Transcript for Trump backs off threat to close southern border
And yeah. Eveready welcome to the briefing room on this Thursday and Devin Dwyer Washington great to have you with us a lot of news happening right now from the southern border to Capitol Hill we have got it covered with our deputy political director Mary Alice parks are senior justice. Reporter Mike Levine is here as well the talk about the big headline stance start with some border whiplash. The president earlier in the week. Warrant he was ready to shut down the entire border that. Triggered warnings from. Congress people on both sides of the aisle from the business community and now just a short time ago the president say he's actually. Gonna change this to a one year warning period for Mexico's so doesn't sound like it's happening on Friday here's the president just short time ago. We're gonna give them a one year warning. And get the drugs don't stop were largely stop. Whatever put tariffs. On Mexico and products in particular cars the whole ball game is cars. It's debate ball game with many countries its cars. And if that doesn't stop the drugs. We closed the floor because. You like some of those economic warnings Mary Alice may have gotten through to the White House we had. You remedy auto industry community here on the briefing room saying the whole production line in the united state to be shut down within a week. If you close the border that's something that can seem to concern the president. Radar C a year would get industry as well as law enforcement time to prepare for that possibility. But still the president's incident in the making. Anti threats any heat literally threatened to do I Friday and change the goal post it's hard to know whether taking. And Mike you were saying earlier covered the Justice Department also the Homeland Security. I community they have been scrambling in fact Homeland Security secretary Nielsen flew back. Earlier in the week on a dime to get here to try to get our arms around with the president was was saying. Inside the department there's a lot of mixed over what's actually going on they are planning for the. It's yet you're not gonna hear this publicly but folks inside the Department of Homeland Security are concerned about the rhetoric coming from the press for president. Especially in terms of cutting off aid to those 3 Central American countries. Here they think that that aid has really worked to trying to sort of stop the flow of illegal immigration to the United States. And now we're saying they were gonna cut off married and she it Homeland Security secretary Elson down at the border today. I trying to get her arms are on the situation Mary Alice one of the things that the White House isn't talking about even as they seem to backing off this thread is what they're doing to address. The humanitarian crisis that they themselves have said is on is unfolding there you don't hear the president talking about what you actions he's taking to help fix up. Yet not getting out the source some of that immigration that we're hearing about it we hear he's just. Heartbreaking stories from families that same year fleeing violence they're they are desperate. They're trying to bring their kids across the border. For about her life and its expression not reviewed this president could send he's a dealmaker and he likes these summits you know he's willing to meet with McCain Jenin. We're we're summit finding on Central America I'm I'm costly. Intrigued Brenda fact that there seems to be very little diplomacy going on. So due to whiplash at the border continues we'll see where this goes might envoy I suggested there was diplomacy in terms of the Central American countries there are a lot of US officials pierced in the years Nielsen herself went down there to talk to them about sending the C. And now that's and they are then the next day she was raising Atlanta. Right the presence there we're gonna cut off they we don't need that in interest scene footnote to all this how the Mexican government has played this they haven't responded publicly to many of the president's threats. Ahmed accusations of back the president says they've done much more. Since he started. Waiving his finger in the past week although there's not a lot of evidence Mike that that Mexico is actually. Tightened its own enforcement yeah I mean did they have a tough job in Mexico you know they have the cartels that are running lot of things in a lot of locations that's a tough fight. And there the US government's trying to help them down there but it's a tougher. Now to our shifting gears a little bit to this other major headline that's rocking the White House today this one. Are coming from both the Washington Post and the New York Times reporting that members of special counsel Robert Muller's team are frustrated privately. But with the way that attorney general. William Barr has. Rolled out those conclusions to the report that creates creates a much fanfare. Last week we know what those are. Part at least saying they think it's an unfair presentation. Of Muller's conclusions the public has not gotten the full picture. Mike give us your bottom line on what this is all about the report is coming. You don't beacon to be what the attorney general released two weeks ago but another week or two were gonna seem much of that report ourselves. You know the public is gonna get to see that so we can debate that now but let's talk and another week or two and. I was shocked Eddie's comments from a Nancy Pelosi is and it sent the exact same thing. The mullah report will be released Democrats are prepared to go to the mat to make sure. The notes it is obviously they don't want to redacted version they want the full version they want all the supporting evidence as well. But his sense I don't agree with what my and on capitol hall and honestly he is different verses that just apartment to censor in Washington is that we disappoints me. What are the interesting tidbits Mike that's come out in the reporting in the last point four hours according to the wall Washington Post and the New York Times. Muller's team actually wrote summaries in sections of the report 400 page report that they anticipated. According to this reporting. Could be in would be should be released to the public base. According to these anonymous sources these summaries were written in such a way that the public could hear from Mueller himself very soon after the report was delivered. None of that obviously happened yet the public is so here Richard you're hearing and you believe that those those Summers will come out. Well just remember if the public is going to hear from Mueller again in a week or two. Those summaries does were not required by special counsel regulations right. The attorney general was required to send notification to congress. But the cut that the Muller investigation is over and why certain actions were Irwin were not taken and that's it that's what he's obligates him. Jordan Phelps has been covering this at the White House forced today Jordan what what are officials there are saying about this controversy. Over the bar latter these accusations from Democrats today on the hill we've been hearing that. The public was deliberately spun on the conclusions. How's the White House stance. Right now the White House is furious over this new reporting that we've seen from the New York Times I and is also been asked by the Washington Post. And they are noting that this is. This reporting is based on several levels of hearsay. I had one official to a dramatic reading I didn't highlighting that simmering frustrations. I'm they are frustrated with and president trump has taken to Twitter directly to express those frustrations if we have between. We can show it now the president has in your tank has no legitimate sources. Which would be totally illegal concerning them or report in fact they probably had no sources at all they are a fake newspaper. Who've already been forced to apologize for they're in cracked and very bad reporting on me. Now condemning you see the president's claiming that New York Times thereby it's worth noting that the president hasn't seen similar report I dark. He hasn't been briefed on its content. He is only seen what we the public have seen so the president. At while he is known to blast the times really has no basis of his own understanding to call their reporting false here. And and the Justice Department we should say is also about pushing back on the spokeswoman Kerry who peck I was out with a statement a little bit earlier as well let's put that up. She says that the Justice Department is it be given the public extraordinary interest working on releasing those. The complete report she said the letter as Mike was just telling us was simply the bottom line findings of his conclusions. Immediately wasn't intended to be a summary. But Mike I've got to say before but not this topic there's a lot of debate on Capitol Hill Mary Alice alluded to it about this whole notion of the public's opinions hardening. Early we know that people's memories short lived they sort of form an opinion in moved bond. Is that a fair argument here is is is there's some politics at play and how Mueller has ruled this house where are par ration care wrote this hour. In Washington there's always politics. But I think the Justice Department. They keep saying that they are doing this by the law and that they are only going to be limited. By what the law tells them they can't release are carrying Catherine fall there's a spring heard of this conversation before and move on she's up on Capitol Hill Catherine. A lot of wolf back today out there are what are Democrats telling you about how they plan to keep the pressure on. In New York Times that Mueller broke his summaries he saying why an Anbar. A release smaller some reasons and about putting it in his own words eager to Lucy says just released the mullah report calling. The reports now a just rumors but house Judiciary Chairman and Jerry Adler who as you know earlier this week. I voted to go ahead and all our eyes subpoena for the old Mueller report of course heat he has not gotten that yet he said that this. Did you up his timetable lawn and it all he still wants to see what our. Releases the congress but he did say that he adds is that he believes Mohler you will call alert. Appeared to test can testify he said he also wants the hear a from his and the gators as well. All right Catherine polish force and help make you so much in the bottom line again from Mike. On this controversy for following it has some interesting tidbits and that reporting bad. Everybody should just wait for the poll report which we haven't time perhaps some more real answers and weaker today Eric you'll be here to help us break that down Mike Levine thanks so much we won't have that for you here. In a briefing room we have a war room set a set up ready opt for our whole team to pour into those 400 pages when they come out we'll bring you that reporting live. In breaking fashion when it comes thanks Mike for that Mary Alice shifting gears we're talking about Democrats wanting to hold the president accountable and it's not just on the rush investigation. But his tax returns are back in the spotlight after much anticipation overnight the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the house has formally submitted that letter. To get those tax turns from distant from. And we knew it was coming at a colleague this morning that sent it doesn't Democrats are starting to play their hand in a hole in the cards since they took back the house. In January but here they are beginning to go through those stats that we anticipated what. These were tools their toolbox and to keep using it weren't it we're gonna keep the marching along because dared they send their voters out man a lot of people out there want answers and think those actually turn. Holds and I think of to keep the metaphor is going they pulled out their guns and shot another point added each other it is a war they are dug in. Let's go back to Jordan Phelps on this front has Jordan the White House today as responding add to this request as well. It does seem both sides are prepared for big legal battle over the president's tax cuts. Absolutely 87 the president says he's not inclined to release his tax returns here he insight and that he's under an ongoing audit that's. What the president claims at least and it's interesting that one of the things. I'm that tax chair wants to get from the president here is proof that he is in fact under on it he's kind of raising this prospect that. Perhaps the president isn't telling the truth and there that's one thing that they want to explore. I've but the White House is not going to be complying with this unless they're forced TO. Abbott damning it's worth noting that the White House is sore at pointing out on this particular issue because this is something that would really be. I debated by the president's private lawyers who deal with his tax returns the Treasury Department it's not something that the White House directly expects to be involved and. Personal she Andy Jordan Phelps force at the White House thanks for that Mary Alice Fisher remind everybody the president president trump. Is the first American president first major nominee of any party in forty years. That did not release their tax return so there is a good bit I've question about not only his transparency potential conflicts of interest the states back to the campaign. But now as these committees are writing new tax laws the democrats' argument is. We should be able to consider the man who would sign that law what conflicts he might have what influence and connections he might have to that to the legislation. And it means that we're sort of in young Thai territory in terms that legal battle. Because the past presidents have come forward with information we don't know how courts will respond to the idea of then be compelled to get over this information. Or the IRS beacon pounds. Especially Goran Abbas and give him positive tax and. Right we know so far they're refusing for little more on the MacBook mechanics of how was somebody's tax returns are called up and submitted what we might find. In down times tax returns or want to bring in now Michael Sullivan he's a former IRS agent joining us now. I believe from Florida you're far right Michael great to see you thank you for coming in did tell us a little bit about. Your teeth on the legal case here do you think that. Giving your experience at the IRS in and work in audits that. That that Democrats actually have a strong case to get their hands and these returns. Well that their chairman. House needs absolutely and ability and I'm surprised that they needed OT overly didn't test well. My own personal opinion is trumps returns are getting a watered it right now it's actually mandatory. Where the president and the vice president's tax returns to be audited there's an RM sections section war. That requires this process to to take place in my guess is every president and vice president's return actually has been carted a war. So they do you say in that section action happen quickly. IRS many times not only has their own staff is there's. But they take global experts from there on global well division of Internal Revenue Service. And they bring in other orders from outside to go ahead hand and look at that tax return so. I think that we're just gonna have to wait and see and it's going to be a political battle moving forward no question about it. It sure as he literally giving your experience in performing audits help us understand. What goes into one and the president says that his returns over the past six years have all been audited well before he took office in fact they're still under audit. According to him is it usual that an audit would go on that long. Well first of all you're talking about the president of the United States are not talking about me or you're or anybody else might guess this tax return was filed in boxes. I could see this tax return being ten or fifteen pounds going to end there are probably mounds of CPA attorneys and other people who prepare these returns. On this return actually could be on appeal we don't know where is. But I'm guessing this return is under audit where they are in the process. I don't know but I will tell you the very mutual audit takes over two years and also there's nothing wrong with releasing your tax return it it's under audit so there's nothing including him to doing yet I mean the bottom line let's face it. With everything going on why would you aren't released the stature terms. And and we should say most Americans all Americans are entitled by law to the privacy of their tax information is well the president. Certainly has been exerting that argument. I'm an a last question for you Michael just as a matter of mechanics if in fact. You accord down the line or the committee. Gets the green light in the IRS has to turn over these returns how hot how hard is it to give a transcript did obtain a transcript of someone's tax returns is this something that they would. Have handy and we just take a matter of days or hours or is it isn't it more difficult to say go back into the archives and fish something like this out. The IRS keeps the last six years and I'm sure I'm. And political thinkers and president. Then either without that since the terms are still at work and you can imagine someone as high profiles from their gonna keep those tax returns and I think it the end of the day he's gonna give those tax those tax returns over. Other as a code section I think it's 6301. Or are now. That allows house where he needs Germany get there are I think we're gonna see that unfolding along with only issues I wouldn't know. I'm Michael Sullivan a former IRS agent now a tax consultant thank you so much Michael for joining us to interfere. Well as mic and Mary Alice that we should say also that. Not only is the committee trying to get the testers are trying to pass a law to require all presidential candidates going forward to release their tax return to swell. I'm not sure that they thought this is not true but asserted if not he jobs it is and we will see where they end up at least on the house side that went so thanks for that. Finally today an interest in development on Capitol Hill we've been tracking talking a lot about our climate change in the effort particularly among the democratic majority to tackle the crisis. Are right now in the climate today the house select committee on a climate crisis convene their first hearing. On the matter they call the group of young adults have to be the first witnesses for this hearing. And it's been amazing looking at the activism among high school and college students marches in the streets lawsuits. Where they are the lead plaintiff we have just seen incredible movement among young people that are saying if the government doesn't act in this went. They have the potential to be denied at a future with clean water and and safe. Making it very personal case for action today I was there in the committee hearing room and our Janet Weinstein. Actually traveled with one of the young witnesses eighteen year old she piper from Washington State high school dropout who's leading the charge now. In a lawsuit against the federal government over climate change she was one who testified today. Here's a little bit of his story as told in his own words Nicholas. We're headed out building. I'm going to be testifying. You would select committee on. Like I did become a much crime activists involved in the Lofton and there was an opening and it speeds and it's it's important to me the pot and I think that. I guess what that the opportunity. I've been. Climate activist and that was well I'm eight years old I lived in Seattle. He's the constitutional duty of the government. Public trust resources on which we all depend. And picked us from any damages enemy inflicted. Instead the government as an act. That a directly contributing to the destruction of our. It is actively abusing the trust. Accidents. What was it that sort of inspired you take on this. Now is it time. How fast and right wait until I'm out of high school that that we can be too late. Were you where you see yourself forty years and hopefully this whole. It's resolved and I don't have to worry about I mean aren't honest it convenient user wouldn't be that. Save the world so the bursts into the classroom for you here or or an architect with one of the student. Her thanks to Janet Weinstein for that profile and also stodgy piper for his time. Is our inspiring young people were really on the front lines of this thing and I was struck by his optimism that he thinks the crisis will be averted the next forty years and he wants to be back in the class in the classic as a teacher. Well he also sent that this was the time to act we syrup crash reports and it. More is done sooner they can have a bigger impact. And one question we asked are all of those young people today in that committee hearing was why are you optimistic. That congress will actually get something done in turning interest in answer she pipers answers that he thinks this is the juncture were all three branches of government. Are being pressured at the same time he's suing the government in federal court. They've launched this effort in congress now with the democratic majority and they think with the twenty Tony presidential election. In debt they will be able that we've put some pressure on the the executive branch with all three pushes he thinks. This could come together in the next year to hand seven interest in argument on their part. And we're definitely seeing the Democrats are ranked opponent and machinists issue trying to. One up each other and talk about how serious thinking decision is and what they would do to address them. And we'll continue to follow that story thanks again to that team finally the day. As if you were checked on Capitol Hill this morning I was I didn't see them but there were some celebrity sightings that went viral. I'm the guys from queer eye. We're making the rounds with none other then there she is the speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi. And Alexandria cost you Kurtz has the. Progressive icon congresswoman from New York they were up their promoting new piece of legislation out today you've been tracking this when Mary Alice the equality act. House Democrats putting forward this bill to sort of but equalize. Rights and protections for gay and lesbian Americans in all corners American society. Yet engender not confirming folks as while I was struck by is how emotional some of the testimony hasn't been in the last few days or this issue in this legislation. We see members of congress in tears talking about members of their own Stanley and the need for this kind of legislation it's been my powerful moments on capitol Hamas. A little star power to put the spotlight on the equality act to from the guys that queer eye. Spotted today on Capitol Hill that's all for today here in the briefing room pretend Mary Alice parks for this it always great to have you watching us here on ABC news live of the comeback. Tomorrow it's Friday 3:30 eastern time here in the briefing room to see AM. Yeah.
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