Follow the White House press briefing

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries and Amanda Wills, CNN
2:56 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018
2:44 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018

Sanders calls Trump's national security adviser a "valued member of the President's team," not aware he's leaving the White House

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says she "can't predict the future" when it comes to the fate of Trump's national security adviser H.R. McMaster — but said she's "not aware" that he'll leave the administration any time soon.

Earlier this month, an administration official told CNN McMaster could leave the White House by the end of March.

"Look, I don't have a crystal ball to predict the future, but the President's national security adviser is General McMaster. He is a valued member of the President's team and an important part of this process," Sanders said.

A reporter pressed further and asked if McMaster would leave "anytime soon."

"Not that I'm aware of," Sanders said.

2:43 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018

Sanders refuses to answer Stormy Daniels questions

CNN political analyst April Ryan asked Sarah Sanders if President Trump saw, texted or emailed Stormy Daniels after taking a photo with her.

Sanders wouldn't say.

"I don't. We've addressed this extensively and I don't have anything else to add."

A second reporter later asked if Trump remembers speaking with his lawyer about the arbitration involving Stormy Daniels, or meeting her.

Again, Sanders demurred: "I've addressed this extensively. I don't have anything else to add."

President Trump was upset with Sanders over her responses Wednesday regarding his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, a source close to the White House told CNN.

2:41 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018

Sanders says it's "absurd" to think Rex Tillerson was not involved in North Korea discussions

From CNN's Allie Malloy

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said it’s “absurd” to pretend that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was not involved in the North Korea discussions Thursday and defended reports that the Pentagon was left out of the loop. 

“The Secretary of State's Deputy was in the room at the time these conversations went on. So it is absurd to pretend like they weren't part of this process and haven't been part of this process all along.”

Sanders also pushed back on reports that the Pentagon was not part of the process.

"This has been part of an ongoing campaign that’s been going for over a year and just because some of the individuals that may regularly leak to the press weren’t involved in the conversation, doesn’t mean that the appropriate parties that lead those agencies were not in the room and not part of that discussion," Sanders said.

2:31 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018

Trump is in a "great mood," White House says

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump "is in a great mood," noting they've had "not just a successful couple of days" but "a successful year."

She added: "We're focused on making sure that we have seven more."

2:30 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018

Trump won't meet with Kim Jong Un without first seeing "concrete steps" on denuclearization

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was just asked why Trump accepted the meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un without "preconditions," such as the release of the three Americans that are being held there.

Sanders said that the North Koreans did promise something: "They've promised to denuclearize."

"Let's be very clear: The United States has made zero concessions. But North Korea has made some promises, and again, this meeting won't take place without concrete actions that match the promises that have been made by North Korea.

Every president before Trump refused to sit down with the dictator. Former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton each met members of the ruling Kim family, but only after they'd left office.

Watch more:

2:27 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018

White House: Maximum pressure campaign on North Korea "has clearly been effective"

Sarah Sanders said President Trump's "maximum pressure campaign" is what ultimately brought North Korea's Kim Jong Un to the table.

"What we know is that the maximum pressure campaign has clearly been effective. We know that it has put a tremendous amount of pressure on North Korea. And they have made some major promises," she said.

"They have made promises to denuclearize, they have made promises to stop nuclear and missile testing, and they've recognized that regular military exercises between the US and its ally South Korea will continue."

2:22 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018

White House: Still working on timing and location of meeting with Trump and Kim Jong Un

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at today's press briefing that "a time and place have not yet been determined," when asked where and when President Trump would meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

"We'll certainly make those announcements when more decisions and are more information is available on that front," she added.

When a reporter asked where it might happen, noting the White House wouldn't want to hold the meeting in "downtown Pyongyang," Sanders said. "We won't have those conversations between me and the press. Those conversations will take place at a much higher level."

1:53 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018

7 questions that could come up in today's briefing

Stormy Daniels: Does the President have a response to the lawsuit the porn star filed against him?

Michael Cohen: Why did Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen use a Trump Organization email to communicate details of the payoff deal with Stormy Daniels?

North Korea: Is the operable timetable for Trump-Kim meeting still May? And where will it happen?

Tariffs: Is the President worried Congress could push legislation to nullify his newly announced tariff plan?

The VA: A new report suggests infighting among the top ranks at the Department of Veterans Affairs has paralyzed the agency's efforts to serve veterans. Is the White House doing anything about it?

Rob Porter: Why is the White House ignoring a congressional inquiry on security clearance procedures and the Rob Porter scandal?

Ambassador's anti-Trump op-ed: Does the White House have a response to the outgoing US ambassador to Panama's scathing critique of Trump?

1:49 p.m. ET, March 9, 2018

Trump's lawyer used Trump Organization email in Stormy Daniels deal

Stormy Daniels’ attorney confirms to CNN that Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen used his Trump Organization email to communicate details of the deal with Ms. Daniels.

In an email provided to CNN by Michael Avenatti, Cohen forwarded a confirmation of transfer of money to Daniels’ former attorney Keith Davidson. 

In the email, both Cohen’s personal email account and trumporg.com email account were used.