Mar 16, 2017

Highlights from Spicer's Thursday briefing

Andrew Harnik / AP

Spicer — donning a green tie for St. Patty's Day — said President Trump "still stands by" his claims that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, even after the Senate Intelligence Committee announced that they found no indication of that happening.

But the media pressed on, and Spicer grew increasingly heated. At one point, he even yelled at a reporter to "calm down!" before turning the tables on the press: "Where was your passion, where was your concern when the committees said there was no connection to Russia? You choose not to cover continue to perpetuate a false narrative." More highlights below:

  • Spicer's guest du jour: Budget director Mick Mulvaney joined Spicer to discuss the "America first" federal budget that was released this morning. Mulvaney emphasized that this budget "does not deal with the debt, it does not even deal with the deficit," but those things will be addressed in a later budget. He also reiterated that the budget reflects Trump's overall goal: spend less overseas. For more see our highlights of the "hard power" budget blueprint.
  • Mulvaney on climate change: "We are not spending money on climate change anymore. We view it as a waste of your money."
  • Mulvaney on budget cuts: "A program like Meals on Wheels sounds great...but it's not showing any results....We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good... We're $20 trillion in debt."
  • Spicer on budget cuts: "There's an assumption in Washington that if you get less money, it's a cut."
  • Revised travel ban: "The danger is real and the law is clear," said Spicer, adding that Trump fully expects the DOJ to enforce the new order. "The second order was literally tailored" to the changes the 9th district court asked for, said Spicer, stating that there is no reason for it to be disputed.

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

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President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

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Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.