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White House Briefing Continues. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired March 27, 2017 - 14:00   ET


QUESTION: -- that questions about the meeting should be referred to the committee chairman.


But I wanted to ask a slightly different question, which is, does the White House know now what actually happened?

Do you have issues with the idea that someone, perhaps in the executive branch, shared information on the White House grounds without you knowing about it? Are you investigating this? Do you believe it was a leak? Do you -- or was it in fact someone on the White House or the NSC staff or on loan to either who provided the information, and therefore it's not a leak?

SPICER: So I -- obviously, all of what I know has been available through public comments.

I know that Chairman Nunes has confirmed that he was on White House grounds Tuesday and, frankly, any questions regarding who he met with or why he was here should be referred to him.

I've seen some of the comments that he's made to your outlet in particular about who he met with. And -- and I would -- I would refer you to his comments that he's made.

I'm not going to get into who he met with or why he met with them. I think that's something that he has been very clear and I'll let him answer it.

This is a -- he is the one who has discussed what he is reviewing and so I will leave it up to him and not try to get in the middle of that.

QUESTION: (inaudible) just to close the circle on it, I'm asking a slightly different question.


QUESTION: At least I'm trying to ask a slightly different question, which is -- does the White House know what happened now beyond public accounts? And are you satisfied that you don't have an inappropriate leak in the executive branch?

SPICER: No, I'm not -- we're not concerned about that.

I know that he is -- again, everything that I know about what he has done is through public reports that he has made on the record to different folks when he's said he has multiple sources, he had met with different folks to gather things as part of his review of the situation. And so, all I know, and what I'm willing to communicate, is what -- what has been made available through on-the-record comments that he has made.

QUESTION: On White House grounds -- you have to be cleared onto the White...

SPICER: No, not necessarily. I don't know that members of Congress need to be cleared.

QUESTION: But don't -- wouldn't the White House want to know?


SPICER: Again, I think there's a difference.

He's doing a review and it's not something that we're gonna necessarily get in the middle of or get in the way of. Part of it is to let him review and have conversations and look at things if he thinks are relevant.

Halle (ph)?

QUESTION: Clarification on your answer to Margaret.

You said "I don't know that members of Congress have to get cleared in." There is some question about that. Who in the White House signed him in, essentially? Do you...

SPICER: I don't know that you have -- I'll -- I'll be glad to check on that. I'm not sure that that's -- that that's how that works, but I will follow up on that point.

QUESTION: The second question is -- and it's related to this. I understand that you're not going to speak about, sort, of the swirl surrounding this issue with Chairman Nunes, does the White House believe that he can still lead an impartial investigation? Or would the administration support some of these calls now for an independent committee to investigate this?

SPICER: First of all, I would question what this is. Because as I've mentioned countless times from this podium, there's two issues at hand. There's multiple.

There's -- number one, there's any action with respect to Russia itself. And every single person that's been briefed by Director Comey in particular and the FBI has said there's nothing there.

What he is looking into are two things that we are aware of because of -- of the pleas that we have made.

One is the -- the leaks of classified and other information that are come out. And two is -- is whether or not there has been people that have been unmasked and whether or not their surveillance occurred (ph). I don't know why -- we stand by the original request that was made. And I think Director Comey in open testimony the other day talked about what the FBI's looking into.

So, I think we, you know, have a lot of people looking into this whole situation.


QUESTION: Will the administration pursue -- will the White House pursue a leak investigation into whoever is giving Chairman Nunes this information (inaudible) the executive branch?

SPICER: I -- at this point, we're letting his -- the review of this situation proceed. And we can address that after he decides to be clear about that.


QUESTION: Why is this leak OK but other leaks are not?

SPICER: It's not -- I think there's a difference between a leak and -- and someone pursuing a -- a review of the situation that they have determined. That's not -- there's a difference between a leak, someone leaking out to reporters for nefarious -- to take classified information and share it with people who aren't cleared.

Chairman Nunes is cleared. He is the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Someone who is cleared to share classified information with somebody else cleared is not a leak.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Just a quick housekeeping note. At the beginning of the briefing, you read out the State Department statement on the protest and arrests in Russia. Does that reflect the White House's views sometimes...

SPICER: That reflects the view of the United States government.

QUESTION: OK. Just wanted to clarify that.

And secondly, back on -- you mentioned that there was -- there were lessons learned off of what went down last week -- the last several weeks here on health care.

Can you go into specifics of what some of those lessons are in terms of -- the president talked a lot about he learned a lot about loyalty, I think is one of the lines he used on Friday. Is he -- does he believe that some members of this party are no longer loyal to him?

You know, sort of, what are some of the lessons...

SPICER: I'm not -- I'm not going to detail -- go through -- I mean obviously this is an internal thing that we discuss.

But I will say that, you know, we look at things like everything from, you know, who we met with and when we met with them to, you know, whether or not we should've -- how -- how the thing -- how everything was rolled out and what organizations were met with, what commitments were met and when.

There's a lot that goes into this, and you look at whether or not that's applicable to another situation, whether that's unique. But obviously, yeah, you do look at some of the individuals that you met with both in terms of timing, in terms of commitment, in terms of substance. And evaluate, you know, just the process itself, but then also, to some degree, the -- the individuals and whether or not that is someone that you, you know...


SPICER: There's -- there's several folks. Again, it depends on the aspect of it. There's -- there's a legislative affairs team, there's a public policy team, there's a coms (ph) aspect to this. But we all internally talk about what went well, what didn't and we do that not just with the bad, but the good.

I mean, I think -- I think Jonathan asked it somewhat at the beginning, but I think, you know, in most organizations, whether or not you do something really well or not as well, it's usually incumbent upon you to think what did we do well so that for things that we did really well, we sustain those kind of aspects of something? Because there's always something to improve.

And even when you don't do as well, but there's parts of things that you did that you could've done -- that you did well and you don't wanna throw the baby out with the bath water. So there's an ongoing piece to this.


QUESTION: (inaudible) on Chairman Nunes and I have a question about Jared in a second. So yes, members of Congress may not need to be cleared in, but to get access to a skip (ph), I do believe that requires some cooperation from the executive branch because there are intelligence places on Capitol Hill that are secure that this meeting could've taken place. So it creates the impression that Chairman Nunes came over here, and with some degree of cooperation with this White House, was able to carry out this meeting and then make the announcement that he did, which is perceived by some, most of the Democrats I'll grant you that, that it was trying to be helpful to this president and this administration.

So it appears there was some degree of cooperation in this process that the White House granted Chairman Nunes, making it not just an investigative action, but a cooperative one.

SPICER: Right, so I would refer you to two things.

Number one, we've asked both of these entities, both the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees, to undertake this review. So it is partially at our request that they're looking into this.

Number two -- number two, based on the public comments that he made to Margaret's organization, he -- he has said, from my understanding on the record, that he is not -- that he did not meet with White House staff. So again, I think you're -- you're trying to make something that he is himself, from what I've read, not actually been the case.

QUESTION: That's not what I asked you. I asked you about cooperation.


SPICER: I understand that, I'm not...


QUESTION: ... has to be carried out with your (inaudible).

SPICER: I will be glad to take a look at that and figure out whether or not that is an accurate statement or not.

QUESTION: OK. Let me ask you about Jared. There is an understanding that's trying to be worked out, as we understand it, between Jared and the Senate Intelligence Committee. Is that testimony? Is that something that the committee has requested? Has he volunteered?


QUESTION: Does he believe he has something to explain to that committee and more broadly, the American public about what he did on behalf of the transition with whom we met with and some of the meetings that he took that are raising questions about Russia and folks that he met with that are outside of diplomatic channels but have other aspects to their Russian business deals that may cause concern?

SPICER: Right, so throughout the -- the campaign and the transition, Jared served as the official primary point of contact with foreign governments and officials until we had State Department officials up which we assumed...


QUESTION: ... request?

SPICER: That's correct. And so given this role, he volunteered to speak with Chairman Burr's committee, but has not received any confirmation regarding a time for a meeting or anything.

QUESTION: Is this gonna be a private meeting or is this gonna be...

SPICER: I don't know. Again, he was at -- he -- he...

QUESTION: What is he (ph) trying to accomplish with that?

SPICER: I think based on the -- the questions that surround this, he volunteered to go in and sit down with them and say hey, I'm glad to talk about the role that I played and the individuals I met with.

But again, remember that given the role that he played, both during the campaign and during the transition, he met with countless individuals. That was part of his job, that was part of his role and he executed it completely as he was supposed to.

QUESTION: OK. So he doesn't believe he owes the American public an explanation...

SPICER: For what, doing his job?


SPICER: But you're acting as though there's something nefarious about doing what he was actually tasked to do.

QUESTION: Well, it's not every day that someone in a senior position like Jared's, who volunteers to go talk to the Senate Intelligence Committee...

SPICER: No, no...

QUESTION: ... about an investigation...

SPICER: Because of the...

QUESTION: ... dealing with meddling by a foreign power in an American election.

SPICER: Right and -- and I think based on the -- the media frenzy around this -- and I'm answering it. And I'm just saying to you that based on the media frenzy that existed around this, he volunteered to make sure that they -- he said hey, we've made some contact, I'd be glad to explain them, let me know if you'd like to talk. Plain and simple.




QUESTION: So just to be clear, just to kind of follow-up on what everyone's been asking about, Chairman Nunes. So the White House does not -- does the White House have knowledge of the information that Chairman Nunes received when he came to the White House the first time? And is -- and if that's the case -- or if that's not the case, is your position that the White House is not going to look into where he got the information from or who gave him the information until his investigation is complete?

SPICER: I think that -- that -- I'm not aware of where he got it from. I know in his public statements, he's talked about having multiple sources, and so I don't know how he derived the conclusion that he did. And you know, I think that at this point, the goal would be to wait until the review that he is undertaking is completed.

Kaitlyn (ph)?

QUESTION: Why would Nunes need to brief the president on documents he viewed on White House grounds? SPICER: Because that's a big assumption that you're making that that's the only thing. He, as I said just a second ago, he -- he had multiple sources on multiple topics. We don't know what he briefed him on in its totality. So, to jump to that conclusion is frankly irresponsible.

QUESTION: One more question.


QUESTION: When will the White House resume releasing visitor logs?

SPICER: We're reviewing that now.

Alexis (ph)?

QUESTION: Just to follow up, I had two questions, one of them (inaudible). But last week, you were -- you were advising that the Press Corps that it didn't make sense for Nunes to come to the White House and brief the president on something that he had obtained from the White House, from the administration. So, my question to you is I know what you just said, but is it -- can you say factually, you know, absolutely flatly that it's not possible that Chairman Nunes came to brief the president on something that he obtained from the White House or the administration?

SPICER: I can't say 100 percent that I know anything what he briefed him on. What I can tell you through his public comments is that he has said that he had multiple sources that he came to a conclusion on. So, to the degree to which any of those sources weighed on the ultimate outcome of what he came to a decision on, I don't know, and that's something that frankly, I don't even know that he discussed with the president.

QUESTION: So, it's possible. As far as you know...


SPICER: Well, anything, I mean -- anything is possible.

QUESTION: OK. Here's my question on taxes.


QUESTION: The president had said that in the past that he thought maybe tax reform would blow over into 2018, calendar year 2018. And we know from the president's admiration of the 1986 tax reform that took more than two years. Can you answer two questions about tax reform? Does the president anticipate that it will take that long going into 2018 or beyond? And who is going to write the tax legislation? Who's going to devise the plan that the president wants to put his name on?

SPICER: Well, so on the first one, I know that Secretary Mnuchin has talked about August as a target date. And I think it depends. I mean, as you point out, these are big things. There's a lot of groups that are gonna want a ton of input because of the very nature that it's been 30 years.

But I think part of this is going to be dependent on whether -- how -- the degree to which we can come to consensus on a lot of big issues. But I know that it's -- we have a goal and it'll depend on a lot of these issues, both on the corporate side and on the individual side, how that process evolves.

So, to predict it, I know the secretary would like to have it done. He'll play a huge role in this. Gary Cohn will play a big role in it. I think our legislative affairs team will play a role in it. There's a lot of folks on the team -- Secretary Ross on the Commerce side. There's a lot of individuals -- he has assembled a world-class Cabinet that has a lot of interesting in helping to grow the economy, to attract jobs, create a more favorable tax climate here in the country, then also provide also tax relief for middle Americans -- middle class Americans.

So, you know, we're not -- we're not there yet.



QUESTION: Will it be the president's plan?

SPICER: I mean, obviously we're driving the train on this, so I don't -- I mean, we're going to work with Congress on this, but I think that the president, as you've heard through multiple times, the president has been very clear. This is a huge priority for him, something that he feels very passionate about and so we'll have more on that later.

John (ph)?

QUESTION: Sean, the documents that Chairman Nunes saw here at the White House complex described by his office as (ph) the executive branch documents. In the early days after the president sent out that tweet, the White House was digging around for anything to corroborate what the president had tweeted out. Why did it take the Intelligence Committee chairman coming here to the White House to view executive branch documents to uncover this information? Why couldn't the White House do it?

SPICER: Well, as I mentioned, I think to Margaret, I'm not going to -- I will stick to what the chairman has said publicly. And my understanding from his public comments are that there are certain systems that he doesn't have access to. That was his explanation and I'm going -- you know, I think you should follow up with him on that one.

QUESTION: Did the White House ever search the same documents that the chairman searched?

SPICER: I don't know what he found, so therefore, it'd be hard to say -- to make an assessment of what he was briefed on and what we know. So, that's a really hard question to answer at this point.

QUESTION: Is it possible that these documents were merely surveillance reports that were...


SPICER: I'm not gonna get into hypotheticals, John (ph). I don't know what he found, and to start to say what's possible, what's not, I don't know.

QUESTION: Well, let me just finish if I could.

Is it possible that these were surveillance reports from security clearances that were collected after people had filled out Standard Form 86?

SPICER: I -- I don't know. I mean, I don't know what he -- I honestly don't know what he's got on his systems and what -- what -- what the intel community has on theirs that he wouldn't have access to. So, I don't know what he would've had access to already.

So, Aymon (ph)?

QUESTION: Thanks, Sean.

On tax cuts, it looks like you guys got a little bit of political cover from the House Freedom Caucus over the weekend to do this without paying for all of it, that is adding to the deficit.

What's the right number from the White House's perspective to add to the deficit in order to do that? So, what's -- how high are you willing to do in terms of deficit addition (ph)?

SPICER: It's a -- it's a really early question to be asking at this point.

I think the question is, as we construct this both on the -- on the corporate side and then on the individual side, I think part of it is, it's gonna be an equation that isn't just driven by that, but more of what's going to attract jobs, what's gonna help us build -- you know, what's gonna grow the economy.

I think we're -- we're growing around -- you know, potentially growing around 2.6. And the president really would like to see that growth rate up in the high 3s, 4s and 5s. And so, there's -- there's a question about what part of tax reform, especially on the corporate side, will help us spur the economy and grow jobs. And I -- I think that -- that's an ongoing discussion. And I think that's more of the driver of this. And then I think as it evolves, we'll have the score and we'll know more.

QUESTION: Are you comfortable entirely adding to the deficit or do you think...


SPICER: I -- I -- I think...

QUESTION: ... needs to be offset... (CROSSTALK)

SPICER: But to -- to -- right.

QUESTION: ... some other spending (ph)...


SPICER: I -- I don't -- you're asking really early in the process to make that kind of analysis before we have a -- a policy set forth or have any kind of notion of what a score would like.


QUESTION: Thanks, Sean.

There's been a steadily escalation of the American role in the war against the Islamic State. The Marines come ashore in Syria, (inaudible) change the rules of engagement.

Has -- I'm trying to understand the relationship between that change and the president's ISIS strategy review. Has he personally signed off on all the changes in -- in America's posture in the field since January 20? Is that something that's left up to the commanders in the field?

I don't understand the relationship between...


SPICER: Well, it depends on which, you know, mission you're talking about specifically or...


QUESTION: So, the Marines left in I think October. They obviously went ashore much more recently than that.


QUESTION: So, did he have to sign off on that?

SPICER: I think it depends on -- I mean, he speaks with General Mattis, his national security team very regularly. I'm not gonna get into some of the -- the details of what comes up in those settings.

But I will say that, as I've noted in the past, I think philosophically, the president has made it very clear that -- that he wants to give the commanders on the ground much more flexibility to execute their mission, especially when it comes to defeating ISIS.

That's a -- a very big change in philosophy. But I think it also depends on the -- the magnitude of the mission, the number of ground troops in particular, or -- or -- and so, this is an ongoing discussion that he has with Secretary Mattis, Chairman Dunford and others. QUESTION: And the (inaudible) review, are you -- are you waiting -- is the president waiting until the review's complete before you announce, sort of, a new posture, a new strategy?

SPICER: Yeah...

QUESTION: Or is it as conclusions come in, you're adapting day- to- day?

SPICER: I think some of it is an ongoing discussion that he's having with both Chairman Dunford of the joint chiefs and Secretary Mattis of the DOD, that at certain times when they meet, they'll update him on certain things and tell him -- give him an update on where they're headed right now, you know, as the review is ongoing.

There are certain events that are part of -- will be part and parcel of -- of the review in terms of where we're going. And so, we'll update him on that and talk to him about the tweaks.

Gabby (ph)?

QUESTION: Thanks, Sean.

President Trump has sent out two tweets now criticizing members of the House Freedom Caucus for preventing Planned Parenthood from being defunded by opposing the AHCA. Is that something that he would want to see tacked on in the rider to (inaudible) funding bill?

SPICER: Well, I think that he's made very clear what his position is on Planned Parenthood. And -- and obviously, this was an opportunity to defund it. And he -- but -- but I don't want to get ahead of our legislative strategy. We'll look at other opportunities. But this is definitely one that was an -- you know, a way to make that happen.


QUESTION: On that legislative strategy and the idea of working with Democrats, there's a school of thought in this town that last week proved that the president is lacking in political capital. So I have two questions.

One is, what's in it for Democrats to work with the president now? And two, if fully pursued and to get things through the House, you know, Democrats and Republicans work together, wouldn't that tend to undermine the job security of Speaker Ryan if the House Freedom Caucus is frozen out?

SPICER: Well -- so, two things.

Number one, I think the message that sends to the -- you know, the -- as I mentioned to I think it was Jonathan at the beginning, it's a two-way street.

SPICER: We heard -- I mean, you see the -- whether it's Judge Gorsuch, which they're, you know, throwing down decades of -- of Senate tradition by saying, "We're just gonna filibuster this guy." I don't think there's anyone in America that can honestly look at his qualifications and suggest that he's not qualified as a jurist on the Supreme Court.

I mean, there's nothing that anyone has seen or laid a glove on him through these four days that suggests that he's not qualified to serve, and I think that it's a -- so -- and again, with Obamacare, repealing and replacing it, several of the leading Democrats came out from the get-go and said we have no interest in doing that.

So -- I think there's a point at which both parties can look back and figure out whether or not it's worth engaging. I think the president, as I mentioned, is eager to get to 218 on a lot of his -- on a lot of his initiatives, whether it's tax reform, infrastructure, there's a lot of things and I think that he is going to be willing to listen to other voices on the other side to figure out if people want to work with him to get these big things done, to make Washington work, to enhance the lives of the American people, then he's going to work with them.

I think he had a great meeting with the CBC the other day, for example, where he talked about infrastructure. He talked about loans and small business lending, education. There are things that he is willing to engage individuals with or groups or caucuses to get to 2018 and further advance his agenda. So it's not about undermining anybody, it's about moving the agenda forward and getting things done.

QUESTION: It's Speaker Ryan who has bills on the floor, not the president. So what's in it for Speaker Ryan?

SPICER: Getting things done. I think there is still a sense of doing what's in the best interest of this country that exists. So I mean, let's -- let's just make sure that we understand.

I think that his goal -- he came here to get things done and I think, you know, as it was pointed out, there was a level of disappointment that he expressed on Friday. He wants to get things done, if people want to work together and I think what this event on Friday did was frankly draw more people into the process, to saying, OK let's figure out if we can actually come together with some consensus ideas to get to 218, whether or not they come from one side of the aisle or the other to pass this bill and make a better system. He understands and frankly I think a lot of Democrats do, that there's an opportunity here, with health care being sort of a big issue, with Obamacare being such a looming disaster, that we have an opportunity to do some stuff. And if Democrats want to join in, then that's great and we'll do that.


QUESTION: The -- excuse me -- you talked a quite a bit up there about the wide latitude that Secretary Price has to dismantle Obamacare from (inaudible). Is that still the case? Will he continue to try to dismantle Obamacare while you're trying to work with moderate Democrats on health care reform?

And also, the health care bill would have repealed almost all of those Obamacare taxes. Do you want to see those repealed as part of the tax reform bill?

SPICER: I think Secretary Price is up here today. There is a lot of meetings that are already taking place internally with the team. There's a lot of options that are on the table in terms of -- especially when it comes to what we called phase one and phase two, trying to get some of that stuff out the door. And as we look back on -- you know, talking about lessons learned, I think one of them is to try to get some of the phase one, phase two meshed together and pushed out.

How we do that, whether we wait for the revival of legislation before we put up -- remember, I mean, I think -- just so we're clear, and I mentioned earlier in this, Obamacare had a ton of fits and starts during its process. It was left for dead multiple times, but they pressed forward. I don't think that that's necessarily a model to look for in terms of how they jammed it down, but I do think that we have to recognize that we are, you know, 17, 18 days into this process.

I think the president's made very clear, we're not -- it's not over. There are people coming to the table, but he's going to listen to all good ideas across the spectrum to figure out what it takes to get to 218. And we'll see where we go from there.

John (ph)?



QUESTION: Follow up on -- the health care bill would have repealed those Obamacare taxes?

SPICER: And I think that's part and parcel of that discussion, is how we look at both the taxes and some of the phase one stuff. But we're not ready to announce anything now.

John Decker (ph)?

QUESTION: Yeah, as far as Jared Kushner's offer to meet with Chairman Burr and talk with the Senate Intelligence Committee, is there any particular reason why the White house would not be opposed to the idea of Jared Kushner testifying under oath before that committee?

SPICER: Again, this is -- we -- Jared volunteered to meet with the committee. They haven't -- they haven't even confirmed having a meeting yet. So to get ahead of what they've even asked for would be a little silly.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) in the White House's view, a dangerous precedent in having a senior aide to the president going up. Ordinarily we see sometimes the White house invoking executive privilege. Why haven't you done this in this particular case?

SPICER: Because I think Jared did a job during the transition and the campaign where he -- he was a conduit and to -- to leaders and that's until we had a State Department, a functioning place for people to go. Remember, we had a delay in some of these things, and that -- that was his role. And he has -- he wants to make sure that he's very clear about the role that he played, who he talked to and that's -- that's it.


QUESTION: Sean, is -- is Obamacare repeal dead?

SPICER: I don't think it's dead, in the sense...

QUESTION: Well, it has to be dead if you're gonna have Democrats working with you, so.

SPICER: Why, why? No, no, no, I don't -- I don't know that that's true, because I think it...


QUESTION: ... Affordable Care Act, why would they -- why would they work with you...

SPICER: Because it's dying.

QUESTION: You're still trying to repeal it.

SPICER: Because I think part of it is is there's a recognition that it is failing. It's dying on its own. It will be dead soon...

QUESTION: A lot of Democrats say it's not dying...

SPICER: OK, well, then a lot of Democrats need to get...


QUESTION: There are repairs that need to be made, they say, but...

SPICER: I understand that, but...

QUESTION: ... to kill the whole thing might not be the direction they want to go.

SPICER: I understand what they want, Brad (ph), but I think there's a difference.

I think that we recognize that premiums continue to go sky high, deductibles are going sky high, choices are going down. By Leader Pelosi's own metrics, this is dying. She's the one who crafted the metrics. She said that there was a three-prong system to determining its success. It is an abysmal failure.

If they wanna come back to the table and recognize how we can do it in a more responsible way, to achieve the goals that Obamacare set out to do, but do so in a way that's going to do the opposite of what Obamacare actually did, which is to increase choice, drive down costs, we're willing to have that discussion. But right now and I -- and again, remember...


QUESTION: ... repeal has to be put to the side.

SPICER: Right, but -- but, Jim, one of the things that I mentioned, I just wanna be clear on this, is we have to figure out how we get to 216, 218, depending on where the number is that given day.

That doesn't mean we need the entire Democratic Caucus. That means we need some responsible Democrats who want to sit down and have a discussion about how to do that. And I think that there may be enough of them that are willing to do that.

But I understand where the -- where the Democratic leadership is. And that -- that's one thing. I mean, they continue to -- to stake out a very, very far left position.

That's not where all their members are. And I think that we can -- based on the calls that have come in over the last 50, you know, 60 hours, I think that here might be some room to have a conversation with people who want to engage in a constructive conversation on how to move forward.

And that, so -- so let's see how that evolves. I don't know that we're ready to jump into this today. But I think as the calls come forward, the president's view is, "If you all want to get together and start coming to a way that we can come to resolution, we're willing to listen. But right now, we've gotten an agenda to continue to pursue."


QUESTION: ... do you think?

SPICER: I'm not gonna jump ahead.

But I will say that we believe that there is something that could still be done at some point. And I think the further along we go, where premiums continue to go up, more and more people will be drawn into this discussion, because there's going to be a continued cry from people in terms of the impact that it's having on their pocketbook and on their ability to see people that -- a doctor of their choice or a plan that's not just not (inaudible).




QUESTION: ... quick -- real quick follow-up on Chairman Nunes.


QUESTION: Do you -- do you reject that there's any kind of perception problem whatsoever in having the chairman over here the day before he comes out publicly and says, "By the way, there's this information that's helpful to the president"?

SPICER: Well, I -- I think the chairman's made very clear through his public comments what his goal was. And I think anyone who wants to -- you can't ask someone to do a review of the situation and then -- and then, sort of, create inferences that because they're reviewing a situation, that there's something, you know, that -- that's not right about that.

He is -- he is reviewing a situation. He did exactly what -- and I think he's been fairly open with the press, as far as what he was doing, who he spoke to and why.

And I think, you know, from our standpoint, that's what -- what we had asked to do, is a review.


QUESTION: Sean, several topics. One...


SPICER: Shocker.

QUESTION: Don't be.

You heard the question that I lobbed at the attorney general about the hate crime had happened in New York, the white supremacists that went to New York and targeted a black male. Hate crimes are on the rise. What do -- what do you say, what is this White House saying about this obvious apparent hate crime?

SPICER: I'm not gonna -- I mean, you're -- you -- you yelled at the -- the attorney general a specific case, if I'm not correct.

QUESTION: White Houses in the past have talked about -- and you've talked about issues...


SPICER: I'm glad to talk about the issue, I just want to be very clear that I'm not gonna reference any specific case before the DOJ right now.

I will say that the president has recognized that we need to bring the country together. He wants to unite this country. He wants to bring people together.

He had a very long conversation with respect to race in itself, which I think is somewhat, if I'm not correct, in your question?


SPICER: There, OK, just wanted to be clear. Thank you. And I think that was one of the topics that he talked about with the CBC, some of the issues with respect to crime and education and some of the solutions that they suggested that could be done during their meeting. And I think those are the kind of things that I think we can start -- we can continue that conversation.