of the day and it is pushing this idea short term. Pain for long term gain. But you know what does that mean for Americans you know what and the question can you get the timeline in the briefing wanted to report at hot light of how long going to be. And there's all they question about that but you're working you know from are saying even your base data about what their plants in the United States. You should be worried if you work for a German carmaker in the United States. Finally guys wanna talk about immigration that the crisis of two weeks ago not over the president sign that executive order that stopped the family separations but. Lest we heard this'll 2000 kids. That are separated in the news today from the top administration HHS saying that it would no longer we're releasing updates numbers were seen scattered reports of people. That aren't having that reunification. The president tried to disclose the bull on this whole chapter. A couple of weeks ago not over. No not over at all and I mean I think you can just look at you know the reporting we've done on the ground there and its seen people there still I'm coming abroad still having issues reuniting their families also thinks is looking at the First Lady that this is an issue that she has been committed to we know that she is now mean I trips to three of these facilities. And her team has told us that she is still very focused on it. I do think that again. Images speak a thousand words. There were a lot of images over the last couple weeks now until this is cleared up thanking the more you see. The candidates the Democrats make this an issue for the mid terms we know that Kennedy you and I were talking about. Powell earlier Alexander court has that went down to the border and really show what was happening down there with these protests and there were several the last couple days. This is going the issue and images they can out of oil. And on the democratic side that abolish race two Twitter handle the campaign has been building which seem to 20/20 contenders. On that it's all right seems like that the White House is comfortable with that terrain if they're going to be argue if the Democrats are going to be arguing to abolish ice. That sounds a lot like what the president is falsely accusing Democrats of open borders. Right and it's really plays into their hands because they're going to paint that Democrats as their most extreme wing and obviously abolishing a law enforcement agency. It makes sense seeing like their anti cop. Anti safety and immigration. Exactly. What a lot of independent voters frankly care about so you know this is it. Exactly what they want to be doing so well you know they want the see that taking the right that the going Bart the last. I think that equitable water is really flawed the one that president trump rolled out to keep these families. Together because. About ten game he is. All these children batter into tension with their parents unless they figure out the legal issues they'll have to be release and that he released a family unit. They're a settlement of for a settlement that says. It's not the intention for immigration hearings morning when he is the clock is ticking koppers I don't wanna do anything about it. You know they're out right now and they had a chance to vote on a smaller Dominic what supports. Exactly out of that congress is not the week not having acted on that all right tariff on merry over the White House our thanks to you for joining today. Thousand Tucci thanks to you go to a pleasure next time we're gonna Wear red on I think we'll look forward it is always all right that's it for this edition of the briefing room on ABC news political director reclined at just next time right here at ABC news line.

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