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White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders wouldn’t say Monday whether the Trump administration will slap additional tariffs on Chinese goods if talks between the two leaders don't go well at the G20 summit.
"I'm not going to get ahead of the President's meeting and I hope it goes well,” Sanders told reporters at a briefing, amid reports the administration is poised to launch a third round of tariffs on $267 billion of goods in early December.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Sanders. “We’re not going to get head of those conversations.”
Why this matters: The administration has already imposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Trump has said the tariffs are necessary to punish Beijing for what he says are its unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft.
China, which has accused the United States of trade bullying, has matched the tariffs dollar for dollar.
Many American business owners say the tariffs are hurting their companies. They have to decide whether to pay the tariff on an imported good or find a new supplier outside China.
Yet another round of tariffs on $267 billion in goods would bring the total imports from China subject to tariffs to more than $500 billion. That's roughly the same as the $505 billion in goods that the US imported from China last year.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked Monday what the administration plans to do in response to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Sanders reiterated that President Trump met last week with CIA Director Gina Haspel, who traveled to Turkey. She said intelligence has been gathered, and the administration is now “weighing different options."
“The administration is considering what action we’ll take moving forward based on that information and the briefing that the President received last week,” she said.
When asked if Haspel had heard the audio tape that Turkish officials claim is proof of the murder, Sanders declined to confirm or deny the specifics of the intelligence Haspel received.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to name any members of the “fake news media” on Monday, following a tweet from President Trump that called the “Fake News Media” the "true enemy of the people."
Asked by Jim Acosta whether CNN falls into that category, she also wouldn’t say.
Here's how the whole exchange went down:
Acosta: "Shouldn't you reserve the term 'enemy' for people who are actually the enemy of the United States, rather than journalists?"
Sanders: "The President's not referencing all media. He's talking about the growing amount of fake news that exists in the country, and the President's calling that out."
Acosta: "The President said this morning the 'fake news media, the true enemy of the people, must stop the open and obvious hostility, and report the news accurately and fairly.' Can you state for the record which outlets that you and the President regard as the enemy of the people?"
Sanders: "I'm not going to walk through a list, but I think those individuals probably know who they are."
Acosta: "Would that include my outlet, which received bombs last week?"
Sanders: "I don't think it's necessarily specific to a general, broad generalization of a full outlet at times. I think there's individuals that the President would be referencing."
Acosta: "You’re not going to state for the record then, I mean, if the President is going to say the fake news media aren’t the enemy of the people and if you’re going to stand there and continue to say that there are some journalists, some news outlets in this country that meet that characterization, shouldn’t you have the guts Sarah to state which outlets, which journalists are the enemy of the people?"
Sanders: "No, I think it’s irresponsible of a news organization like yours to blame responsibility of a pipe bomb that was not sent by the President, not just blame the President but blame members of his administration for those heinous acts, I think that is outrageous. And I think it’s irresponsible."
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that the White House is considering “administrative actions” to address the asylum issue that has gained attention amid the latest migrant caravan.
“There are a lot of options that are being discussed right now. One priority is looking for ways to secure our borders. We’d love for Democrats in Congress to step up and do their jobs and help us do that,” she said.
Sanders continued: "If they don’t and they’re unwilling to as they have shown in the past that they are, then we’re looking at administrative actions that will help and allow us to do so.”
She added later that there are several options on the table regarding the asylum issue.
Sanders also said she does not know if the President will offer a speech on immigration this week.
Some background: Aides have floated a potential executive order aimed at restricting migrants in the caravan, the source close to the White House said.
It would rely on the same legal rationale as the travel ban issued early in the administration against some Muslim-majority countries to allow immediate repatriation of Central American migrants. The order could prevent those migrants from seeking asylum and entering the United States if they reach the border, but the source said aides are still "trying to figure out the best way to write it" so the order can withstand court challenges.
One of the plans under consideration is some kind of presidential order to deal with asylum seekers. The plan is still under active consideration and has not been finalized, the aide said.
Asked to comment on whether the midterm elections are a referendum on President Trump, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders wouldn’t say.
“I can’t get into specifics that will impact the election, but I can tell you that the President wants to see more people that support his policies elected than not,” she said at Monday’s press briefing.
The President has said at several of his recent rallies that the midterms are a referendum on his presidency.
When asked about President Trump's recent remark that he could "tone up" his rhetoric, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders asserted that Trump wanted to "find ways to bring our country together, and we've seen him do exactly that."
Trump's rhetoric was nothing more than highlighting "the difference between the two parties" in the face of the approaching midterm elections, Sanders added.
When pressed further about the Trump's attacks on the media and about the mail bomb suspect's support for Trump, Sanders grew heated.
"The very first thing that the President did was condemn the attacks both in Pittsburgh and the pipe bombs. The very first thing the media did was blame the President and make him responsible for these ridiculous acts," Sanders said.
"The only person responsible for carrying out either of these heinous acts were the individuals who carried them out," she added.
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