Jun 28, 2017

Highlights from Sanders' off-camera briefing

Evan Vucci / AP

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders surprised reporters for a second day in a row when she appeared at the briefing podium Wednesday instead of Sean Spicer. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials also spoke, with Sanders claiming that if the White House had announced the guests ahead of time, the media wouldn't have covered them. Other highlights from the off-camera briefing:

Sarah Sanders

  • Is Trump running for reelection? "Of course."
  • On Manafort retroactively registering as a foreign agent: Sanders said she can't speak for the 2016 campaign team.
  • What are Trump's policy preferences on Medicaid? Sanders said she didn't have that information.

ICE acting Director Thomas Homan

  • On separating families: "Families of U.S. citizens get separated every day" and people who are in the U.S. illegally have "put themselves in that position."
  • On notion immigrants are "more dangerous": Homan conceded that undocumented immigrants do not commit more crimes than native born Americans.
  • Number of illegal immigrants in U.S.: "11 to 12 million" said Homan, and noted that he "never heard" of the 30 million estimate Trump used in his 2016 campaign.
  • On ICE's reputation: "People think I'm standing up here and I'm the devil. Why am I so strong on this? If you saw what I saw over the last 33 years, I wouldn't get half the bad media that I get."

Go deeper

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.