WH press secretary Sarah Sanders laments 'dog-and-pony show' in Congress

On "The Investigation," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders discusses the Trump administration's stonewalling of congressional Democrats and the challenges she faces in defending the president.
26:26 | 05/07/19

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Transcript for WH press secretary Sarah Sanders laments 'dog-and-pony show' in Congress
Or. Hi and welcome to a special bonus episode of the investigation I'm cure Phillips joined by my co host Chris last so and also senior editorial producer Kay Johns in teaching yeah. The satellites. And our guest Sarah Sanders who needs no introduction and with that I'll take your questions. She's been a leading spokesperson for the trump administrations since July of 2017. Just about two mines. After the start of the special counsel's probes and an AM to. Two and a half here which caught the while the investigation report may be completed the controversy surrounding it certainly isn't Democrats continuing to call on Robert Mueller to testify before congress against the president's wishes. And today's the deadline for former White House counsel John McGann to comply for a subpoena. From house Democrats for documents related to Muller's investigation so. Sarah will likely be getting questions about this for a long time to come but today. We're happy that she is agreed to talk with us Sarah thanks so much for being with us thank you for have a may be appreciated. So of course one of the big questions we all have is Robert smaller going to testify. I you know I think that Simpson though we'll see what happens over the next couple weeks but it think. The president feels like as I think most of America feels like that this is over we have tied it two years. Millions of dollars in taxpayer money hundreds of hours of testimony from White House officials former campaign staff. X Ara. At one point four million pages of documents submitted. And they all came to the same conclusion that the culmination in the end of that that there was no collusion which was the whole point of the investigation in the first place. That's been determine it's been decided Democrats shouldn't get a do over. And as far as we see this its case closes time for Democrats and everybody able to be able to move on. Particularly because there are some real problems that face our country. That we'd like to see addressed and Democrats are so busy attacking the president. And trying to undermine here is. When and 2016. That they can't focus on some of the big problems facing us like infrastructure lowering drug prices. Making things better for veterans are a lot of things that Democrats or Republicans actually agree is a problem and should be addressed but because of this they've refused to sit down at the table and really make any progress. I don't think anyone gonna are you there are a lot of topics that bed. Didn't Americans want to dig into and hear more about and you just named them I don't think there's any argument. Bear. But you know bill Barr. In his testimony admitted that even he wasn't quite sure why Mueller did make a decision. On obstruction so with regard to Mueller testifying. How possibly could the public not hear from Robert Moeller. He himself to just clear up those differences and he could do that by simply testify. As he gets laughable the idea that the American people haven't heard from Robert Waller they did 400 pages worth of Robert Mueller. And his finding and his conclusion. And again let's go back to what the purpose of this entire thing was about. And that was whether or not there was collusion and Robert Muller's. Goal is to make that determination he did it. He left the obstruction part he could make a decision. I'm that and and in due process followed. That to the attorney general and he was able to make a determination. And he made that determination based off of the evidence. In Muller's report says sound like he just came up with this on a zone he made it based off of the information that Mueller put in front of them. And Mueller provided again after two years. Of looking into it if you can't find it after two years that it's not there. Will will get to obstruction segmented just too narrow cast back to a cure was asking about. Robert Mueller testifying the president tweeted over the weekend that he should not. The president obviously is the commander in chief he runs his cabinet he could order his attorney general who. Controls whether or not Robert Mueller testify to not allow him testify so. Should we take the presence tweet from this past weekend as in order to build bar to not allow Robert Mueller to testify. I think that's a determination to be made at this point I think that's the president I mean Vanessa president's feeling on the matter and the reason is. Because we consider that us is a case closed as a finished. Process and I again I think to most Americans think that this is finished writer's signature art Cyril about it right to know what has been the dialogue move between. The president and his attorney general about the. This has he said to bill Barr hate. Don't let Bob Mueller testified I am not aware of any conversation between the two of them on I expect Sunday night that to have again and I'm not aware that a date is even been set for that conversation to need to take place so we'll see what happens but again. This matter in our eyes is over and done with and it's time to get back did America's music you or crystal ball right now you would believe that Robert Mueller is not going to tell us if I had a crystal Bob price wouldn't be sitting in the studio I'd be betting on every big race including the derby race that just took place you hear some early other. Some of the other big gas sporting events going on I probably would have a look at some other options in terms of what I would look at Sosa Aaron yes or no it it is trump trying to silence Mueller hit. Again I think it is absolutely absurd. The idea that the president is silencing Muller. He cooperated for two years his staff cooperated spent hours upon hours. Of time with smaller they turned over millions of pages in documents I think it all of this process gets lost. The bottom line here is Democrats. Wanted to something to be true that wasn't they spent two years telling the American people ally and now they're trying to justify it and at some point they have to realize they lost and when he sixteen. They lost in the absurd collusion battle and now it's time to move on and look it away maybe they could get a win. I think they could if they would work with the president and didn't stop being the losers that they look like right now. That Sarah you know Mitch McConnell I think is coming out. This morning and he's going to basically recite basically what you said he's gonna say it's case closed. But I think he's also gonna say that the you know our societies it's unhinged partisan ship. But in some ways it's and it partisans on both sides this and it. You know you were collateral damage in the Muller reports there is there are sections in the Muller report that says you weren't forthcoming from the podium. And some people said you blind thanks patriots the interpretation of care workers estimate but even still in the heat of battle. In the heat of battle press secretaries for the last fifty years. Of course in the heat of battle things herself from the podium that may not be true or right you're not the first one who did or not why not just say hey I made a mistake. I was in the heat about which discounted stop all this nonsense. And that's actually what I did say Carmen if you pay attention to the words that I used you would notice that that's what I said that the interpretation of others has been taken differently. My set I shouldn't have used one word to look I've addressed this extensively. And I feel very comfortable about my credibility. And from and the misspeak of one word verses. The narrative that the media and Democrats have pushed for two years. But suffered get the severity of the accusation that they made against the president of the United States. They Leigh turley said that he was guilty of treason and betrayal of his country this isn't just some minor like oh we think he did something bad this isn't and saying idea to accuse the president of the united states of colluding with another country. And not just any country with Russia. And at the fact that the media played right into the hands of the Democrats. And helped perpetuate and give a platform to this and breathlessly covered every single minute and every single moment. Of this investigation is an embarrassment to the country are still extremely good about the job that I've done and of the job that the president has done over the last two and a half years. I ask helping build a booming economy creating an environment where companies are coming back and of this country where they're investing. Our veterans are being taking care of were our enemies actually fear us. And our allies respect does burn a whole new playing field under this president that we were under the previous administration. Let's also not forget that the failures. Of this. Election interference took place under Obama not under president trump we've actually done thanks to prevent this from happening and again. Take a whole of government approach worked with all fifty states to try to ensure the integrity of our elections. When this was ignored in the previous administration moved through and that's right I think it is just. Outrageous. To continue to attack not just this president but the entire administration. Over the so absurd narrative and it. I talked about the Clinton administration. A lot on this podcast and during the Clinton administration Mike McCurry. And you know Joseph Lockhart separated themselves from the investigative part. And they had a whole different team dealing with that issued you work red not doing it that way. I don't regret standing up for what is right and pushing back against something that I felt to be an outrageous lie about the president now. Can they ask you question. Why did the briefings go away this is so unconventional because you're the Press Secretary in as long as I've known it to leave should we depend on those priests. Those briefings every single day. First question are they ever going to come back yeah I think absolutely will continue to do you briefings will also continue to do. What we do every single day take questions. From the median a variety of formats the briefing was created a time when there weren't so many other mediums in which to communicate. The information and the positions of the White House that we have today that's I think one of the most. Incredible things about the way that government has modernized and move forward AM one of the N com unconventional. Greatness as of this president is the American people get to hear directly from the present which I think is far better than hearing from may I think everybody would agree. That hearing from president trump is better than hearing from the Press Secretary he engages with the media more than probably any president in modern history. Both three Twitter through more interviews and didn't his predecessors have done. As well as informal Q&A sessions that he does nearly every single day. Whether in the Rose Garden the Oval Office to and from Marine One. But also the staff does that add. A number of different formats whether it's bagged a gaggle on the driveway which it did just two just on Friday. They do several times a week as well as other senior administration officials on specific policy matters. I think the biggest thing is that a lot of folks in the media there frankly more upset that they are not on TV not that I'm not eliminate and get notices this is a platform that they've used to create. The sense of stardom for themselves and that's not eggs in existence on the day to day basis that it was the beginning of the administration. But at the same time the level of access and transparency. Between the White House and the media. Couldn't exist at a higher level than it does. So it serie your coming on two years I think in July as Press Secretary and I think. Very few press surgeries I think that would maybe be one of the longest ten years of a Press Secretary if you ever want to say and I'm done enough. I got I gotta let the assault ago. This it the other days I think everybody's at that has a job probably has moments were they think. I don't know if I can take this anymore. And I think for me the biggest party is three young kids one that'll be seven this week a five year old and an almost four year old. And so for me the hardest part is when I'm in this job it takes so much. Time away in a sacrifice from being with my family. And having to find that balance can be very difficult at terms but because I believe in our country I believe in what we're doing. And frankly I love America I want to be part of this. Process we have but dice here that but also but the investigations. Are not gonna go away even if Mullen let's let's concede your point that the Mueller investigation is over. The house oversight committee is gonna investigate. Judiciary Committee is going to investigate other things not related to Mahler are you prepared to stay on for two more years and fight these battles every day. Oh look I wake up every day thankful that I have a job. And I take things day by day and I'm grateful for the opportunity that the president has given me to work in his administration. And sound that's certainly something that he has to consider as well if at some point he no longer deems me to be effective or at some point. I determined that it's not the best thing for my family I have to make that decision but at this point. And my life from I'm honored to serve in the administration again I'm very proud of the work we do. And continue to do that and and take things one day at a time let me pick up on that he said that if the president deems you effective this is an everything that I've learned about Q and noticed. Here in the Oval Office a lot when your not your office were looking for you year in the oval. So here's what I want to know are you more involved with policy now vs communications has your role change because of how you described. This president is it's true he comes out and he talks to reporters in he tweets and he takes himself accessible. Quite a bit I was there for that first impromptu press conference when everybody was you know county was like this Rahm crazies ground. Is has your role changed are you more involved with policy the new mark communications. I I don't know that I think those two things are separated I think in order to be an effective communicators you have to understand the policy. And the easiest way to understand the policy is to be in Iran as it's being made and being discussed and being talked about an understanding the pros and the cons that associate those two things. To be very much in tandem with one another. And again I'm grateful for but the president and achieve a staff that understands that. Deep being in the rain and being able to effectively communicate what our policy is as important part of our job. And they include us on a regular basis and those conversations and I think it makes a real difference. But has been able to tell the administration story to whoever it I'm sorry one Falkland do you ever feel pressured Sarah to say anything you don't wanna say. And and I don't ever feel pressured to say anything that I don't believe Sen or that I think is not the right thing. Sometimes you may disagree. Gotten. On how we got their. But at the end of the day nobody elected me to anything they elected Donald Trump they elected him and his platform and his policies. And my job is to go out there and talk about what his administration is doing. And if I didn't believe in that net I didn't feel like it was the right thing that we were making progress in making life better for every American. Then I wouldn't be involved know when do the job that I did. But congress. There is the back and forth every day they are asking for documents they're asking for witnesses to come but what is the White House is. Plan with congress it feels like every time we see your requests come down the responses that no thanks. Al look if there if congress wants to make that reasonable and frankly lawful requests we'd certainly be willing to discuss those but so far we haven't seen that. Be the case particularly west chairman Nadler. And he's making requests for documents that he knows. Not only does he not have a right to but legally he can't have. This is nothing more than a big dog and pony show he is frankly it's been running for congress and I think you should do about it you don't believe in that congress has the right of oversight. And as the branches are designed fort Apache certainly congress again has the right of oversight that they don't have the right for information. That's frankly grand jury information would be illegal for them to take that that would be illegal for the department justice to give them that so when they ask for things like that. No. I think they know. That that is not something that they should have and again I think that it just goes to furthered the circus that Jerry Nadler it's trying to be the ringmaster. Here's a deadline today for former White House counsel Don began to turn over documents and information something bouncing out of Robert Mueller is 400 page report. We're waiting to see if that's actually gonna happen the White House is very heavily involved in that based on our understanding. Do you believe they Don mcinnis gonna comply with that request from congress to turn over the documents they've asked for. I believe that dime again has complied with. Robert Mueller contends that west as sales to background in its. And and at that that information has been processed gone through. And the determination has been made that there was no collision but let's not let's not kid ourselves. Robert Mueller spent two years. Millions of dollars. Millions of pages and documents. Hours of testimony and couldn't find collision. Do we are honestly think that Jerry Nadler. He wasn't even capable of asking the attorney general questions is gonna find something Robert Mueller didn't let coming very idea of that is truly like just sat con we all know that he's not gonna find anything he couldn't even do his own job and asking questions he certainly not going to be able to do something that were. Robert Mueller was incapable of doing an outstanding call on this I'm that is CT that Robert Mueller is done congress is there congress is asking her for nation they're asking for the other half of that big report which was obstruction of justice. They are asking for dom again turn over documents is the White House gonna allow him to comply yes sir and. I don't anticipate that that takes place now why. Again we consider listed BA act case closed. And we're moving forward and do the work of the American people he is there any investigation there's also the idea let's not forget to you have executive privilege which still matters in this country. The institution to present hasn't declared executive. No but it's still important and it's something that we have to consider in this process the institution of the presidency is at stake this isn't just about Donald Trump this is about protecting every president after this if you don't have those protections. Where staff and the president are able to communicate and work together. With out the idea of a did. Jay the Jerry Nadler of the world inserting themselves into that. Then it makes it an institution like the presidency unable to fully function it then and I think that's a problem for the future and if something Democrats. Are forgetting and they just don't care because they hate this president so much that they're willing to destroy the entire. Like idea of the institution of the president if that's further you know that is that's the feeling then why not declare executive privilege again we'll see what happens over the next several days and in this process as we move forward to but. I think I've made pretty clear what the White House position us. Sarah not Sara how secure once I got Serra. I just you know I as I say I covered Bill Clinton in. For ten years and I held him McCarron and you're still here and I'm still around and you know and I got a lot of criticism. Or for holding him accountable and I would go to everybody saying that he lied to the American people. And that it was all about truth telling. Isn't the story now also about truth telling is some thought the problem not about you but the president is and isn't that why people get so angry at him. Because I mean even he lies about things that he doesn't need to lie about. I you get so angry at him because he proves them wrong time and time again. And I think that they have tried to put the president into a box that sits a story that they wanted to write. And every time they put words on the paper he changes them. And he has controlled the narratives from the beginning that he got into the race. When they said he would never run in he did they said he would temper when he did. They said there was collusion there wasn't they said the economy would collapse it didn't its domain. They everything they've predicted about this president has been wronged if anybody is pushing something that is untrue. I I think you have to look no further than the Democrats in the media that have given them platform to tell all of the things about the present this turned out to be wrong sometimes I think the president is trying to goad congress our I really do say they'll overreach. And then sometimes I think the White House is just terrified with this idea of impeachment. Which is oh look I don't think we're afraid of as the president a sad when you have the success he has and you haven't done anything wrong there's no need for that. I think that and even the American people you look at the polls. They don't want to see impeachment they want to see progress they want to see people sit down and solve problems. And it though we saw a tiny glimpse of that when we had a meeting. On infrastructure not too long ago. And sadly and you know the next day the Democrats move on and start attacking the president again but. Look I think the American people want solutions to Carol whole lot more about what happens to them then this bickering that we see in Washington DC every day. And we'd love to see more of that type of cooperation hopefully we will. Group who does the president want to run against who is his favorite candidate of the of those candidates there. I think. There's so many. Such a large cast of characters. That you have but I think the president would be happy to run against any of them he feels very comfortable. A ballots at the message that he has the story that he has to tell the successes of the first two and a half years. He's got a great platform to campaign on. And and the successes of the country. And I think most of the individuals that are running are going to half to defend the failures of their parties are gonna have to defend. This crazy. Far left agenda. That a small percentage of their party is mad you know driving. And I think that's going to be really difficult for any of the democratic candidates and we feel very comfortable. About the president's policies in the success that we've had and very good. Moving forward one last question on matters happening up on the hill we soaring just in the last 24 hours secretary ST in the action has said no. To the house ways and means request for Donald Trump's tax returns. Do you see that battle and all of these battles back and forth between the White House ultimately heading to the courts. I guess it's certainly possible. My I think that's probably a question better left to the Democrats how far do they want to take. Because so for the White House living knew why political angle you have staffed up that team you still have an outside legal team working with the president we've seen the new law firm come onboard. To work with him for the fact fight over tax returns. Do you believe right now as the White House as the trump team. Everyone is gearing up to go to court to deal will congress. I don't think that should be necessary but I think that certainly. Possible Sarah we need to ask you about trump and the new China's tariffs last week it looked like you were close to a deal. With China is act coming apart we know there are meetings this week what do you expect. We've got a couple meetings I believe they start Wednesday and Thursday in finalize on Friday. This is just another series of meetings have believe this is the eleventh or twelfth time that our delegations of sat down. Which continue to make progress but we'll see what happens the president's been very clear that there are certain things that he expects that he wants. And if it's not a great Dee Lee stuck an and they can't. And and we'll see what happens or so lot of a lot of time left on the clock. In this process and I think at the end of the day though the president will get. Something done and that that benefits America workers particularly with an emphasis on helping our farmers protecting intellectual property. And making sure that enforcement's are in place of should we move forward on a deal I just have one. The final personal question if you don't mind to good ones and on something different and exciting than gas well this crazy aggression collision which I know you guys love this goes back to and I know how you feel about being a mom and a wife and and it's been tough for you to find this balance. I also know. I just in in curious to known I think a lot of people because it does it comes epic church it comes up in personal circles it comes up big dinner parties. You know don't try. Discusses a K we know he says things that you know a good Christian woman doesn't necessarily want to hear. I'm just curious for you Sarah personally. How do you handle that had he deal with that. Well I think it's very simple the entire essence of faith and christianity is knowing that none of us are perfect. Not may not Donald Trump no one is perfect and only by the grace of god and the redemption. Can you become that way and that's why I think it's so important and that's why it's the only way I think you can get through any. Dated a job particularly one insists it can sometimes be stressful like this month sometimes be stressful. Sometimes it's easier than others. Is that that's that's why I think it's so important. Not to send nest but in everything that we didn't demand I think a recognition of that is what makes us better. People sir thanks so much in the event thank yes revenue from German news thanks for joining us for this bonus episode of the investigation. Be sure to hit subscribe to leave us a rating and thanks our producers Trevor Hastings and Jennifer Rockford for my colleagues Chris last and Johnson TJ we'll see you back here next week for another episode of the investigation. Me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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