Follow the White House press briefing

By Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN
updated 6:56 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018
4:32 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018

Our live coverage has ended. Scroll down to read more from today's White House press briefing.

2:57 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018

White House defends Trump administration's handling of press freedom issues

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended the Trump administration's handling of press freedom issues after the US dropped in Reporters Without Borders' annual press freedom index. 

"Certainly would reject the idea that the President or this administration has halted freedom of the press. I think we’re one of the most accessible administrations that we’ve seen in decades. I think it’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise." 

When CNN pressed further, Sanders added that, while the administration supports a free press, it also supports a "fair press."

"We support a free press, but we also support a fair press and I think those things should go hand in hand," Sanders said, before slamming the "tone" in which some questions are asked by members of the press, calling it "totally unnecessary."

2:48 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018

White House: "We expect the EPA administrator to answer" for ethical questions

From CNN's Liz Landers

The White House was asked why EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has a job in the Trump Administration, after a reporter read a lengthy list of some of the ethics violations of which Pruitt is being accused.

“We're evaluating these concerns and we expect the EPA administrator to answer for them,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

When pushed on when the White House expects to have those questions answered, Sanders said, “We’re having ongoing conversations,” and then moved on.

Here's the long list of controversies currently surrounding Pruitt.

2:42 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018

White House reaction to DACA ruling: "Wrong on the law"

From CNN's Liz Landers

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders reacted to a federal judge in Washington ruling that the Trump administration has failed to adequately justify its decision to end DACA. 

She said that the DACA program “violates federal law” and that President Obama “went around Congress” when he implemented it.

She called the ruling “extraordinarily broad and wrong on the law,” adding that it creates incentive for youth to come here because they won’t have repercussions.

Sanders doubled down on her rhetoric, calling the ruling “horrible news for our national security.”

Sanders called on Congress to act, adding that lawmakers have “the ability to create laws” to fix the immigration standstill.

2:41 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018

So the White House was just asked about all that love from Kanye West

Rapper Kanye West, during a radio interview this week, said he loved President Trump. And he has been tweeting about him today as well.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about West's admiration for the President and whether he is willing to meet with the artist at the White House.

"I don't know of any conversation they've had over the last week or so," she said.

West and Trump met in 2016 at Trump Tower during his transition period.

"That's the only meeting I'm aware of that's taken place or conversation," she said.

Here's what Kanye has been tweeting about Trump today:

2:35 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018

Trump called Kim Jong Un "very honorable." Here's what Sarah Sanders says about that.

President Trump yesterday described North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as "very open " and "very honorable." He did not further explain the comment.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was just asked about it. A reporter mentioned how Trump, at his State of the Union address earlier this year, called out the North Korean regime.

"How do you reconcile those two assessments of the leader and the regime in North Korea?" the reporter asked.

"The President's referencing the conversations that we've had ongoing over the last month or so in regards to the meeting to take place and their willingness to denuclearize on the peninsula," Sanders said.

In a follow-up question, the reporter asked if Trump thinks the regime has changed.

"We think the maximum pressure campaign is working, but we're not going to let up on that campaign until we see some of the words they've made go into concrete action but they're moving in the right direction," Sanders said.

Watch the full exchange:

2:58 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018

White House: Ronny Jackson has been vetted more than most nominees

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters this afternoon that Ronny Jackson, President Trump's pick to lead the Veterans Affairs agency, has had multiple background checks.

She said Jackson, Trump's presidential physician, has an "impeccable" record.

Sanders continued:

Given his unique position of trust and responsibility, Dr. Jackson's background and character were evaluated during three different administrations. Dr. Jackson has what at least four independent background investigations conducted during his time at the White House, including an FBI investigation conducted as part of the standard nomination vetting during each of those investigations, Dr. Jackson received unanimous praise from dozens of witnesses and the investigations revealed no area of concern. Dr. Jackson has received glowing evaluations from his superiors, including several from President Obama, which said that Dr. Jackson should continue to promote ahead of his peers and already at a level of performance and responsibility that exceeds his current rank.

However, Republican lawmakers and aides have grown increasingly frustrated with the White House over the last several days -- tied in part to the unconventional nomination of Dr. Jackson to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs and the lack of congressional consultation before it was made.

1:57 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018

The questions that could come up in today's briefing

  • On Macron: French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech to Congress in which he disagreed with Trump on several key issues, including the environment and the Iran deal. Did Trump see the speech? How's he reacting?
  • On Trump's VA pick: Does the President want Ronny Jackson to withdrawal his nomination to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs? (Yesterday, Trump said the decision was up to Jackson.)
  • On the travel ban: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on Trump's travel ban. Does the President think the court will side with him?
  • On James Comey: Will the President watch James Comey's town hall on CNN tonight?
2:05 p.m. ET, April 25, 2018

The briefing starts at 2:15 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will take reporters' questions at 2:15 p.m. You can follow it live here.