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White House Daily Briefing. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired August 2, 2017 - 3:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
QUESTION: How do you wedge this into an already jampacked legislative calendar?
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, ultimately, we're going to have to have conversations with Senate leadership and House leadership about the steps forward.
But this is an issue that we campaigned on, the American people voted for by electing Donald J. Trump as their president, and that is of enormous importance to the American economy, because, again, we're protecting blue-collar workers, and we're bringing in workers who can add to the economy.
And so I really think this is a -- this is a really historic moment that happened today, again, the biggest proposed change that would take place in 50 years at a time in which you have automation that is replacing a lot of jobs in the United States.
You have American workers without high school diplomas who have very low participation rates in the labor force, and then you're bringing in workers to compete directly against the workers who are either losing their jobs to automation or who can't find work because there's not enough jobs for workers in our own country without education.
And so, particularly, I mean, go to an American city that has labor force problems, wherever that may be, say, Detroit. How is it fair or right or proper that if, say, you open up a new business in Detroit that the unemployed workers of Detroit are going to have to compete against an endless flow of unskilled workers for the exact same jobs, reducing pay for those positions, and reducing their chances of getting those jobs, while at the same time ultra-high-skilled workers are on the back of the line to get into the country?
It makes no sense. The numbers are too large, and the numbers of low- skilled workers in particular is a major detriment to U.S. workers. So I think the more we have this conversation publicly and ask America who ought to get a green card in this country, the more momentum there's going to be, the more support there's going to be.
And our message to folks in Congress is, if you are serious about immigration reform, then ask yourselves, what's in the best interest of Americans and American workers? And ultimately this has to be a part of that.
Let's go to Glenn.
QUESTION: Two quick questions.
First of all, let's have some statistics. There have been a lot of studies out there that don't show a correlation between low-skilled immigration and the loss of jobs for native workers.
Cite for me, if you could, one or two studies with specific numbers that prove the correlation between those two things, because your entire policy is based on that.
And, secondly, I have sources that told me about a month ago that you guys have sort of elbowed infrastructure out of the way to get immigration on the legislative queue. Tell me why this is more important than infrastructure.
MILLER: The latter statement isn't true.
I think the most recent study I will point to is the study from George Borjas that he just did about the Mariel boatlift and he went back and reexamined and opened up the old data and talked about how it actually did reduce wages for workers who were living there at the time.
And Borjas has, of course, done enormous amounts of research on this, as has Peter Kirsanow on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, as has Steve Camarota at the Center for Immigration Studies and so on and so forth.
MILLER: Right. And their recent study said that as much as $300 billion a year may be lost as a result of our current immigration system in terms of folks drawing more public benefits than they're paying in.
But let's also use common sense here, folks. At the end of the day, why do special interests want to bring in more low-skilled workers?
QUESTION: I'm not asking for common sense. I'm asking for specific statistical data.
MILLER: Well, I think it's very clear, Glenn, that you're not asking for common sense, but if I could answer your question.
QUESTION: Common sense is wonderful.
MILLER: I named the studies, Glenn.
MILLER: Glenn, Glenn, Glenn, I named the studies. I named the studies. QUESTION: I asked you for a statistic. Can you tell me how many...
MILLER: Maybe we will make a carve-out in the bill that says "The New York Times" can hire all the low-skilled, less paid workers they want from other countries, and see how you feel then about low-wage substitution.
MILLER: This is a reality that is happening in our country. Maybe it's time we had compassion, Glenn, for American workers. President Trump has met with American workers who have been replaced by foreign workers.
Ask them, ask them how this has affected their lives. Look at -- I just told you.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) of low-skilled jobs that Americans might otherwise have.
MILLER: First of all, if you look at the premise, Glenn, of bringing in low-skilled labor, it's based on the idea that there's a labor shortage for lower-skilled jobs. There isn't.
The number of people living in the United States in the working ages who aren't working today is at a record high. One in four Americans or almost one in four Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 aren't even employed.
For African-American workers, their labor force participation rate who don't have a high school diploma -- I guess -- African-American males without a high school diploma has plummeted some 40 percentage points since the mass wave of unskilled migration began.
The reality is that if you just use common sense -- and, yes, I will use common sense -- the reason why some companies want to bring in more unskilled labor is because they know that it drives down wages and reduces labor costs.
Our question is as a government is, to whom is our duty? Our duty is to U.S. citizens and U.S. workers to promote rising wages for them.
If low-skilled immigration was an unalloyed good for the economy, then why have we been growing at 1.5 percent for the last 17 years at a time of unprecedented new low-wage arrivals? It's just the facts speak for themselves. At some point, we're accountable to reality.
On the other hand, like I said, you have ultra-high-skilled workers who are at the back of the line, which makes no sense in the year 2017.
Neil (ph), let me go to you.
QUESTION: Are you now targeting the black unemployment rate that is traditionally and historically higher than the average American? Is that what you are looking at?
MILLER: There's no doubt -- and I will go to Neil.
But there's no doubt, and it's very, very sad, and very unfair, that immigration policy, both legal and illegal, over the last several decades, has had a deleterious impact on African-American employment in general and certainly African-American males. And it's been quite tragic and we as a country have to have a conversation about that.
QUESTION: So, one of the arguments made against this bill is that large-scale immigration will increase the total number of jobs.
Senator Graham, for example, said he wants more immigration to bring in more restaurant jobs, more resort jobs, bed cleaning jobs and such like. Is it better for this country to have more jobs or higher wages and higher productivity for Americans?
MILLER: Well, I think, at the end of the day, President Trump's been clear that he's a pro-high-wage president.
He ran as a pro-high-wage candidate and that's what this policy will accomplish. At the same time, to the point about economic growth, we're constantly told that unskilled immigration boosts the economy, but, again, if you look at the last 17 years, we just know from reality that's not true.
And you look at wages, you can see the effects there. If you look at the labor force, you can see the effects there. And so, again, we're ending unskilled chain migration, but we're also making sure that the great inventors of the world, the great scientists of the world, that people who have the next great piece of technology can come into the United States and compete in a competitive application process, a points-based system that makes sense in the year 2017.
All right, let me go to you.
QUESTION: Two questions.
One, you did personalize it with "The New York Times," so normally this wouldn't be a question, but will the Trump Organization stop bringing in foreign workers on visa programs to set an example for other businesses in the interim before this bill becomes law?
MILLER: Well, as you know, the only way to have immigration policy work is it has to be national. It has to be uniform. You can't have different rules and different procedures for different companies. The -- this bill, of course, doesn't deal with guest workers and
temporary non-immigrant visas, which is, I think, what you're asking about, and that's a separate thing. But the president was clear, if you go back and look at his debate on this during the primary, where he said, as a businessman, my responsibility is to operate my business according to the laws of the United States as they exist.
He said, as president, my responsibility is to pass laws that make sure we have an immigration system that prioritizes American workers. He said that throughout the campaign. And he said it as a candidate and he said it now.
But just as a technical matter, you're talking about a different aspect of the immigration system. Today, we're talking about the green card system, but it's a good question.
MILLER: Hold on a second.
QUESTION: Thank you, Stephen.
Just to take the question in another direction, "USA Today" and others have shown that over the last seven years, there's been a negative flow of immigration across the southern border. And, of course, unemployment is at, perhaps, a 10-year low right now.
So, will there be enough workers in the Southwest states if this policy were to go into effect?
MILLER: Well, yes, so, I think we're talking about different things and I appreciate the question.
Net migration overall has been at a record pace. You're talking, I think, just about some questions about net migration illegally across the southern border. We're talking today about green card policy.
Every year, we issue a million more green cards, and it just keeps adding on every year after year after year. And so the supply of foreign labor is at a record high.
I think the foreign-born population right now is 45 million. I think there's 25 million foreign workers in the United States.
All right. Right there.
QUESTION: Thank you, Stephen.
Two questions for you.
First, does the Trump administration plan to defend the DACA program if Texas and eight other states bring a lawsuit challenging it in court? MILLER: Well, we are not going to make an announcement on that today because there is ongoing litigation, and DOJ and DHS are reviewing that.
But I will say, whatever we do is going to prioritize the interests of American citizens and workers.
QUESTION: You have talked about the Australian policy. Can you speak more specifically about what the administration likes and also how that extends into things like family sponsorship?
You mentioned bringing in elderly relatives, for example, who might not be productive. Yet, in Australia, adult children can sponsor their parents to immigrate. So, which elements of the policy are you choosing that you might...
So, we looked at the Australian system, the Canadian system. We took things we liked. We added things that made sense for America and where we are as a country right now.
One of the things that I think is most compelling about the Australian system is the efforts to make sure that immigrants are financially self-sufficient and make sure they're able to pay for their own health care and things of that nature. And that's certainly one of the things we took from that.
And obviously the points-based system that Canada has, has a lot to recommend it, and actually we took that and we added things that were all new to it and they're released today and that make sure that we have a highly competitive application process.
There's seven billion people in the world. The question of who gets that golden ticket needs to be a discerning process that makes sense. Again, in an environment in which you have this huge pool of unemployed labor in the United States, and you're spending massive amounts of money, putting our own workers on welfare, doesn't it make sense economically to say, let's get our own workers, immigrant and U.S.-born, off of welfare into the labor market earning a living wage, able to pay into taxes, instead of bringing in lower-wage substitutes, while at the same time ensuring that the inventors, the innovators and the scientists are able to come into our country and add to our economy and our GDP, but not as substitutes for Americans?
QUESTION: Thank you.
Can you respond to some of the critics within your own party who say, well, what we really should be focused on is comprehensive immigration reform in order to really tackle the problem in a serious way? And, secondly, what do you say to those who say this just separates families (OFF-MIKE)
MILLER: Well, actually, legislation for folks who are already here, they are able -- who have pending family-based sponsorships, they're actually grandfathered in.
So, it's a new system moving forward, point one. And point two is that beyond the immediate family members that are covered in the bill, i.e., your minor children and your spouses, your other relatives can come in. They just have to come in through the points-based system.
And then your other -- the first part of your question?
QUESTION: Question about comprehensive immigration reform. Some Republicans say we should be focused on comprehensive immigration reform, instead of a sliver of the problem, in order to really address the broader root problem with immigration. Why not tackle it from that standpoint?
MILLER: Let me ask a hypothetical. And I mean it in all sincerity.
If -- let's say that we had introduced a 2,000-page comprehensive immigration reform bill. Would we be having this conversation today about green card policy? I suspect we wouldn't be. I think it's time that we forced the conversation on to this core issue.
I know the president feels that it's enormously advantageous to have a conversation about this core aspect of immigration reform, because it does receive so little discussion and yet it's so enormously important.
QUESTION: Follow-up, Stephen.
MILLER: Let's go to you.
QUESTION: Thank you, Stephen.
You mentioned lawmakers had a choice to make. Is President Trump going to make this a campaign issue next year?
MILLER: Well, I mean, we're making it an issue, period, starting -- well, he started in the campaign when he was running, but as far as a real push for change, that begins in earnest, aggressively, starting today.
And I do think -- you know, I just work on the policy side, but I do think that voters across the country are going to demand these kinds of changes, because, again, of the effects it has on their lives and communities, and this is overwhelmingly popular.
And I challenge any news organization here, do a poll, ask these questions, do you think we should favor applicants to our country who speak English, yes or no? Do you think that we should make sure that workers who come into our country don't displace existing American workers? Do you think people who come into our country should receive welfare or be financially self-sufficient? Do you think we should prioritize people based on skill?
Do you think that we should reduce overall net migration? Do you think we should have unlimited family chain migration? You ask any of these questions, look at the polls, look at the results you will get in your own news organizations and they will be very clear.
QUESTION: First, a follow-up (OFF-MIKE) question regarding (OFF-MIKE) the president's talked a lot about immigration reform, and this has been held up in the past. He has the power today to take personal action on this by changing the way his Trump properties, Mar-a-Lago and others, bring in unskilled foreign workers, displacing, as we talked about, the large numbers of Americans who are looking for work in these states.
So, is the president planning on taking that action?
And, secondly, does this signal that the White House does not believe that any sort of comprehensive action on immigration is possible with this Congress, that immigration needs to be tackled in a piecemeal fashion going forward?
MILLER: Well, again, just as a technical matter, you're talking about non-immigrant guest worker visas, and this legislation deals with green cards, i.e., permanent immigration, so they're two totally separate categories.
But I will just refer everyone here today back to the president's comments during the primary when this was raised in a debate. And he said, my job as a businessman is to follow the laws of the United States. And my job as president is to create an immigration system that works for American workers.
And that's one of the reasons why I think Americans so deeply admire President Trump, is because they see every day he's not working for himself. He's said over and over again, I have been very successful. I have had a great life. Now I'm here to work for the American people, but for any immigration system to be functional and to work, it has to be uniform across the board, one standard for everyone.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) how close the president is to getting a nominee for DHS? And can you add, if this legislation is not moving by the end of the year, how much is it possible for you to do through executive action, if any?
MILLER: Well, I certainly think that on the administrative action front, you can tighten up -- continue to tighten up enforcement on visa rules and standards and I think that's certainly something that we'd be looking at doing.
But we'd like to create a permanent change to our immigration system that will endure through time, that will still be in place many decades from now. And that's what this legislation would accomplish.
And I would just, again, encourage everyone to understand the depth of this change. What President Trump has done today is one of the most important legislative moves that we have seen on this issue in many, many years.
The president of the United States said, I am taking a stand today for American workers and the American economy, and we're putting American families first on immigration. We're saying our compassion, first and foremost, is for struggling American families and our focus is on the national interest.
That is a major event, and all of your news organizations should take a hard look at the polls on these questions and see where folks are, and you will see that this is an issue that's supported by Democrats, independents, and Republicans across the board.
One last question, and then I will hand it back to Sarah.
MILLER: (OFF-MIKE) I do more than one? Two? Two questions. I'm getting a lot of energy from up front here.
QUESTION: If this is so huge and major, you make it sound so enormously important, why did the senators who were with the president today call it modest and incremental?
Is it modest and incremental? And aside from that, you seem to be suggesting this is immigration reform. Does this come even close to stemming illegal immigration for the president?
MILLER: Well, so, of course, the answer is, is that it's the divide between how Americans think about immigration and how Washington thinks about immigration.
So, to everyday Americans, this is the most rational, modest, commonsense, basic thing you can do. Of course you shouldn't have foreign workers...
QUESTION: So, it is modest and incremental?
MILLER: Of course you shouldn't have foreign workers displacing American workers.
In Washington, this represents a sea change from decades of practice. So, it just depends what lens you're looking at it through.
QUESTION: Incremental sea change?
MILLER: It just depends what lens you're looking at it through.
I guarantee you, go to, say, like (INAUDIBLE) a couple of your papers and see what they think about it. They will see it as a sea change. Talk to an everyday guy in the street and he will say, this is the most commonsense thing or she will say this is the most common sense thing that I have seen in my entire life.
And it's right down, straight, the center of American politics and American political views.
So, I will take one last question. Who has the best last question?
MILLER: All right, so, I will do for the last question right here.
QUESTION: Thank you. I appreciate it. And I thank you very much for coming out here and talking to us on camera.
But I would like to ask you if you have recently spoken to your old boss and what you make of the rift between President Trump and the attorney general. You worked for Jeff Sessions for many years.
MILLER: Well, I think Sarah has already spoken to that at length. And that's not why I'm here today.
But I think, if I remember what she correctly, and I will say it again, the president has confidence in all his Cabinet and expects them to perform their duties honorably and fully on behalf of the American people.
But since the last question is not on the subject at hand, I will take one actual last question on the subject at hand.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What you're proposing here, what the president's proposing here does not sound like it's in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration.
The Statue of Liberty says, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. It doesn't say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer.
Aren't you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you're telling them, you have to speak English? Can't people learn how to speak English when they get here?
MILLER: Well, first of all, right now, it's a requirement that to be naturalized you have to speak English.
So the notion that speaking English wouldn't be a part of immigration systems would be actually very ahistorical. Secondly, I don't want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and light in the world.
It's a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you're referring that was added later is not actually a part of the original Statue of Liberty.
But more fundamentally, the history...
ACOSTA: You're saying that that does not represent what the country has always thought of as--
ACOSTA: --immigration coming into this country?
MILLER: I'm saying the notion--
ACOSTA: Stephen, I'm sorry. That sounds like some National Park revisionism.
MILLER: No, what I'm asking you is--
ACOSTA: The Statue of Liberty has always been a beacon of hope to the world for people to send their people to this country.
MILLER: Jim, do you believe -- Jim, Jim--
ACOSTA: And they're not always going to speak English, Stephen. They're not always going to be highly skilled. They're not always going to be--
MILLER: Jim, I appreciate your speech. Jim, I appreciate your speech. So, let's talk about this.
ACOSTA: It was a modest and incremental speech.
MILLER: Jim, let's talk about this.
In 1970, when we let in 300,000 people a year, was that violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land? In the 1990s, when it was 500,000 a year, was it violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land?
MILLER: No, tell me what years -- tell me what years -- tell me what years meet -- tell me what years meet Jim Acosta's definition of the Statue of Liberty poem law of the land. So, you're saying one million a year is the Statue of Liberty number; 900,000 violates it, 900,000 violates it?
ACOSTA: You're sort of bringing a press-one-for-English philosophy here to immigration, and that's never been what the United States has been about, Stephen.
MILLER: But you're also -- your statement is also shockingly ahistorical in another respect too, which is, if you look at the history of immigration, it's actually ebbed and flowed.
We have had periods of very large waves, followed by periods of less immigration and more immigration. And during the--
ACOSTA: We're in a (OFF-MIKE) period of immigration right now.
ACOSTA: The president wants to build a wall, and you want to bring about a sweeping change to immigration.
MILLER: Surely, Jim, you don't actually think that a wall affects green card policy.
You couldn't possibly believe that, do you? Actually, the -- the notion that you actually think immigration is at a historic lull, the foreign-born population in the United States today -- Jim, Jim--
ACOSTA: (OFF-MIKE) the new chief of staff on Monday talking about how border crossings--
MILLER: Do you really -- I want to be serious, Jim.
Do you really at CNN not know the difference between green card policy and illegal immigration? You really don't know that?
ACOSTA: -- immigrant. He came to this country in 1962 right before the Cuban Missile Crisis and obtained a green card.
Yes, people who immigrate to this country can eventually -- people who immigrate to this country through -- not through Ellis Island--
MILLER: Jim, as a factual question--
ACOSTA: -- and in other ways do obtain a green card at some point. They do it through a lot of hard work. And, yes, they may learn English as a second language later on in life, but this whole notion of, well, they could learn -- they have to learn English before they get to the United States, are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?
MILLER: Jim, actually, I have to honestly say, I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English.
This actually -- it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree, that, in your mind -- no, this is an amazing -- this is an amazing moment. This is an amazing moment--
MILLER: That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hardworking immigrants who do speak English from all over the world.
MILLER: Jim, have you honestly -- Jim, have you honestly never met an immigrant from another country who speaks English outside of Great Britain and Australia? Is that your personal experience?
ACOSTA: Of course there are people who come to this country from other parts of the world.
MILLER: But that's not what you said. And it shows your cosmopolitan bias.
And I just want to say--
ACOSTA: (OFF-MIKE) sounds like you're trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country through this policy.
MILLER: Jim, that is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, and foolish things you have ever said. And for you, that's still a really -- the notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong--
ACOSTA: I didn't say it was racist.
MILLER: -- and so insulting.
Jim, the reality is, is that the foreign-born population into our country has quadrupled since 1970. That's a fact. It's been mostly driven by green card policy.
Now, this bill allows for immediate nuclear family members to come into the country, much as they would today, and then it adds an additional points-based system. The people who have been hurt the most -- the people who have been -- the people who have been -- the people who have been -- the people who have been hurt the most by the policy you're advocating are--
ACOSTA: What policy am I advocating?
MILLER: Apparently, just unfettered, uncontrolled migration.
The people who have been hurt the most by the policy--
MILLER: The people who have been hurt the most by the policy that you're--
MILLER: The people who have been hurt the most by the policy that you're advocating are immigrant workers and minority workers and African-American workers and Hispanic workers.
QUESTION: Are you targeting the African-American community? Now, you have brought it up again. You said you wanted to have a conversation and not target. Is it going to be a targeted--
MILLER: This is -- what we want to do--
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) saying the African-American community. Are you going to target? I'm not trying to be funny. But you keep saying that.
MILLER: I know. What you're saying -- what you're saying is 100 percent correct.
We want to help unemployed African-Americans in this country and unemployed workers of all backgrounds get jobs.
And insinuations like Jim made, trying to ascribe nefarious motives to a compassionate immigration measure designed to help newcomers and current arrivals alike is wrong.
And this is a positive, optimistic proposal that says 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now--
ACOSTA: You called me ignorant on national television.
(CROSSTALK) MILLER: Ten years, 20 years, 30 years from now, we want to have an immigration system that takes care of the people who are coming here and the people who are already living here by having standards, by having a real, clear requirement that you be able to support yourself financially, by making sure that employers can pay a living wage.
That's the right policy for our country. And it's the president's commitment to taking care of American workers.
I apologize, Jim, if things got heated, but you did make some pretty rough insinuations.
So, thank you.
ACOSTA: I don't know what you mean by rough insinuations.
MILLER: Thank you. Thank you.
And I will hand it over to Sarah.
I think that went exactly as planned. I think that's what Sarah was hoping would happen. I think that -- I think that was exactly what we were hoping to have happen. And thank you.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Thank you, Stephen. I want to transition back. Should be pretty fun. Simple. Thank you. That was exciting.
Throughout this week, we have been talking about the American dream and all that it signifies for people of all ages and nationalities. This morning, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and adviser to the president Ivanka Trump hosted a listening session with military spouses on the unique challenges they face in finding and maintaining employment to support their families.
And, yesterday, we hosted over 100 small businesses for a discussion on how they help to keep the American dream alive for millions of workers around the country.
As I mentioned last week, I want to take time to recognize people from around the country that write in and ask the president questions.
And, today, I wanted to read you a special letter to the president from someone who embodies the enterprising and ambitious spirit of America.
Frank from Falls Church, Virginia, wrote: "Dear Mr. President, it would be my honor to mow the White House lawn for some weekend for you. Even though I'm only 10, I would like to show the nation what young people like me are ready for. I admire your business background and have started my own business. I have been mowing my neighbors' lawns for some time. Please see the attached flyer.
"Here's a list of what I have, and you can -- and you're free to pick whatever you want, power mower, push mower and weed-whacker. I can bring extra fuel for power mower and charged batteries for the weed- whacker." And he will do that with no charge. "Sincerely, Frank."
Frank, I'm happy to report back to you that I just spoke with the president. He wanted me to be sure and tell you you're doing a great job and keep working hard. He also asked me, we found out when we called to let you know we would be reading this letter to wish you a happy birthday. I think Frank went from 10 to 11 in the time that we received and were able to respond to this letter.
And he also wanted me to invite you to spend a morning here at the White House with the groundskeeper. The groundskeeper, we have talked to them, and they'd love to show you how the U.S. Park Service maintains the 18 acres of the White House complex and he'd love to give you the opportunity to cut the grass in the Rose Garden.
It's our responsibility to keep the American dream alive for kids like Frank, immigrants who are already here and those who dream of immigration immigrating here in the future.
And with that, I will take your questions.
QUESTION: Does the president believe that white applicants to college are the victims of discrimination?
HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: Does the president believe that white applicants to college are the victims of discrimination?
HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm not aware of that opinion at all. I certainly haven't had that conversation or have any reason to--
QUESTION: Then can you explain why the Justice Department's Civil Right Division is devoting its limited time and resources to--
HUCKABEE SANDERS: Quite an accusatory question, but I would be happy to respond.
"The New York Times"' article is based on uncorroborated inferences from a leaked internal personnel posting, in violation of Department of Justice policy. And while the White House does not confirm or deny the existence of potential investigations, the Department of Justice will always review credible allegations of discrimination on the basis of any race.
And I don't have anything further on that.
QUESTION: Why did the president say that he received a phone call from the leader of the Boy Scouts and the president of Mexico, when he did not? Did he lie?
HUCKABEE SANDERS: No.
And on Mexico, he was referencing a conversation that they had had at the G20 summit where they specifically talked about the issues that he referenced. In terms of the Boy Scouts, multiple members of the Boy Scout
leadership, following his speech there that day, congratulated him, praised him, and offered quite -- I'm looking for the word -- quite powerful compliments following his speech. And those were what those references were about.
QUESTION: But the president specifically said that he received a phone call from the president of Mexico--
HUCKABEE SANDERS: They were actually direct -- they were direct conversations, not actual phone calls.
QUESTION: So he lied? He didn't receive--
HUCKABEE SANDERS: It wouldn't say it was a lie. It was -- that's a pretty bold accusation.
It's a -- the conversations took place. They just simply didn't take place over a phone call, that he had them in person.