Mueller Report Sent to Department of Justice – No Further Indictments Recommended – 3/22/2019

Today, it was announced that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III completed his investigation regarding alleged “Russian Interference” with the 2016 Election.

In a letter dated March 22, 2019, Attorney General William P. Barr wrote to Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Collins. He informed them that The Special Counsel had submitted a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions”.

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VIDEO: ABC NEWS 

Barr has promised to be as transparent as possible, but it’s unclear how extensive or detailed Barr’s own “report” to Congress will be.

The submission of Mueller’s report marks the culmination of his closely held inquiry, a case that has engulfed the Trump administration since its inception and led to multiple guilty pleas from former advisers to the president. With the closing of his investigation, Congress and the newly empowered Democratic House majority will soon assess his findings – and determine what steps to take next.

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Earlier Today – President Trump Makes a Statement Before Leaving the White House – 3/20/2019

The Armor of God — Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

 

 

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South Lawn
12:25 P.M. EDT

Q    Do you know when the Mueller report will be released, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT:  I have no idea.  No collusion.  No collusion.  I have no idea when it’s going to be released.  It’s interesting that a man gets appointed by a deputy; he writes a report.  You know — never figured that one out.  A man gets appointed by a deputy; he writes a report.

I had the greatest electoral victory — one of them — in the history of our country.  Tremendous success.  Tens of millions of voters.  And now somebody is going to write a report who never got a vote.

So we’ll see what the report says.  Let’s see if it’s fair.  I have no idea when it’s going to be released.

Q    Have you reversed your policy on Syria?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no.  We’re — in Syria, we’re leaving 200 people there and 200 people in another place in Syria, closer to Israel, for a period of time.  I brought this out for you because this is a map of — everything in the red — this was on Election Night in 2016.  Everything red is ISIS.  When I took it over, it was a mess.

Now, on the bottom, that’s the exact same.  There is no red.  In fact, there’s actually a tiny spot, which will be gone by tonight.

So that’s ISIS — red, right there — and the bottom one is how it is today.  This just came out 20 minutes ago.  So this is ISIS on Election Day — my election day — and this is ISIS now.  So that’s the way it goes.

Q    Mr. President, does the American public have a right to see the Mueller report?

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t mind.  I mean, frankly, I told the House, “If you want, let them see it.”  Again, I say: A deputy — because of the fact that the Attorney General didn’t have the courage to do it himself, a deputy that’s appointed appoints another man to write a report.  I just won an election with 63 million votes or so.  Sixty-three million.  I had 206 to 223 in the Electoral College — 306 to 223.

And I’m saying to myself, wait a minute, I just won one of the greatest elections of all time in the history of this country — and even you will admit that — and now I have somebody writing a report that never got a vote.  It’s called the Mueller report.

So explain that, because my voters don’t get it.  And I don’t get it.

Now, at the same time, let it come out.  Let people see it.  That’s up to the Attorney General.  We have a very good Attorney General; he’s a very highly respected man.  And we’ll see what happens.

But it’s sort of interesting that a man, out of the blue, just writes a report.  I got 306 electoral votes against 223.  That’s a tremendous victory.  I got 63 million more.  I got 63 million votes.  And now somebody just writes a report?  I think it’s ridiculous.

But I want to see the report.  And you know who will want to see it?  The tens of millions of people that love the fact that we have the greatest economy we’ve ever had.

I’m going to Ohio right now.  They were going to close the plant; it’s where they make the tanks.  It was going to be closed, and I stopped them from closing it.  And now it’s thriving and doing great.  And the people of Ohio, they like Trump because I’ve done a great job in Ohio.  And I’ve done a great job all over the country.  That’s what the people want to hear.

Q    Are you saying that Bob Mueller is a bad actor?

THE PRESIDENT:  I know nothing about it.  I know that he’s conflicted and I know that his best friend is Comey, who’s a bad cop.  And I know that there are other things, obviously.  You know I had a business transaction with him that I’ve reported many times that you people don’t talk about.  But I had a nasty business transaction with him and other things.  I know that he put 13 highly conflicted and, you know, very angry — I call them angry — Democrats in.  So, you know — so, what it is.

Now, let’s see whether or not it’s legit.  You know better than anybody there’s no collusion.  There was no collusion.  There was no obstruction.  There was no nothing.  But it’s sort of an amazing thing that when you have a great victory, somebody comes and does a report out of nowhere — tell me how that makes sense — who never got a vote; who the day before he was retained to become Special Counsel, I told him he wouldn’t be working at the FBI.  And then the following day, they get him for this.  I don’t think so.  I don’t think people get it.

With all of that being said, I look forward to seeing the report.

Q    On the China trade deal, once you have an agreement with President Xi, will you immediately lift the China tariffs?  Will you remove the tariffs right away?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  We’re not talking about removing them.  We’re talking about leaving them and for a substantial period of time, because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China, that China lives by the deal.  Because they’ve had a lot of problems living by certain deals and we have to make sure.

Now, no President has ever done what I’ve done with China.  China had free reign over our country, taking out $500 billion a year for many years.  We actually rebuilt China, in the truest sense of the word.  We rebuilt China.

But we’re getting along with China very well.  President Xi is a friend of mine.  The deal is coming along nicely.  We have our top representatives going there this weekend to further the deal.  But, no, we have — we’re taking in billions and billions of dollars right now in tariff money.  And for a period of time, that will stay.

Q    Mr. President, your tweets about George Conway, how do they fit the standard of the First Lady’s BE BEST campaign?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I don’t know him.  Yeah, I don’t know him.  He’s a whack job, there’s no question about it.  But I really don’t know him.  He — I think he’s doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife.  Kellyanne is a wonderful woman.  And I call him “Mr. Kellyanne.”  The fact is that he’s doing a tremendous disservice to a wife and family.  She’s a wonderful woman.

Q    The 232 tariff reform: What are the recommendations?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well — are you talking about the one that you just —

Q    The auto tariffs.  The auto tariffs.

THE PRESIDENT:  — found out about having to do with cars?

Q    Correct.

THE PRESIDENT:  No recommendation.  It’s up for review, and the European Union has been very tough on the United States for many years but nobody talked about it.  And so we’re looking at something to combat it.

Not only do they charge our companies — if you look, it was 1.6 billion to Google; it just happened yesterday.  And a lot of other things.  A lot of litigation.

But I say the European Union has been as tough on the United States as China, just not as much money involved.

Q    Are you leaning towards tariffs?

THE PRESIDENT:  We’ll see what happens.  We’ll see whether or not they negotiate a deal.  If they negotiate a deal, a fair deal, that’s a different story.

Q    Mr. President, are (inaudible) beneath the dignity of the office you hold?

THE PRESIDENT:  Uh, yeah, go ahead.

Q    Will you answer that question, Mr. President?

Q    (Inaudible) from your Twitter account?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think that Twitter is a way that I get out the word when we have a corrupt media.  And it is corrupt and it’s fake.  So Twitter is a way that I can get out the word.  Because our media is so dishonest — a lot of it — the mainstream.  A lot of it.  They don’t report the facts.  They don’t report — as an example that I just showed you, they don’t want to report this, so I figure I might as well show it.

So when I do Twitter statements, I get out the word from a fake and corrupt media.

And I have, on five sites —

Q    But is it beneath the office you hold?

THE PRESIDENT:  Please.  Please.

Q    Is it beneath your office?

THE PRESIDENT:  Please.

On five sites, I have over 100 million people, and that includes Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and everything.  And it’s a way that I can get honesty out, because there’s tremendous dishonesty with respect to the fake-news media.

Q    Mr. President, what was your reaction — Mr. President, what was your reaction —

Q    Your Secretary of State for African Affairs went to Angola this week and he showed the support of the United States to Angola.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.

Q    About the work that of President, João Lourenço, doing in Angola — João Lourenço, the new President of Angola, he’s combatting corruption really hard in Angola.  What do you think about that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’ll take a look at that.  I’ll speak to the Secretary.

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Pakistan — we’ll be meeting with Pakistan.  I think our relationship right now is very good with Pakistan.

Thank you.

END
12:35 P.M. EDT

 

Live: President Trump Speaking at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center Last Tank Manufacturing Plant – Lima, Ohio – 3/20/2019

President Trump gave a shoutout to United Auto Workers!   He also congratulated to all the workers!

 

FEDERAL RESERVE PRESS CONFERENCE – March 20, 2019

Federal Reserve keeps rates on hold, Cuts forecast to No Hikes in 2019

 

 

Stocks turn positive as Federal Reserve signals no rate hikes in 2019. 

 

 

 

GROWING THE ECONOMY FOR ALL AMERICANS: The economy continued its historic boom in 2018, benefiting all Americans as job creation soared and wages rose.

  • The economy outperformed expectations for the second year in a row in 2018.
  • Gross Domestic Product grew 3.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018, the fastest such growth in 13 years.
  • More than 2.6 million jobs were created in 2018 and the number of job openings surpassed the number of unemployed workers for the first time on record.
  • The unemployment rate remained at or below 4 percent for the past 12 months, the longest streak in nearly five decades.
    • The unemployment rate hit 3.7 percent in September 2018, a near 50-year low.
  • The booming economy paid off for American workers last year – with nominal hourly wage growth exceeding 3 percent for the first time in almost a decade.
    • Nominal wages grew 3.4 percent over the last 12 months, the fastest pace since 2009.
  • The Trump economy has helped raise people out of poverty and increased self-sufficiency.
    • Since the election, more than 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps.

ROLLING BACK BURDENSOME REGULATIONS: The Trump Administration has rolled back business killing regulations to unleash an economic boom across all sectors of the economy.

  • President Trump has rolled back rising regulatory costs that stifled economic growth.
    • In 2018, Federal agencies issued 12 deregulatory actions for every new significant regulatory action, saving $23 billion in regulatory costs.
  • The President’s deregulation has unleashed the power of American energy, enabling more access to minerals on Federal lands and lowering costs that discouraged energy production.
    • Under President Trump, oil and natural gas production have both hit all-time highs.
  • The Trump Administration has taken a measured approach to financial regulation to preserve stability while addressing the failures of the Dodd-Frank Act.
  • Last year, President Trump signed legislation providing regulatory relief to small banks.
  • The Trump Administration has enhanced choice and price competition in the biopharmaceutical markets, resulting in a record number of generic drug approvals that saved Americans $26 billion during the first year and half of the Administration.

THE TAX CUTS ARE WORKING: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has spurred more business investment and put more money in the pockets of American workers.  Americans are better off today thanks to President Trump’s historic tax cuts.

  • The tax cuts are allowing American families to keep more of their hard earned money.
    • Real disposable personal income increased by $2,300 from the end of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • Business investment and productivity are on the rise thanks to the tax cuts.
    • Capital Expenditures are up $300 billion from 2017.
    • Private nonresidential fixed investment by nonfinancial businesses is up 9.2 percent.
    • Business sector productivity grew at an annual rate of 1.9 percent, nearly twice the rate of the expansion prior to the tax cuts.

 

White House Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and OMB Acting Director Russel Vought – 3/11/2019

It’s the government’s responsibility to protect the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life.  The budget requests $750 billion for our national defense.  And to be clear, this is not funding for endless wars, this is for research and development and procurement to fund the most awe-inspiring military the world has ever known.

This President works for the American people and keeps his promises. The left works for outsiders and could care less about Americans. 

 

President Donald J. Trump is Promoting a Fiscally Responsible and Pro-American 2020 Budget (click this link)

 

“A Budget for America’s Future reinforces the pro-growth policies that have led to historic job growth and prosperity, cuts wasteful spending, and balances in 15 years.” Russ Vought

 

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

2:13 P.M. EDT

MS. SANDERS:  Good afternoon.  President Trump’s 2020 budget, which was released today, builds upon incredible success and keeps his promises to the American people.  It continues the President’s pro-job creation policies, keeps taxes low, combats the opioid epidemic, protects our veterans, defends our nation, and secures our borders.

Even with a strong economy, deficits are still a threat, and this budget demonstrates the President’s vision to restrain Washington spending and reach a balanced budget by 2034.  This is a clear roadmap for a more fiscally responsible future if Congress chooses to follow it.

To talk about the President’s budget proposal and take questions on the topic, I’d like to bring up Acting Director of OMB Russ Vought.

After that, I’ll be back up to take questions of the day.

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  Thanks, Sarah.  Good afternoon everyone.  Happy budget day.

Q    Happy budget day.

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  Today we have released the President’s fiscal year 2020 budget, “A Budget for a Better America: Promises Kept. Taxpayers First.”  This budget reflects the President’s priorities to ensure that all Americans can benefit from the nation’s historic economic boom and record-low unemployment.

No President has done more in two years to strengthen our military, restart our economy, and reform our government than President Trump — promises he made while running for office.

This great progress is threatened by our unsustainable national debt, which has nearly doubled under the previous administration and now stands at more than $22 trillion.  Annual deficits are continuing to rise and will exceed a trillion dollars a year.  And it’s projected that interest payments on the national debt will exceed military spending by 2024.  Washington has a spending problem and it endangers the future prosperity of our nation for generations to come.

This budget contains nearly $2.7 trillion in savings, more spending reductions proposed than any administration in history.  This budget will balance in 15 years.

Last year, President Trump directed federal agencies to meet a target of a 5 percent reduction to non-defense discretionary spending.  I’m proud to report to you today that we have achieved that target.

In terms of the economy, our GDP grew by 3.1 percent over the four quarters of fiscal year 2018.  While many claimed we were guilty of wishful thinking, we’ve met our economic forecast two years in a row — the first administration to ever do that.

We are confident that the President’s historic tax reforms, deregulation, trade policy, unleashing American energy will continue our economic growth.  Economic policies in this budget will generate more than enough revenue to pay for the cost of the tax cut.

The fiscal year 2020 President’s budget outlines a number of key priorities for the administration to continue to pursue.  The budget supports public and private school choice through a federal tax credit of up to $50 billion over 10 years.

While this administration has made major progress toward streamlining our infrastructure permitting, we continue to request an additional $200 billion to lever up to a trillion dollars in total spending.

It’s the government’s responsibility to protect the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life.  The budget requests $750 billion for our national defense.  And to be clear, this is not funding for endless wars, this is for research and development and procurement to fund the most awe-inspiring military the world has ever known.

In addition, federal resources and frontline defenders are overwhelmed at the southern border.  And the fiscal year 2020 budget provides sizeable funding of an $8.6 billion for full completion of the wall and other border security resources.

In terms of other major reforms, the administration is proposing uniform work requirements for Medicaid, TANF, SNAP — or food stamps — and certain housing programs.  We can help low-income families and end dependency on government benefits by strengthening work requirements.

The administration also wants to lower drug costs.  The budget proposes a drug pricing strategy that puts American patients first, promotes generics, and reduces out-of-pocket costs.

This administration has also identified a number of wasteful, inefficient programs.  For example, we can save hundreds of millions of dollars by right-sizing and reforming the underperforming programs like Job Corps, a residential youth training program that has made headlines in recent years for the number of security incidents at the facilities.

Or take the $600 million that we spend at 85 different cultural and exchange programs at the Department of State, despite the fact that only 1 percent of the 1 million students that come to this country to study ever benefitted from that program, and the fact that, at the State Department, these programs doubled in the last 10 to 15 years.

This budget is yet another fiscally responsible and commonsense spending plan from President Trump.  The President has continually called for fiscal restraint and will persist in his efforts to end the wasteful spending.

Thank you, everyone.  And with that, I’m ready to take some questions.  John.

Q    Russ, there are concerns by some budget watchdogs that money that’s in the Overseas Contingency Operations budget will end up building a barrier on the southern border.  Can you allay concerns of some of these folks that none of that money would be used to build a barrier?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  We do not request any OCO money — overseas counterinsurgency money — for the purchasing of — or for the completion of the wall.  We do have emergency spending that we devote to it, and we continue the military rebuild by asking for what’s necessary to complete the wall.  That does include military construction funding.  So what we do is we both backfill in fiscal year ’19 any funding that is used in military construction.  And in fiscal year 2020, we asked for Congress to appropriate these dollars.

Q    And one other question about defense, if I could, Russ.  It also calls — the budget also calls for the purchase of eight F-15s.  And there are concerns that you’re going to lower the number of F-35s that we bought.  What’s the reason for buying the F-15s?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  We go along the lines of what the Defense Department has requested with their five-year defense program.  It’s an allocation of different plans, including the F-35 and the F-18 — the Super Hornets.  So this is something that has been requested by the military, and we think it’s something that will make sense when Congress considers it.

Jon.

Q    Yeah.  Just two questions.  One, you mentioned what the President promised during the campaign.  During the campaign, he also promised that he would eliminate the national debt within eight years.  And as you know, the debt at the end of his first year was at $20 trillion; last year it went to $21 trillion; last month, $22 trillion.  So what happened to that promise?  I mean, the President has added historically large numbers to the national debt instead of keeping a promise to actually pay it off.

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  Look, again, the last administration nearly doubled the national debt.  And when this President ran for office, he made a commitment to the American people that he would attempt to tackle the debt within eight years.  This President did that the very first year that he came to office by sending forth a budget that balanced within 10 years and had more spending reductions than any in history.

Q    But he’s added $2 trillion — more than $2 trillion to the national debt.

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  He also came into office and had an economic recovery that was needed to put people back to work, get the economy going, and to rebuild the military, and had historic levels of military at $700 [billion] and $716 billion in national defense dollars.

At the same time, Congress has been ignoring the President’s spending reductions for the last two years.  It’s only now in our third budget that they’re willing to have a conversation about the national debt.  We’ve been trying to have it since we got to office.  The President is putting forward these reductions: He’s putting forward a 5 percent cut to non-defense discretionary spending.  He’s putting forward reforms to mandatory programs that are on autopilot while keeping his commitment to American seniors by not making changes to Medicare and Social Security.

Q    Two quick questions.  One, to go back to — to drill down a little bit on what Jon Karl asked.  If the deficit is such a problem, why not at least cut the rate of increase to the defense budget?  And secondly, he had said “promises kept,” but we’re cutting Medicare.  How does that keep his promise to the American people?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  He’s not cutting Medicare in this budget.  What we are doing is putting forward reforms that lower drug prices, that because Medicare pays a very large share of drug prices in this country, it has the impact of finding savings.  We’re also finding waste, fraud, and abuse.  But Medicare spending will go up every single year by healthy margins, and there are no structural changes for Medicare beneficiaries.

Q    But as for the defense budget, why not at least cut the rate of increase if the deficit is of such concern — it’s in the trillions — why not cut at least the increase?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  Because he’s the Commander-In-Chief and he thinks it’s important to secure the country.  It’s one of his most basic constitutional responsibilities.  The military put forward a five-year defense plan.  It was done over a series of years about the needs, which gets back to Jon’s question.

We are going along with that five-year defense plan.  In addition, we’re putting additional dollars towards the military construction funds that we have tapped.

Fred.

Q    Yeah.  Thanks, Russ.  Yeah, a couple.  One, could you address two major drivers in long-term spending, which would be baseline budgeting and entitlement spending in general?  And secondly, this seems maybe a little bit more ambitious in terms of savings than previous budgets you’ve proposed.  And I wondered why that would be, since you’re now dealing with Democratic House, whereas in the past you might have been able to get more (inaudible)?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  It’s very in line with previous budgets.  We balance in 15 years.  Our first budget balanced in 10.  One of the reasons that we were unable to balance quicker is because it gets harder each and every year that Congress doesn’t go along with our spending reductions.

You mentioned mandatory spending; it is a driver.  We have more reforms than any President’s budget in history.

But look, what has happened for far too long is that Congress has blamed mandatory spending and then increased discretionary spending, which they have a vote on every single year, by large degrees.  They continue to let a paradigm exist in this country that says: For every dollar in defense spending, we’re going to increase non-defense spending by a dollar.  We think we need to break that paradigm.  We don’t think that that paradigm allows us to be able to get our fiscal house in order.

Q    Thanks, Russ.  Realistically, the administration is not going to get $8.6 billion for wall funding through this budget.  Are there other executive actions that you have been looking at in order to pursue — but despite the national emergency being declared and the Treasury Asset Forfeiture and the drug enforcement dollars — that you could use in order to continue to fill the additional funding that you say is necessary for the wall?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  Right now, we are focused on spending the money that Congress gave us in the last appropriations bill and the money that we have identified as part of declaring a national emergency and spending that well.  And this $8.6 billion is geared towards what we would need in addition to complete that wall.

Q    Russ, I mean, I know this administration has talked about the importance of infrastructure, and you propose a $200 billion infrastructure this year.  But last year, there were cuts to other programs that caused — would’ve caused a net decrease to infrastructure spending.  So would there be a net increase in infrastructure spending under this budget?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  What most people refer to when they look and make that assertion is they’re looking at the fact that the trust fund doesn’t have enough revenues coming into it.  This budget looks at the baseline and assumes that to be the case.

But we are totally ready and willing to talk with Congress about how to ensure that there’s additional dollars in the Federal Trust Fund and to put forward additional $200 billion in new investment to make sure that it’s not just a surface transportation bill; that when we need money for broadband or other infrastructure, that is also something that we can pursue.

Q    Russ, thanks.  So it sounds like you’re saying that the administration needed to take on deficit spending the first couple years because the economy needed the kick.  But we also hear from the administration that this is an economy that is roaring right now.  So with that being the premise, how do you square having deficits in 2019, 2020, ’21, and 2022, four years going forward, of trillion-plus-dollar deficits?  How is that fiscal conservatism?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  I wouldn’t say that we needed deficits to get the economy started.  I would say that we put forward spending reductions that were aimed at a balanced budget, and we have each and every year.

We do have large deficits.  That’s why we’re here transparently saying that we have a problem as a country.  It takes a long time to get out of that mess.  We came into office and faced $10.5 trillion right off the bat.  And instead of being with us and considering our proposals, and allowing us to make the factual case for why the American people would be better off under these reforms, Congress just hasn’t been willing to play ball, even though they have the power of the purse.

Q    It seems like — Russ, just to pick up on that real quick.  It seems like one of the ways you’re trying to go at it is by reducing non-defense discretionary spending.  Defense spending over the next years is $7 trillion, but non-defense discretionary, $5 trillion.  Do you really believe that Congress is going to yank spending down that significantly over the next decade?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  We believe that every budget is an opportunity to put forward our vision of the next 10 years.  We are doing that in this budget, and we are saying to the American people: We can no longer afford the paradigm that Congress keeps giving us, which is that we’re never going to make any tradeoffs; that we’re never going to align what we spend with what we take in; that we’re not going to do what every family does across the country and trying to figure out what they can afford before they go out and spend.

So, yes, we are trying to say that we need to continue to secure the country.  We need to continue to secure the border.  We’re not going to be bashful about that.  But at the same time, we’re also going to say that we have many, many programs that are wasteful and inefficient that we can longer afford.

Phil.

Q    Russ, you called on me next.  I’m sorry, Russ, you came to me.

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  Sure.

Q    (Inaudible) the next question.  I want to go the least of these: welfare reform and SNAP.  How much money is proposed for this Welfare to Work Initiative with job training?  And also, with SNAP, what are the lessons learned that you’re trying to, I guess, reshape this harvest box proposal?  Because it came under great criticism before, and now you’re proposing it again.  Could you talk about those two issues?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  It did receive criticism, but we thought those criticisms were unmerited, and we’re not going to walk away from the proposal as it pertains to the harvest box.

Look, we think there’s nothing wrong with putting forward a reform that says, “In addition to your normal food stamps spending benefits that you would get at the retail, that you would get a harvest box that allows you to get a more balanced meal and to save money to the taxpayers at the same time.”

In terms of work requirements, it’s something that has long been viewed as a success since the 1990s.  We expand on it.  It is something that we have long viewed as important to be able to say — take the same principles of reducing dependency that we saw in TANF and then apply them to housing and to food stamps, and to Medicaid.

Q    But there are some people that slip through the cracks and they may need job training.  Are there funds proposed for job training, if you’re going to do this Welfare to Work Initiative?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  Absolutely.  The Department of Labor receives an adequate amount of funding in an era where we have $1 trillion deficits.  There will be many, many workforce development programs that are funded as part of this budget.

Phil.

Q    A lot of the discussion has been in terms of federal debt, but can you address that the federal unfunded liabilities, where does that number stand right now?  And what does this budget do to address that much larger number?

ACTING DIRECTOR VOUGHT:  Look, we have a lot of debts as a country.  We’re trying to take it on head on.  We’re trying to say that $22 trillion is not acceptable and we can’t go forward with trillion dollars every single year, and that the way to start doing that is to pursue the types of reforms where we think that the American people will have an opportunity to see how their lives would be better off under our proposals.

We do that in federal retirement benefits.  We do that in student loans.  We do that in welfare reforms.  We think that in each one of these scenarios, we’re going to be able to encourage the kind of conversation that allows us to get our house in order.

MS. SANDERS:  Thank you, Russ.

Lastly, quick comment: We extend our prayers to the loved ones, friends and family, of those killed in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302.  At least eight U.S. citizens were among the victims.  We are working with the government of Ethiopia and Ethiopian Airlines to offer all possible assistance.

With that, I will take your questions.  John.

Q    Sarah, the President said that Democrats hate Jewish people, according to a recent report.  We’ve also seen him tweet in the last couple of days that Democrats are the, quote, “anti-Jewish party.”  Does the President really believe Democrats hate Jews?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, the President has been an unwavering and committed ally to Israel and the Jewish people.  And, frankly, the remarks that have been made by a number of Democrats and failed to be called out by Democrat leadership is, frankly, abhorrent and it’s sad.  And it’s something that should be called by name.  It shouldn’t be put in a watered-down resolution.  It should be done the way the Republicans did it when Steve King made terrible comments.  We called it out by name.  We stripped him of his committee memberships.  And we’d like to see Democrats follow suit.

Q    But I ask — first of all, you mentioned Steve King.  The President — correct me if I’m wrong — has not condemned Steve King for what he said praising white supremacy.  Has the President publicly come out and said anything to criticize or condemn?

MS. SANDERS:  I speak on behalf of the President on a number of topics, and I have talked about that a number of times.  And I’d refer you back to those comments where I used words like “abhorrent” and “unacceptable.”

John.

Q    We’re getting some word that the President plans to nominate Patrick Shanahan later this week to be the Secretary of Defense, elevating him from the Acting position.  Can you tell us whether or not that is going to happen?

MS. SANDERS:  I am not going to make any personnel announcements at this time.  I can tell you that the President has a great deal of respect for Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan.  He likes him.  And when the President is ready to make announcement on that front, he certainly will.

Q    Just one more.  There are a lot of “actings” in the administration these days.  Any possibility of removing “acting” from Mick Mulvaney’s title?

MS. SANDERS:  Certainly a lot of possibility there.  Some of the reason that we have “actings” is because we’re waiting on the confirmation process, at least for a couple of those folks.  And we hope that that moves forward quickly.

Q    Sarah, I wanted to follow up on what the latest with China is.  Has the President made an offer for a Mar-a-Lago date?  And there’s also some reports that the Chinese feel the President is an unreliable negotiating partner after walking out on the North Korea talks.

MS. SANDERS:  Well, let me start with the first one.  In terms of whether or not we have a date set, not yet.  We’re continuing the negotiations with China.  When we have an announcement for the two leaders to sit down, we’ll certainly let you know.

The second part?

Q    And what would you say to the concerns by the Chinese that the President is an unreliable negotiating partner after the talks with North Korea broke down and he walked away from that?

MS. SANDERS:  I would say that’s absurd.  The President is going to make a deal if it’s a good deal.  He’s going to make a deal if it’s in the best interest of America.  And if he doesn’t feel like it’s a good deal, it’s not worth just signing a piece of paper.

And the President didn’t feel like what was on the table was enough.  The President is 100 percent committed to denuclearization of the Peninsula, and he’s going to make sure that whatever we do furthers that process.  We’ll see what happens with North Korea, the same way we’re going to see what happens in the negotiations with China.  They’re ongoing.

And the President is going to make sure whatever deal we get is in our best interest — that it’s fair and reciprocal trade; that it protects our intellectual property; and that it actually has safeguards to make sure that the Chinese follow through with whatever commitments that they make.

Blake.

Q    Sarah, picking up on that, does the President have any plans to speak with President Xi over the phone?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not aware of any scheduled calls.  But if we have any, we’ll certainly keep you posted.

Q    Is that the most likely step here, that they speak on the phone beforehand?  Or is it possible that these two still meet at the end of the month or at the beginning?

MS. SANDERS:  We’re going to keep everything on the table.  Again, negotiations are ongoing.  The President’s team, as well as the Chinese delegation, continue conversations.  And when they feel like it’s time for the two leaders to sit down, we’ll make that happen.

Francesca.

Q    Thanks, Sarah.  I have a news-of-the-day question but I didn’t get to ask my budget question before.  So, can I try —

MS. SANDERS:  You missed a big moment.

Q    I did.

MS. SANDERS:  The guy with all the details.

Q    All right.  So, in the budget, the way that I see it — and there’s a lot of pages to go through — it keeps referring to Western Hemisphere with regards to foreign aid spending but nothing specifically about Central America.  The President has said that he wants to cut money to Central America.  In fact, he could cut it all.  Is that in the budget?  Is that (inaudible)?

MS. SANDERS:  I don’t have any specific update on that front.  I don’t think there’s a different policy.

Q    All right.  On the news of the day, the big vote is coming up this week in the Senate on the resolution with regards to the national emergency.  What is the President doing to stop a rebellion among Republican senators?  We know that a rising number — it’s been reported as many as 10 or 15 — to vote against that.  What’s the President doing about that?

MS. SANDERS:  He’s doing his job.  He’s doing what Congress should be doing.  He took an oath of office, and he has a constitutional duty to protect the people of this country.  We have a humanitarian and national security crisis at our border, and the President is doing his job in addressing it.  He gave Congress a number of opportunities to actually address it, and they’ve failed to do so.  So the President is taking his constitutional authority that Congress granted him.

Let’s not forget, the only reason he has the authority to call a national emergency is because Congress gave him the right to do so.  They failed to do their job.  The President is fulfilling his duty, and he’s going to make sure he does what is necessary to protect the people of this country and secure our borders.

Q    I meant more along the lines of calls or meetings that he might be taking with senators who he believes could be voting for that resolution.

MS. SANDERS:  Certainly, we talk to a number of members every single day, certainly at the presidential and the staff level.  And we’re going to continue to engage with them in this process.

Q    Sarah, what is the administration specifically doing to look into Secretary Acosta’s role in the secret plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein?  Does the President have any misgivings about the role that this top official played in this deal?

MS. SANDERS:  That’s currently under review.  Because of that, I can’t get into a lot of specifics, but we’re certainly looking at it.

Hallie.

Q    Do you have a timeline for that review, Sarah?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not aware of a specific timeline.

Q    So I have a question for you, but I also have a follow-up to my colleague because I didn’t hear you actually answer the question.  So, yes or no: Does the President truly believe that Democrats hate Jews?

MS. SANDERS:  I am not going to comment on a potentially leaked document.  I can tell you what —

Q    (Inaudible.)  Does he think Democrats hate Jewish people, as he said on the South Lawn?

MS. SANDERS:  I think that they’ve had a lot of opportunities over last few weeks to condemn some abhorrent comments.

Q    But I’m asking about the President specifically.

MS. SANDERS:  I’m trying to answer you.  If you’d stop talking, I’ll finish my statement.

Q    Just a yes-or-no question.

MS. SANDERS:  The President has had — and laid out clearly his position on this matter.  Democrats have had a number of opportunities to condemn specific comments and have refused to do that.  That’s a question, frankly, I think you should ask Democrats what their position is, since they’re unwilling to call this what it is, and call it out by name, and take actual action —

Q    So is that a yes?

MS. SANDERS:  — against members who have done things like this, like the Republicans have done when they had the same opportunity.

Q    So I want to ask you about Paul Manafort, but I just want to be very clear.  You’re not answering the question.  Is there a reason?

MS. SANDERS:  I believe I answered it twice.

Q    You didn’t say yes or no.  Does he really believe Democrats hate Jews?  I’m just trying to get a sense of that.

MS. SANDERS:  I think that’s a question you ought to ask the Democrats.

Q    Let me ask you about Paul Manafort.  Why hadn’t — obviously, Paul Manafort goes for the second half of his sentencing this week.  Why hasn’t the President ruled out a pardon for Paul Manafort?

MS. SANDERS:  The President has made his position on that clear, and he’ll make a decision when he is ready.

Stephen.

Q    Sarah, on the pardons.  Last week, the President tweeted that Michael Cohen, quote, “directly asked me for a pardon.”  When did that happen?  Was that when Cohen — was Cohen here at the White House?  He came into the Oval Office and asked the President for a pardon?  Did it happen on the phone?  Do you have a date?  Do we know when that happened?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not going to get into specifics of things that are currently under review by the Oversight Committee and other committees.  What I can tell you is that Cohen’s own attorney stated and contradicted his client when he said that he was aware that those conversations had taken place.

We know that Michael Cohen lied to Congress prior to his testimony most recently, and we know that he’s lied at least twice in that hearing.  I think that it’s time to stop giving him a platform.  Let him go on to serve his time, and let’s move forward with matters of the country.

Q    One budget question just to put it on the record, because a lot of people in the country want to know.  Is there anything in the President’s 2020 budget request that has Mexico paying for the wall?

MS. SANDERS:  As the President has stated a number of times: through the USMCA trade deal that we look forward to getting passed soon; that will be part of how that takes place.

John.

Q    Thank you, Sarah.  Two brief questions.  Following up on John’s personnel question, does the President have full confidence in Secretary Acosta?  Or is the Labor Secretary possibly leaving?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not aware of any personnel changes.  But, again, those things are currently under review.  When we have an update, I’ll let you know.

Q    The other question is, is the President in discussion about signing an executive order to undo Executive Order 13166, President Clinton’s executive order requiring —

MS. SANDERS:  I was going to say, I hope you tell me what that one is.  (Laughter.)

Q    President Clinton’s executive order, 19 years ago, requiring multiple languages.  A new executive order, I am told, would make English the official language in government.  Is he considering that?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not aware of a specific executive order that’s been drafted, but that is the position of the White House.

Jim.

Q    Yes.  Did the President ask Gary Cohn to intervene or block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not aware of any conversations around that matter.

Q    And just to get back to Jon and Hallie’s question about the President’s comments about Democrats and Jewish people, isn’t that kind of rhetoric just, sort of, beneath everybody?

And do you think that the President has thought at all — going into this 2020 campaign — that the rhetoric just needs to be lowered, whether it’s talking about Democrats, the media, immigrants?  Or should we just plan on hearing the President use the same kind of language that we heard in 2016 and all through the first couple of years of this administration?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, I think that the real shame in all of this is that Democrats are perfectly capable of coming together and agreeing on the fact that they’re comfortable ripping babies straight from a mother’s womb or killing a baby after birth, but they have a hard time condemning the type of comments from Congresswoman Omar.  I think that is a great shame.
The President has been clear on what his position is, certainly what his support is for the people in the community of Israel.  And beyond that, I don’t have anything further for you, Jim.

Q    Don’t you think that just, sort of, drags down the rhetoric in the debate when you’re saying something that’s just patently untrue?  I mean, obviously —

MS. SANDERS:  Stating their policy positions is not patently untrue.

Q    But Democrats don’t — but Democrats don’t hate Jewish people.  That’s just silly.  It’s not true.  So —

MS. SANDERS:  I think they should call out their members by name, and we’ve made that clear.  I don’t have anything further to add.

April.

Q    But the President — you know, he —

MS. SANDERS:  Sorry, Jim.  April, go ahead.

Q    His rhetoric after Charlottesville, saying that there “are very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville, essentially suggesting that there are very fine people in the Nazis.  You know —

MS. SANDERS:  That’s not at all what the President was stating, not then, not at any point.  The President has been incredibly clear, and consistently and repeatedly condemned hatred, bigotry, racism, in all of its forms, whether it’s in America or anywhere else.  And to say otherwise is simply untrue.

April.

Q    That’s kind of along what I was asking — two questions — but that’s kind of along what I was asking.  Since the President did say that in Charlottesville — “some very fine people on both sides” — has he, in your opinion, or has he, for us — because I don’t remember it — condemned the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville for their actions against the Jewish Americans there?

MS. SANDERS:  The President has condemned neo-Nazis and called them by name, which is what we are asking Democrats to do when they see this same type of hatred.

Deborah.

Q    And also, can we expect to have —

MS. SANDERS:  Sorry, I’m going to keep moving.  Deborah, go ahead.

Q    Can we expect to have briefings more often now, since there has been a little bit changing atmosphere here?

MS. SANDERS:  I haven’t noticed a change in the atmosphere.  I know that the President is the most accessible President in modern history.

Q    (Inaudible.)

MS. SANDERS:  I know that he takes questions from you guys nearly every single day.  On days he doesn’t, sometimes I do it from here.  We answer hundreds of questions from reporters all over the world, every day.  We’re going to continue to do that.  Sometimes we’ll do it from this room.  Sometimes we’ll do it in other venues and other platforms.

Deborah.

Q    In the new spending blueprint, why did the OMB include money for the Yucca Mountain —

MS. SANDERS:  I’m sorry, can you say that a little louder?

Q    Yes, I can.  Why did the OMB include money for the Yucca Mountain waste — nuclear waste repository?  And what are the chances it’s in your spending blueprint?  And what are the chances that Congress will actually enact that?

MS. SANDERS:  I think that the chances that Congress will do its job based on historical precedent over the last couple of months are probably unlikely, but that doesn’t mean we’re not hopeful that they will work with us, look for ways that we can reduce spending, and grow — protect our military, do things like that, which you see in the President’s budget.  We’d love for them to work with us on that.

Q    And, Sarah, can you tell us a little bit about what the thinking was to put that in?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not aware of any specific policy changes on that front or anything on there.  I’ll let you know if we have something.

One last question.

Q    Sarah, why did the President write a check to Michael Cohen for $35,000 in August of 2017 while he was here in the White House?  What was that money for?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not aware of those specific checks.

Q    He testified about this.  He specifically accused the President of engaging in a conspiracy to conceal campaign finance violations.  He presented the check.

MS. SANDERS:  The President has been clear that there wasn’t a campaign violation.  Beyond that, I can’t get in —

Q    But the President has also said he didn’t know about these hush money payments.

MS. SANDERS:  Beyond that —

Q    His story has changed.

MS. SANDERS:  Again, I would refer you back to the President’s comments.  That’s not something I’m a part of.  And I would refer you to the President’s outside counsel beyond his comments.

Q    But this is something he did during his time in the White House.  Does the White House deny that the President is “Individual 1”?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m sorry?

Q    “Individual 1,” in the Southern District of New York, (inaudible) Michael Cohen?

MS. SANDERS:  Again, I’m not going to comment on that — an ongoing case.  That’s not something I would be a part of here at the White House.  And I would refer you to outside counsel.

What I can tell you is the President has stated his position and made it clear.

Thanks so much, guys.

END

2:45 P.M. EDT

Live: President Trump Participates In An American Work Force Policy Advisory Board Meeting with Ivanka Trump – The White House – 3/6/2019

This Meeting is Live Right Now from The White House:

President Trump and Ivanka Trump are working on developing America’s Work Force for now and into the future.  This is a live presentation of how the process is continuing.

 

“The creation of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, announced by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump on Wednesday, will work with the National Council for the American Worker established last July by an executive order.”

Wilbur Ross, Ivanka Trump Introduce Workforce Advisory Board
By Margaret Talev
Bloomberg
February 13, 2019

The chief executives of Apple Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Walmart Inc., are among 25 prominent Americans who will shape Trump administration efforts to develop job training programs to meet the changing demands of U.S. employers.

The creation of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, announced by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump on Wednesday, will work with the National Council for the American Worker established last July by an executive order.

Ivanka Trump, in a statement, said the board will “ensure inclusive growth” and that the administration wants all Americans “to have the skills and opportunity to secure good paying jobs and successfully navigate technological disruptions and the rapidly changing nature of work.”

The board is being established at a time when there are 7.3 million job openings and a gap between skills of those seeking to enter the workforce possess and those sought by employers, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans before an official announcement. Board members’ terms will run until July 2020.

The White House said 200 companies and associations have signed the administration’s Pledge to America’s Workers, promising to create more than 6.5 million education, training and skill-building opportunities over the next five years.

The board will be asked to help the council develop a national campaign to promote education and training, recommend ways to improve labor market data, increase private sector investments in job learning and better identify companies’ needs in hiring.

Read the full article here.

 

Live: President Trump Speaks at CPAC – National Harbor, MD – 3/2/2019

WE WILL DEFEND AMERICA’S WAY OF LIFE and WE WILL DEFEND OUR BORDERS – PRESIDENT TRUMP 

 

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS NOT COMPASSIONATE, It’s inhumane, injust and cruel! President Trump

 

 

MATT SCHLAPP ON CNN: 6/14/2018

“The biggest problem with our immigration laws is that we actually don’t execute them fully,” says Matt Schlapp.

“Are you saying that Barack Obama kept these families intact through the adjudication process? He separated the children from the adults because that’s what the law says.”

 

Sanctuary State Showdown

“These really aren’t sanctuary cities or sanctuary states; they’re criminal cities and it’s the right thing for conservatives to continue to stand up for politicians that say we have to follow the law,” says ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp.

 

#WALKAWAY FOUNDER BRANDON STAKA AT CPAC – 3/2/2019

 

 

 

Live: President Trump Surprises The Troops in Alaska

Our Commander-In-Chief surprises the Troops in Alaska.  This President never stops!  Thank you Mr. President for all you do for America and The World.  We are learning from you.  Praying for you and standing with you Sir! God Bless President Trump and God Bless America!

 

President Trump – No Deal Worked Out – Will Continue to Work with Chairman Kim – – 2/28/2018

NO DEAL YET!

Chairman Kim has a vision that is not close to the vision of President Trump and America.  President Trump will continue working with N. Korea.

President Trump said:  We got our hostages back, there is No More Testing.  Chairman Kim promised that there was not going to be nuclear testing.  In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, will be speaking with Chairman Kim.  We have a warm relationship with Chairman Kim.

President Trump wants to maintain a warm relationship with Chairman Kim but it just wasn’t appropriate to make a deal at this time.  

Q    Will there be a third summit, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT:  Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that.  They were willing to denuc a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.

So we continue to work, and we’ll see.  But we had to walk away from that particular suggestion.  We had to walk away from that.

 

Trump:  I’d much rather do it right than do it fast!

 

Trump:  North Korea has unbelievable POTENTIAL!

 

JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi
Hanoi, Vietnam
2:15 P.M. ICT

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much.  I want to begin by thanking the Prime Minister and President of Vietnam.  We’re in Hanoi.  It’s an incredible city.  What’s happened over the last 25 years has been incredible for the people of Vietnam, the job they’ve done — economic development.  Really something special.  So I want to thank all of the people of Vietnam for having treated us so well.

We have, I think, reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India.  They’ve been going at it, and we’ve been involved in trying to have them stop.  And we have some reasonably decent news.  I think, hopefully, that’s going to be coming to an end.  It’s been going on for a long time — decades and decades.  There’s a lot of dislike, unfortunately.  So we’ve been in the middle, trying to help them both out and see if we can get some organization and some peace.  And I think, probably, that’s going to be happening.

We have — Venezuela, as you know, has been very much in the news, and we’re sending supplies.  Supplies are getting through a little bit more.  It’s not easy.  It’s hard to believe somebody would say “let’s not do it.”  What difference would that make, except it’s great for its people to let it get through.  But we’re sending a lot of supplies down to Venezuela.  People are starving to death, and you would really think that the man in charge, currently, would let those supplies get through.  We are getting them into some of the cities and some of the areas that need them the most.  And it’s not an easy job.  It’s very difficult, actually.

On North Korea, we just left Chairman Kim.  We had a really, I think, a very productive time.  We thought, and I thought, and Secretary Pompeo felt that it wasn’t a good thing to be signing anything.  I’m going to let Mike speak about it.

But we literally just left.  We spent pretty much all day with Kim Jong Un, who is — he’s quite a guy and quite a character.  And I think our relationship is very strong.  But at this time — we had some options, and at this time we decided not to do any of the options.  And we’ll see where that goes.

But it was a very interesting two days.  And I think, actually, it was a very productive two days.  But sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times.  And I’ll let Mike speak to that for a couple of minutes, please.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you, Mr. President.  We had been working, our teams — the team that I brought to bear, as well as the North Koreans — for weeks to try and develop a path forward so at the summit we could make a big step — a big step along the way towards what the two leaders had agreed to back in Singapore, in June of last year.

We made real progress.  And indeed we made even more progress when the two leaders met over the last 24, 36 hours.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get all the way.  We didn’t get to something that ultimately made sense for the United States of America.  I think Chairman Kim was hopeful that we would.  We asked him to do more.  He was unprepared to do that.  But I’m still optimistic.  I’m hopeful that the teams will get back together in the days and weeks ahead, and continue to work out what’s a very complex problem.

We have said, since the beginning, that this would take time.  Our teams have gotten to know each other better.  We know what the limits are.  We know where some of the challenges are.

And I think as we continue to work on this in the days and weeks ahead, we can make progress so that we can ultimately achieve what it is that the world wants, which is to denuclearize North Korea, to reduce risk for the American people and the people all around the world.

I wish we could have gotten a little bit further, but I’m very optimistic that the progress that we made — both in the run-up to this summit, as well as the progress that the two leaders made over these past two days — put us in position to get a really good outcome.

And the President and Chairman Kim both felt good that they had made that progress but couldn’t quite get along the line any further to make a deal that would have been bigger at this point.  I hope we’ll do so in the weeks ahead.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

Q    Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT:  All right, Major, please.

Q    Has this process been more difficult than you thought?  And was the North Korean demand for lifting of some sanctions the real sticking point here —

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.

Q    — in that you did not want to do that and they did?  And will there be —

THE PRESIDENT:  It was about the sanctions.

Q    Will there be a third summit, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT:  Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that.  They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.

So we continue to work, and we’ll see.  But we had to walk away from that particular suggestion.  We had to walk away from that.

Q    Will all the sanctions that are currently in existence remain, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  They’re in place.  You know, I was watching as a lot of you folks over the weeks have said, “Oh, we’ve given up.”  We haven’t given up anything.  And frankly, I think we’ll end up being very good friends with Chairman Kim and with North Korea, and I think they have tremendous potential.

I’ve been telling everybody: They have tremendous potential.  Unbelievable potential.  But we’re going to see.

But it was about sanctions.  I mean, they wanted sanctions lifted but they weren’t willing to do an area that we wanted.  They were willing to give us areas but not the ones we wanted.

John?

Q    As we know, I mean, there’s an incredibly complex set of issues that are at play here in terms of lifting the sanctions and what denuclearization is.

THE PRESIDENT:  Right.

Q    Did you get any distance toward sort of what Kim’s vision of denuclearization is?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, we did.  We did.

Q    Because there is a lot — a line of thinking that he wants to keep some nukes.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.

Q    I mean, would you allow him to do that?  And if you can’t —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I don’t — John, I don’t want to comment —

Q    If you can’t get —

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, I don’t want to comment on that exactly, but he has a certain vision and it’s not exactly our vision, but it’s a lot closer than it was a year ago.  And I think, you know, eventually we’ll get there.

But for this particular visit, we decided that we had to walk, and we’ll see what happens.  Okay?

Oh, look, we have a gentleman nobody has ever heard of.  Sean Hannity — what are you doing here, Sean Hannity?  Should we let him do a question?  I don’t know.

Yeah, John, go ahead.

Q    If I could just follow up.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.

Q    So if he wants the sanctions completely off, and you want more on denuclearization, how can you bridge that gap between now and the next time you might sit down with him?

THE PRESIDENT:  With time.  It’ll be bridged, I think, at a certain point.  But there is a gap.  We have to have sanctions.  And he wants to denuke, but he wants to just do areas that are less important than the areas that we want.  We know that — we know the country very well, believe it or not.  We know every inch of that country.  And we have to get what we have to get, because that’s a big — that’s a big give.

Yeah, Sean.  Please.

Q    I work in radio and TV.  The mic is on.

Mr. President, thank you.  Mr. Secretary, good to see you.  Mr. President, if you could elaborate a little bit more.  We have some history.  President Reagan walked away in Reykjavik.  A lot of condemnation at the time.  And it ended up working out very well in the end for the United States.

Was this mostly your decision?  Or — and what message would you want to send Chairman Kim, as he’s listening to this press conference, about the future and your relationship?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, Sean, I don’t want to say it was my decision, because what purpose is that?  I want to keep the relationship, and we will keep the relationship.  We’ll see what happens over the next period of time.

But, as you know, we got our hostages back.  There’s no more testing.  And one of the things, importantly, that Chairman Kim promised me last night is, regardless, he’s not going to do testing of rockets and nuclear.  Not going to do testing.  So, you know, I trust him, and I take him at his word.  I hope that’s true.

But, in the meantime, we’ll be talking.  Mike will be speaking with his people.  He’s also developed a very good relationship with the people — really, the people representing North Korea.  I haven’t spoken to Prime Minister Abe yet.  I haven’t spoken to President Moon of South Korea.  But we will, and we’ll tell them it’s a process and it’s moving along.  But we just felt it wasn’t appropriate to sign an agreement today.  We could have.  I just felt it wasn’t very appropriate.

Yeah, Jonathan.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

Q    Two questions, if I may.  First, did you learn anything new about Chairman Kim, through this meeting?

And secondly, of course, while this was going on, the drama back in Washington, your former lawyer, Michael Cohen — who worked for you for 10 years; his office right next to yours, right by yours at Trump Tower — he called you a liar, a conman, a racist.  What’s your response to Michael Cohen?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it’s incorrect.  And, you know, it’s very interesting, because I tried to watch as much as I could.  I wasn’t able to watch too much because I’ve been a little bit busy.  But I think having a fake hearing like that, and having it in the middle of this very important summit is really a terrible thing.  They could’ve made it two days later or next week, and it would’ve been even better.  They would’ve had more time.

But having it during this very important summit is sort of incredible.  And he lied a lot, but it was very interesting because he didn’t lie about one thing.  He said no collusion with the Russian hoax.  And I said, “I wonder why he didn’t just lie about that, too, like he did about everything else?”

I mean, he lied about so many different things, and I was actually impressed that he didn’t say, “Well, I think there was collusion for this reason or that.”  He didn’t say that.  He said, “No collusion.”  And I was, you know, a little impressed by that, frankly.  Could’ve — he could’ve gone all out.  He only went about 95 percent instead of 100 percent.

But the fact is, there is no collusion.  And I call it the “witch hunt.”  This should never happen to another President.  This is so bad for our country.  So bad.

You look at this whole hoax — I call it the Russian witch hunt.  I now add the word “hoax.”  It’s a very, very bad thing for our country.  But I was impressed with the fact that he — when — you know, because the most important question up there was the one on collusion.  And he said he saw no collusion.

So we’ll see what happens.  But it was pretty shameful, I think.

Yes, ma’am.  Please.  Please.

Q    President Trump —

Q    President Trump —

THE PRESIDENT:  How about one of you, instead of three?

Q    Well, actually, I do have the microphone.  I guess, so — well —

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  Excuse me.  Person in the front.  Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, President Trump, for —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no.  No, not you.  Excuse me.  Yeah, we’ll get to you.

Thank you.

Q    Thank you, President Trump.  Jane Tung (ph) from (inaudible) Television.  What was the atmosphere like when you walked away from the negotiation table?  And —

THE PRESIDENT:  I think it was very good, very friendly.  This wasn’t a walk away, like you get up and walk out.  No, this was very friendly.  We shook hands.  You know, there’s a warmth that we have, and I hope that stays.  I think it will.

But we are — you know, we’re positioned to do something very special.  This has been going on for many decades.  This isn’t me.  You know, this was — this should’ve been solved during many presidential runs.  And, you know, people talked about it; they never did anything.  I get a kick out of so many people from past administrations telling me how to negotiate when they were there, in some cases, for eight years; they did nothing.

But I think the relationship was very warm, and when we walked away it was a very friendly walk.  Mike, you might want to speak to that for a second.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  No, I agree.  I talked with my counterparts as well.  But we hope we can do more, but everyone is very focused on how we continue to build on this.

We are certainly closer today than we were 36 hours ago.  And we were closer then than we were a month or two before that.  So real progress was made.

I think everyone had hoped we could do it just a little bit better.  But the departure was with an agreement that we would continue to work on what has been an incredibly difficult problem.  Both sides are resolved to achieve it, and everyone walked away in that spirit.

Q    And may I add: You and Chairman Kim are from very different political systems.  You are from different generations.  And what do you find —

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s a very different system.  I would say that’s true.

Q    How do you find, you guys, in common?  Because we saw the atmosphere —

THE PRESIDENT:  We just like each other.  I mean, we have a good relationship.  Yeah.  It’s a totally different system, to put it mildly.  But we like each other.  A good relationship.

Go ahead.  In the back.  Go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, do you think it was premature to have held the summit when all these things had not been tied down?  I mean, in the White House schedule last night, it said signing agreement today.  And I wonder whether — as a follow-up question, whether you could sketch out what the next few months look like.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  You always have to be prepared to walk.  I could’ve signed an agreement today, and then you people would’ve said, “Oh, what a terrible deal.  What a terrible thing he did.”  No, you have be prepared to walk.  And, you know, there was a potential we could’ve signed something today.  I could’ve 100 percent signed something today.  We actually had papers ready to be signed, but it just wasn’t appropriate.  I want to do it right.  I’d much rather do it right than do it fast.

Yes, please.  Go ahead.  Go ahead.  Go.  First.  Go.  Yeah.

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  You have to speak up.

Q    I’m a reporter from South Korea, and I appreciate your effort to advance denuclearization in Korean Peninsula.  And could you elaborate on the options and the various ways that you discussed with Chairman Kim to advance denuclearization?  Could you specify?

THE PRESIDENT:  We discussed many ways.  And the denuclearization is a very important — it’s a very important word.  Become a very well used word.  And a lot of people don’t know what it means, but to me it’s pretty obvious: We have to get rid of the nukes.

I think he’s got a chance to have one of the most successful countries — rapidly, too — on Earth.  Incredible country, incredible location.  You’re right between — if you think of it, you have, on one side, Russia and China, and on the other you have South Korea, and you’re surrounded by water and among the most beautiful shorelines in the world.

There is tremendous potential in North Korea, and I think he’s going to lead it to a very important thing, economically.  I think it’s going to be an absolute economic power.

Yes.  Go ahead.  Please.  Go ahead.  Yeah.

Q    Mr. President, David Sanger from the New York Times.

THE PRESIDENT:  I know, David.

Q    Six months ago, when you spoke — or eight months ago, in Singapore, you said, if you didn’t have something in six months, we should come back and ask you about it.  In that time, you have seen Chairman Kim increase the number of missiles he’s produced and continue to produce more nuclear material.  And that’s been a pressure point on you, because he’s showing you the arsenals getting larger while this is going on.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, some people, David, are saying that, and some people are denying that.  They have shots from above — way above — and some people are saying that and some people aren’t.

But I could’ve taken that out today, but I think you and others would’ve said we didn’t get enough for what we’d be giving up.  So — and, you know, don’t forget, we’re partners with a lot of countries on this, if you think about it, with the sanctions.  We have a whole big partnership with the United Nations and many countries, including Russia, China, and others.  And then, of course, South Korea is very important to this whole thing, and Japan.

I don’t want to do something that is going to violate the trust that we’ve built up.  We have a very strong partnership.

Q    So can you just give us a little more detail?  Did you get into the question of actually dismantling the Yongbyon complex?

THE PRESIDENT:  I did.  Yes.  Absolutely.

Q    And does he seem willing, ultimately —

THE PRESIDENT:  Totally.

Q    — to take all of that out?

THE PRESIDENT:  Sure.  Totally.

Q    He does?  He just wants all the sanctions off first?

THE PRESIDENT:  He would do that, but he wants the sanctions for that.  And as you know, there’s plenty left after that.  And I just I felt it wasn’t good.  Mike and I spent a long time negotiating and talking about it to ourselves.  And just — I felt that that particular, as you know, that facility, while very big, it wasn’t enough to do what we were doing.

Q    So he was willing to Yongbyon, but you wanted more than that?  I assume —

THE PRESIDENT:  We had to have more than that, yeah.  We had to have more than that because there are other things that you haven’t talked about, that you haven’t written about, that we found.  And we have to have — that was done a long time ago, but the people didn’t know about.

Q    Including the uranium —

THE PRESIDENT:  And we brought — yeah.

Q    Including the second uranium enrichment plant?

THE PRESIDENT:  Exactly.  And we brought many, many points up that I think they were surprised that we knew.  But we had to do more than just the one level.  Because if we did the one level, and we gave up all of that leverage that’s been taking a long time to build.  And I want to tell you, by the way —

Q    So he was not willing to take out that second —

THE PRESIDENT:  David, I want to take off the sanctions so badly, because I want that country to grow.  That country has got such potential, but they have to give up, or we could’ve done that deal.

Mike, you want to speak to that?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Only, David, there are also timing and sequencing issues that were associated with that as well, which we didn’t quite get across the finish line as well.  But remember, too, even that facility, even the Yongbyon facility and all of its scope — which is important, for sure — still leaves missiles, still leaves warheads and weapons systems.  So there’s a lot of other elements that we just couldn’t get to.

Q    And the listing of all of them.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yes, sir.  And a declaration.  So, all of those things, we couldn’t quite get there today.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.  Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

Q    I just wanted to clarify, when you talk about what you would willing to give up all of the sanctions for, are you still thinking that you want North Korea to give up everything to do complete, verifiable denuclearization —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I don’t want to say that to you —

Q    — before you lift sanctions?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  Yeah.  It’s a good question.  I don’t want to say that to you because I don’t want to put myself in that position, from the standpoint of negotiation.  But, you know, we want a lot to be given up.  And we’re giving up.

And we’ll have to — you know, we’ll be helping them along economically, us and other — many other countries are going to be helping.  They’re going to be in there.  They’re prepared to help.  I can tell you: Japan, South Korea, I think China.  So many.

And speaking of China, we’re very well on our way to doing something special, but we’ll see.  I mean, I am always prepared to walk.  I’m never afraid to walk from a deal.  And I would do that with China, too, if it didn’t work out.

Q    Are you concerned, if you’re not able to reach an agreement, that the testing will start again?  Or that while all of this time is happening by —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, he said the testing — yeah.

Q    — they are continuing to develop their program?

THE PRESIDENT:  He said the testing will not start.  He said that he’s not going to do testing of rockets or missiles or anything having to do with nuclear.  And all I can tell you is that’s what he said.  And we’ll see.

Yes, go ahead.  Please.  Go ahead, please.  In the back.  Red.  In the red.

Q    Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, thank you.

Q    Jessica Stone from CGTN.  I have a question about China, as you were talking about.  You talk about China being willing, potentially, to help economically.  And the fact that you’ve talked — or will talk to Presidents Moon and Prime Minister Abe, how would you describe China’s role in facilitating the engagement that’s happened, so far, between Pyongyang and Washington?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think China has been a big help.  Bigger than most people know.  On the border, as you know, 93 percent of the goods coming into North Korea come through China.  So there’s a great power there.  At the same time, I believe — I happen to believe that North Korea is calling its own shots.  They’re not taking orders from anybody.  He’s a very strong guy.  And they’re able to do things that are pretty amazing.  But 93 percent still come in from China.  China has an influence, and China has been a big help.

And Russia has been a big help too.  As you know, there’s a pretty small part of the border, but nevertheless significant — about 28 miles.  And things can happen there too.  And they’ve been a help.

Yes, go ahead, please.

Q    Thanks, President.  Jen Chen with Shenzhen Media Group of China.  In your meeting with Chairman Kim this morning and yesterday, did the topic of China come up?  If so, what can you share with us today?  And you probably will have the (inaudible) of Mar-a-Lago summit in March with Chinese President Xi Jinping.  What would you like accomplished with your agenda regarding China at that time?  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  We did talk about China today a lot.  And he’s getting along with China and so are we.  And we are — you know, we’re — we’re, right now, you look at what’s happened to our country; we’ve picked up trillions and trillions of dollars of net worth.  Our stock market is almost at its all-time high.  Our economy is incredible.  Our unemployment numbers are among the best we’ve ever had in our history.

Individual groups like African American, women — you just take a look at any group; Hispanic, you saw that just came out — the best in history; African American, best in history.  So many different numbers are coming out so good.  So we have the strongest economy, probably, possibly that we’ve ever had.

Fiat Chrysler just announced that they’re going to spend $4.5 billion right next to Detroit, in Michigan.  They’re building a tremendous plant.  It’s actually an expansion of another plant.  It’s going to be — it’s going to double up their jobs, and even more than that.  A lot of great things are happening.

And with China, they’re having some difficulty, as you know.  But I think that a lot of the difficulty is because of the tariffs that they’re having.  And in addition to that, we’re putting a tremendous amount of money; you saw trade deficits went down last month.  Everybody was trying to find out why.  Well, we’re taking in a lot of tariff money, and it’s going right to the bottom line and it has reduced the trade deficits.

So we’ll see what happens with China.  I think we have a very good chance.  Their numbers are down.  But I don’t want that.  I want their numbers — I want them to do great.  But we’ve been losing anywhere from $300- to $500 billion a year with China for many, many years.

And again, like other things, many Presidents should have done this before me, and nobody did.  So we’re doing it.

Go ahead.  Go ahead, please.  Right here.  This gentleman.

Q    Chad O’Carroll from NK News, (inaudible) with North Korea News.  What’s your message for President Moon, who has effectively reached the glass ceiling, as far inter-Korean cooperation is concerned, due to sanctions?  And what’s next for U.S.-ROK military drills?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I like President Moon very much.  We have a great relationship.  Believe it or not, I have a great relationship with almost every leader.  A lot of people find that hard to understand, but I do.  But some take advantage of our country like you wouldn’t believe.  And when they know I know it — which I know in every case — maybe it sort of freezes them up a little bit.  But we do; we have a lot of good relationships.

We’ll be calling President Moon very soon, as soon as I get by the phone, on the plane.  And he’ll be one of the first calls.  I’ll be calling Prime Minister Abe of Japan, telling him about where we are and what we’re doing.  But I’ll be making those calls.

No, he’s working very hard.  President Moon is working very hard.  He’d love to see a deal and he’s been very helpful.

Okay?  Thank you.  Go ahead, please.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I’m (inaudible), reporter from Global Times China.  I would like to ask you, what are you expecting China to do in the next step to mediate your relationship with North Korea?  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  To use China?

Q    Yeah, from China.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we do.  I mean, China has been very helpful.  President Xi is a great leader.  He’s a highly respected leader all over the world and especially in Asia.  And he’s helped us — Mike, I would say he’s helped us a lot, right?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  He has.

THE PRESIDENT:  We’ve — I actually called him just recently to say, “Hey, you know, whatever you can do on this.”  But he has been very helpful at the border, and he’s been very, very helpful with, I think, North Korea generally.  Could he be a little more helpful?  Probably.  But he’s been excellent.

Go ahead, please.  No — yeah, please.

Q    (Laughs.)  (Inaudible) next.

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s okay.  You’re friends.

Q    Thanks, Mr. President.  Could you — did you commit with Chairman Kim to a next summit during your term?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, we haven’t — no.

Q    Okay.

THE PRESIDENT:  We’ll see.  If it happens, it happens.  I have not committed.

Q    They are, at this point, some would say, a nuclear power.  Do you accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state, at least for the time being?  And are you thinking about re-imposing the military exercises with South Korea, or will you keep it a freeze-for-freeze?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, you know, the military exercises, I gave that up quite a while ago because it costs us $100 million every time we do it.  We fly these massive bombers in from Guam.  And when I first started, a certain general said, “Oh, yes, sir, we fly them in from Guam.  It’s right next door.” Well, right next door is seven hours away.  And then they come and they drop millions of dollars of bombs, and then they go back and —

But we would spend — I mean, we spent hundreds of millions of dollars on those exercises, and I hated to see it.  I thought it was unfair.

And, frankly, I was, sort of, of the opinion that South Korea should help us with that.  You know, we’re protecting South Korea.  I think they should help us with that.

So those exercises are very expensive.  And I was telling the generals — I said: Look, you know, exercising is fun and it’s nice and they play the war games.  And I’m not saying it’s not necessary, because at some levels it is, but at other levels it’s not.  But it’s a very, very expensive thing.  And you know, we do have to think about that too.

But when they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on those exercises and we don’t get reimbursed — we’re spending a tremendous amount of money on many countries, protecting countries that are very rich that can certainly afford to pay us and then some.

And those countries — by the way, and those countries know that it’s not right, but nobody has ever asked them before.  But I’ve asked them and we’re doing — we’re gaining a lot of money.  We’ve picked up over a $100 billion just in NATO over the last two years.  A hundred billion dollars more has come in.  And we’re doing that with a lot of countries.  You’ll be seeing that a lot.

Yes, sir.  Please.

Q    Mr. President, sir —

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, one second, please.

Q    Yes, thank you, Mr. President.  You have a personal relationship — and I believe Vice President Pence does — with the family of Otto Warmbier.

THE PRESIDENT:  I do.

Q    I’m wondering — you’ve talked about, this week, about Kim Jong Un being “my friend” — you called him on Twitter.  You said you have a great relationship.  Have you, in Singapore or here, confronted Kim Jong Un about Otto Warmbier’s death —

THE PRESIDENT:  I have.  I have.

Q    — and asked him to take responsibility?  And what did he say to you?  And why do you call him your friend?

THE PRESIDENT:  I have.  And I have, and we have talked about it.  And I really don’t think it was in his interest at all.  I know the Warmbier family very well.  I think they’re an incredible family.  What happened is horrible.  I really believe something very bad happened to him, and I don’t think that the top leadership knew about it.

And when they had to send him home — by the way, I got the prisoners back.  I got the hostages back.  And Otto was one of the hostages, but Otto came back in shape that was not even to be talked about.  I find it — I thought it was horrible.  Now, the others came back extremely healthy.  But Otto came back in a condition that was just — just terrible.

And I will — I did speak about it, and I don’t believe that he would’ve allowed that to happen.  Just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen.  Those prisons are rough.  They’re rough places.  And bad things happened.  But I really don’t believe that he was — I don’t believe he knew about it.

Q    Did he say — did he tell you that he did not — did Kim Jong Un tell you —

THE PRESIDENT:  He felt badly about it.  I did speak to him.  He felt very badly.  But he knew the case very well, but he knew it later.  And, you know, you got a lot of people.  A big country.  A lot of people.  And in those prisons and those camps, you have a lot of people.  And some really bad things happened to Otto.  Some really, really bad things.

But he tells me —

Q    Why are you (inaudible) —

THE PRESIDENT:  He tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.

Yes, ma’am.  Go ahead.  Please.  Please.  Go ahead.  In the back.

Q    Me?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, in the back.  Behind you.  Thank you.

Q    Mr. President, (inaudible), Sputnik News Agency.  Have you discussed the issue of possible inspections to North Korea’s nuclear sites during your negotiations?

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re going to have to speak a little louder.  And where are you from?  Where are you from?

Q    Russia’s Sputnik News Agency.  Have you discussed the issue of possible inspections to North Korea’s nuclear sites during your talks with the Chairman?

THE PRESIDENT:  Why don’t you answer that, Mike?

I can’t —

Q    Inspections.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.

Q    Inspections.  Inspections of nuclear sites.

THE PRESIDENT:  I was worried about my hearing.

Q    Inspections, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, inspections.

Q    International inspections.  Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, inspections.  Inspections on North Korea?  Oh, we’d be able — yeah.

Q    Yeah.  Inspections to the nuclear sites.

THE PRESIDENT:  We’d be able to do that very easily.  We have that set up, so we would be able to do that very easily.

The inspections on North Korea will take place and we’ll — if we do something with them — we have a schedule set up that is very good.  We know things that, as David was asking about certain places and certain sites — there are sites that people don’t know about that we know about.  We would be able to do inspections, we think, very, very successfully.

Yes, ma’am.  Please.  Please.  Yes, go ahead.  Please.  Yes.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  A lot of people here, by the way.  A big group of people.

Q    Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead.

Q    Kann News Israel, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Good.

Q    Following this engagement with North Korea, you are trying to bring peace to the Middle East.

THE PRESIDENT:  Right.

Q    The peace plan is about to be introduced in the near future.  And as you have mentioned before —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we hope.  We hope.  We’re working hard on the peace plan and we hope it will be (inaudible).

Q    I believe you do.  But as you mentioned before, it will require Israel to make compromises to the Palestinians.  As far as you know, is Prime Minister Netanyahu willing to make these compromises which are very much needed?

And a second question: Mr. Netanyahu is about to indicted today with corruption allegations.  Do you wish to tell him something on this occasion?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I just think he’s been a great prime minister.  And I don’t know about his difficulty, but you’re telling me something that, you know, the people have been hearing about.  But I don’t know about that.

I can say this: that he’s done a great job as prime minister.  He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s strong.  He is very defensive.  His military has been built up a lot.  They buy a lot of equipment from the United States and they pay for it.  Of course, we give them tremendous, as you know, subsidy, also.  Four billion dollars is a lot each year.  But they are — they’ve been very good.  They’ve been incredible, actually, in many ways.  But there is a chance for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

And, you know, it’s interesting — all of my life, I’ve heard that the toughest of all deals — when they talk about tough deals; we all like deals — but the toughest of all deals would be peace between Israel and Palestinians.  They say it’s like the impossible deal.  I’d love to be able to produce it.  We’ll see what happens.

You know, we were paying the Palestinians a lot of money.  And I ended that about two years ago because they weren’t saying the right things.  And I said, why would we pay somebody that’s not saying nice things about us, and not really wanting to go to the peace table?  And they’ve been much better.  And we’ll see what happens.

Q    But has Mr. Netanyahu made concessions?

THE PRESIDENT:  But I think we really — I think we have, actually, a good shot at peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Q    Has Netanyahu made concessions?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, go ahead.  Please.  Sir.

Q    Mr. President, I’m from China.  My question is: Do you still believe it is possible that the North Korea and U.S. relation could be like the U.S. and the Vietnam relation in the future?

THE PRESIDENT:  You have to go again.

Q    Do you believe — do you still believe that is it is possible that the relation between U.S. and North Korea, in the future, could be like the relation between U.S. and Vietnam?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  I think we’re going have — yeah.  I mean, we have very, very good relations.  And, by the way, speaking of — you mentioned Japan — we have a lot of good things happening Japan.  We have trade talks started.  For years, Japan has been sending millions and millions of cars in, and as you know, it’s not been a very fair situation for the United States.

We’re starting trade talks with Japan.  They actually started about three months ago, and I think we’ll have a very good deal for the United States.  But that’s been a very unfair situation.  Prime Minister Abe understands that, and that’s fine.

Yes, sir.  Please.  Back there.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I’m (inaudible) with Shanghai Media Group.  Do you think the next meeting could be soon, or might take some time?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I can’t tell you.  I mean, it might be soon.  It might not be for a long time.  I can’t tell you.  I would hope it would be soon.  But it may not be for a long time.

I could’ve done — I could’ve done a deal today, but it would’ve been a deal that wouldn’t have been a deal that — it would’ve been something that I wouldn’t have been happy about, Mike would not have been happy about.  We had some pretty big options.  But we just felt it wasn’t appropriate, and we really want to do it right.

Yes, in the back.  In the back.  Yes, ma’am.  Please.

Q    Debi Edward, ITV News.  At which point did it become clear to you that you wouldn’t be getting a deal here in Hanoi?  The language from yourself and Kim Jong Un was very positive last night and even this morning.  And therefore, was it a mistake to come here?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think the language was good all throughout.  The language has been good even now.  But, you know, I don’t go by language, because we had probably the toughest language in the history of diplomacy — if you call it diplomacy — at the beginning, and yet, we became very friendly.  I don’t believe there was any tougher language ever than that.

But, again, this was something that should’ve been handled by other Presidents long before me and long before they had the kind of power that they have.  But it wasn’t.  It should’ve been done by many — I’m not just blaming the Obama administration, which, by the way, it did nothing.  Nothing.  Did absolutely on North Korea.  It allowed things that happened, and to happen, that were very inappropriate.  But I’m not blaming the Obama administration.  I’m blaming many administrations.  Something should’ve happened.

But I don’t think the rhetoric has been bad at all.  Initially, it was horrible, but now it’s been very good.

All right, one more.  How about you?  Go ahead.  Please. Please.  Go ahead.

Q    (Inaudible) from South Korea, (inaudible) South Korean media outlet here.  I’d like to ask you: You said that we do not particularly know when there will be — North Korean leader will be willing to come to the table and take the actions that’s been required.  If that’s the case, would the U.S. be willing to strengthen the sanctions and perhaps put the pressure on North Korea to move forward?

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t want to comment on that.  I can just tell you this: that we have very strong sanctions.  I don’t want to talk about increasing sanctions.  They’re strong.  They have a lot of great people in North Korea that have to live also.  And that’s important to me.

And I would say this: My whole attitude changed a lot because I got to know, as you know, Chairman Kim very well.  And they have a point of view also.

So I don’t really want to talk about that.  I just think that, hopefully, for the sake of South Korea, for the sake of Japan, and frankly, for the sake of China — I was talking to President Xi, who really is a man that gets the respect of a lot of people — I say, “You can’t love having a nuclear state right next to China.”  And he doesn’t.  He really doesn’t.  I will tell you, he would like to see that problem solved, too.  So that’s it.

Well, ladies and gentleman, I’m about to get on a plane and fly back to a wonderful place called Washington, D.C.  So, thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you, fellas.  Thank you very much.

END

2:53 P.M. ICT

Foreign ownership of thousands of U.S. aircraft cloaked in secrecy | wfaa.com

Why does a small East Texas town called Onalaska have more than 1,000 registered aircraft – and no airport?

To register a plane, owners need to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. However, the FAA will allow foreigners to register their planes by transferring a title to a U.S. trustee.

— Read on www.wfaa.com/mobile/article/news/local/investigates/foreign-ownership-of-thousands-of-us-aircraft-cloaked-in-secrecy/287-959247e4-3aba-4c0a-a83b-639145e81a64