Follow the White House press briefing

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries and Amanda Wills, CNN
4:58 PM ET, Mon January 28, 2019
4:45 p.m. ET, January 28, 2019

Our live coverage has ended. Scroll through the posts below to see how today's White House press briefing unfolded.

4:25 p.m. ET, January 28, 2019

Sanders advice for anyone impacted by shutdown: Call Democrats

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

When Sarah Sanders was asked what advice she would give to federal workers who are worried about another shutdown told reporters: "My advice would be to call your Democrat members of Congress and ask them to fix the problem."

Sanders was also challenged on whether or not the border is an emergency or half an emergency, since President Trump has yet to declare it. Sanders told reporters they were missing the point.

"It's not just an emergency. It's a crisis at the border," she said.

The press secretary added that the administration still believes the best fix would be to do it legislatively and that Trump wants to "exhaust" all other options. 

4:24 p.m. ET, January 28, 2019

Sarah Sanders says she's "not aware" if Trump has ruled out a pardon for Roger Stone

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was just asked if President Trump has ruled out a pardon for Roger Stone, his longtime associate who was was indicted last week on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Here's how Sanders responded:

“I’m not aware of that. I haven’t had any conversations regrading that matter.”

A reporter followed up, asking Sanders if she planned discuss the possible pardon with the President.

“I’m not going to get into that at this point, but if need be, I’ll let you know," she said.

Later, she repeated that she's unaware of any talk about pardons: "Again, I’m not aware of a conversation regarding that or a need for it."

She also said that Stone's indictment has "nothing to do with the President."

"So in fact, I think the further we get into the process, the more and more we see that this has nothing to do with President Trump," she said.

4:15 p.m. ET, January 28, 2019

Sanders: Trump "doesn't want to go through another shutdown"

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was just asked if the President is prepared to go through another government shutdown if lawmakers can not reach an agreement by Feb. 15, the new deadline to pass a spending bill.

"The President doesn’t want to go through another shutdown. That’s not the goal. The goal is border security and protecting the American people," she said.

Sanders continued: "Ideally Democrats would take these next three weeks and negotiate in good faith… and come up with a deal that makes sense so we don’t have to go through the process."

Last week, as Trump announced the deal to fund the government for three weeks, he threatened to shutdown the government again if a deal is not reached.

4:06 p.m. ET, January 28, 2019

White House: "All options are on the table" with Venezuela

Members of the Bolivarian National Guard stand guard near the main entrance of the forces' headquarters in Caracas as supporters of Venezuela's National Assembly head and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido distribute copies of amnesty measures for anyone in the military who disavows President Nicolas Maduro.

National security adviser John Bolton said the US is holding Venezuela's current regime under Nicolás Maduro responsible.

“Well if the President has made it very clear on this, on this matter that all options are on the table," Bolton said.

Some background on Venezuela: Protesters demonstrated last week with the opposition accusing Maduro's government of "usurping power" and has called for new elections.

Maduro has continued the huge social welfare programs and price control policies of Hugo Chavez, who steered the country toward socialism before dying in 2013. Through nearly a decade of mismanagement, Venezuela squandered its profound oil wealth, leaving its economy in tatters and Latin America reeling from an unprecedented mass exodus of migrants in search of food and medicine.

The United Nations estimates as many as 3 million Venezuelans have fled since 2014.

3:47 p.m. ET, January 28, 2019

Mnuchin announces sanctions targeting Venezuela's state-owned oil company

From CNN's Allison Malloy

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin just announced that the US would be sanctioning Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.

“The United States is holding accountable those responsible for Venezuela's tragic decline,” Mnuchin told reporters.

Mnuchin said the sanctions would be effective “immediately” and that any purchases of Venezuelan oil by US entities will have all money go into blocked accounts.

Mnuchin said PsVSA is only hearing about it now, although Senator Marco Rubio made a statement praising the sanctions earlier today.

In an accompanying release sent to reporters as he spoke, Mnuchin said the sanctions would "help prevent further diverting of Venezuela’s assets by [Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro] and preserve these assets for the people of Venezuela."

3:45 p.m. ET, January 28, 2019

White House adviser urges all "responsible nations" to recognize Venezuela's opposition leader

National Security adviser John Bolton addressed reporters in the White House briefing room to discuss Venezuela.

He urged all "responsible nations" to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

Last week, President Trump recognized Guaido as Venezuela's leader as violent protests swept the country.

As Bolton was giving his remarks, the White House released the text of an executive order addressing the situation in Venezuela, and the Treasury department announced new sanctions.

3:26 p.m. ET, January 28, 2019

7 questions that could come up this afternoon

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will take reporters' questions at 3:30 p.m. ET today.

Here are some we're expecting to come up:

  • On the shutdown: Trump signed a measure last week to reopen the government until Feb. 15. Does the President think he can reach a deal with Democrats in that time, or is he expecting the government to close again?
  • On the wall: Trump's long-promised border wall has been a major sticking point in shutdown negotiations. How much money is he expecting in any new shutdown deal?
  • On the State of the Union: Now that the government is open, when does the President expect to give his State of the Union address?
  • On Roger Stone: President Trump's longtime associate was indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. Does the President still believe the special counsel's investigation is a "witch hunt"?
  • On Venezuela: Trump has recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Does the US have any plans to take action against the nation's current regime?
  • On Trump's attorney general nominee: Does the White House expect William Barr to be confirmed?
  • On the disappearing press briefings: Trump tweeted last week that he directed his press to stop holding regular briefings because “the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately.” Did the President really give you this order?
3:26 p.m. ET, January 28, 2019

Today will end the longest stretch with no briefing in the Trump administration

From CNN's Allie Malloy

Today’s White House briefing will be the first in 41 days, ending the longest stretch with no briefing in the Trump administration.  

For context: The previous record for the administration was 29 days without a briefing.

Last week Trump claimed on Twitter that he directed press secretary Sarah Sanders to stop holding regular briefings because “the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately.”


And if you're wondering about that Jan. 3 "briefing": The White House advertised a briefing that day — and that did mark President Trump’s first real visit to the briefing room.

However, Trump only made a statement and took no questions.