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White House Briefing Concludes. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 7, 2017 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: -- anyone who's a sole proprietor or owns a small business.

[14:30:00]

And so, frankly, to allow the playing field to be leveled and allow small businesses, which are, frankly, the job creators in this country -- to allow entrepreneurs and self-starters to get the same tax treatment that a Fortune 500 companies gets you, is a very conservative principle.

And again, I think -- look, one of the things that's important, Sarah, is for all of the people who have concerns about this, especially on the right, look at the size. This is the Democrats, this is us. There is -- I mean, you can't get any clearer in terms of this is government, this is not.

And I think that part of the reason the visual, is important is that when you actually look at the difference, you realize this is what big government does. It crowds out competition, it drives up prices, it stifles entrepreneurship and innovation, doctors leaving the markets, more and more people not taking Medicaid or TRICARE.

That should concern people. When you've got veterans that can't -- because most of the time Medicaid and TRICARE are tied together, so when you have those systems not accepted by doctors, that means the lowest of our -- people on the low-income scale and people who have served our country have fewer and fewer choices.

That alone should be a problem and concerning for many people.

But the premium spikes are another problem, because, again, even if you're on the exchange, now you're seeing over and over again that happen.

You're also seeing young people decide that they'd rather just pay a penalty, because the cost of those basic programs is out of reach for a lot of young people who are just entering the job market.

But, again, I think the greatest illustration of the differences in the approaches is that size. Our bill, which is a tenth of the size, does repeal and replace in what their bill just did in massive government bureaucracy. And that is a big difference.

(CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Just want to ask you, I mean, you have the health and human services secretary out here, you just talked about this is a Republican bill, this is the Democrat bill. Is that the president's bill? Is that his health care bill?

SPICER: That is a bill that we have worked with with Congress. We feel very good about where it is. We are looking forward -- as I mentioned earlier, the president's meeting with the whip team to encourage them to support it and build it out.

I don't think -- and I'm not trying to be cute here, but I think it's not his bill or their bill. It's a bill that we have worked on with them together. We're very proud of where it stands now.

The big difference, Jim, is that, unlike before, as I mentioned, when the Democrats jammed it down people's throat and said -- waited to get that 60th vote before Senator -- with Senator Kennedy still around, and then -- and then basically said, literally, you will have to wait and see what it looks like before we passed it, we not only posted it out there for everybody to look at, but by sending it through regular order -- not just putting up for a House vote but sending it through the committee process -- allows Republicans, Democrats and independents alike to offer up amendments and suggestions. And the House will work its will.

Now, we will continue to give guidance and thoughts and suggestions, but I think the president's core principles are what's going to guide us as we head through the Hill and then over -- the House and then to the Senate.

QUESTION: And just one quick follow-up on Jonathan Karl's question, because the president made a very serious allegation over the weekend, and I think we would all be remiss if we went through this briefing and not tried to get you on camera to at least offer some evidence.

Where is the evidence, where is the proof that President Obama bugged President Trump?

SPICER: Well, I answered this question yesterday on camera, on your air, so just so we're clear, I know this will now be twice.

But I think I've made it clear yesterday...

QUESTION: But since yesterday -- since yesterday, is there any new proof?

SPICER: Nothing has changed. No It's not a question -- it's not a question of new proof or less proof or whatever. The answer is the same. And I think that -- which is that I think that -- that there is a concern about what happened in the 2016 election. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees had the staff and the capabilities and the processes in place to look at this in a way that's objective, and that's where it should be done.

And, frankly, if you've seen the response from -- especially on the House side, but as well as the Senate, they've -- they welcome this. And so let's let the Senate do their job and the House, excuse me, Intelligence Committees and then report back to the American people.

QUESTION: Will the president withdraw the accusation? Does he have any...

SPICER: Why would he withdraw it until it's -- I mean, until it's adjudicated?

That's what we're asking is for them to look at this and see if there's...

QUESTION: No regrets from him about raising this accusation?

SPICER: No. Absolutely not.

And I think that what he wants them to do is to look into wiretapping, other surveillance, and again, as I mentioned before, the other leaks that are threatening our national security. You're seeing the leaks happen over and over again that come out throughout the administration, throughout government and undermine national security.

And I think the appropriate thing to do is to ask the House and the Senate to look into it.

Glenn Thrush?

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: Sean, so if -- to follow up on the follow-up, in terms of -- you were given an opportunity on air to say whether or not the president still supported Director Comey. Does the president support Director Comey?

And then a quick follow-up.

SPICER: I have no reason to believe he doesn't. He has not suggested that to me.

So now to the non-follow-up to the...

QUESTION: Have you seen any evidence yourself? Has the evidence been shared with you or other members -- senior members of the president's staff as to why he made this particular accusation?

SPICER: As far as me, no. I'm not in a position that that would be regularly part of my daily duties for the president to sit down and go through that. That's probably a level above my pay grade. But as I've mentioned -- as I've mentioned, I think the president believes that the appropriate place for this to be adjudicated is for the House and Senate Intelligence Committees who have the clearances, the staff, the processes to go through this, look at it, and report back.

Yes?

QUESTION: Did he share it with...

SPICER: I'm not going to -- look, as the president made very clear... (CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I'm not going to -- as the president said in the statement that he issued on Sunday, we're not going to have further comment on this until this is -- until this matter is resolved.

Yes?

QUESTION: Two quick questions. So just to follow up on the followup, so does the White House feel that it's appropriate -- you think that you want it to be adjudicated by the congressional committees.

SPICER: Right.

QUESTION: But the president made a declarative statement on Twitter. So, I guess is the White House position that the president can make declarative statements about a former president basically committing a crime, and then the congressional committees should look into that and basically prove it?

I mean, I...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Well, it's not a question -- you know, I take issue with -- it's not a question of prove it. I think, as I said now five times to the followup to the followup, that it's not a question of prove it. It's that they have the resources and the clearances and the staff to fully and thoroughly and comprehensively investigate this. And then issue a report as to -- as to what their findings are.

QUESTION: So -- but President Trump's Twitter statement shouldn't be taken at face value about what...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Sure it should. Of course it -- I mean, why -- no -- I -- there's nothing, as I mentioned to Jim, it's not that he's walking anything back or regretting. He's just saying that they have the appropriate venue and capabilities to review this.

Margaret?

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I'm sorry.

QUESTION: On the -- on the Obamacare replacement, so you said that it will be in phases, and that you're going to need additional legislation. So just to clarify, are the costs -- the cost savings that you guys are projecting, is that dependent on phase three, on the national competition plan because...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I think -- yeah -- well, it's not dependent. I think that in order to see it fully come to fruition, yeah, you have to see all parts of it. But the way that it was passed doesn't allow for -- the way that it was passed is almost the same way that we're -- we're going through this now, which is they pass certain things.

Then the secretary of health and human services at the time was granted significant regulatory authority that allowed her to do certain things at the time to implement pieces of Obamacare, that we now have to act backwards and go almost in the same steps to do what they did to lay it out. We've got to repeal it, and then we've got to replace it with the plan that's going to do the same.

Certain things can be done in the same way and certain things can't. It's just -- it literally depends on how that was done.

John Frederick (ph)?

QUESTION: Sean, in the replacement plan, it says that the states that accepted the Medicare (sic) expansion money would continue to be funded. So what is the message you have to Republican state legislators that thought they were fiscally responsible in rejecting Medicaid expansion in their states, and now they didn't get -- they didn't get the federal dollars on either end? What is your...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Well, I think -- yeah, I think what we need to do is to make sure, as the president said in his statement, as Secretary Price did, we've got to make sure that we continue to protect people through this transition process. Let the bill work its way. But this is the first time, as we address the Medicaid portion of this, this is probably the first time that we've really addressed an entitlement aspect of something in almost 30 years.

So I think we've got to let this piece of it work its way through the House. But there is -- remember, one of the things that happened through the Medicaid expansion was the goal has always been of Medicaid to help people who were disabled or poor or met a specific number of criteria. For the first time in Obamacare, we expanded Obamacare or the Obama administration did, rather, to able-bodied individuals that -- in a way that had never been done before, and it was not a specific class.

That's led largely to the ballooning costs. I think a lot of the reforms that will be contained in this bill will address that. But I think we've got to let it work its will through the process.

Alexis?

QUESTION: Sean, I want to ask you two communications questions on two topics.

SPICER: Good.

QUESTION: Because the president gave himself a middling grade on communication, let me ask you about the experience that the previous administration had when Obamacare was going through its own phases. The president -- President Obama said that the opposition to the legislation was able to seize the opportunity while it was being legislated to create public perceptions about was in the legislations.

So my question is on ACA, what is the president going to do to improve his communication, to be out there explaining what is in the bill, to work with lawmakers?

That's the first question, and then I'll ask you the next one.

SPICER: OK. Thank you.

So, on the first one, as I've mentioned, I continue -- he's had and continues to have significant outreach to members of Congress. He's talked to health insurers. I mean, I think we've readout a lot of the activities the last couple of weeks, and literally just within an hour, he's going to sit down with the House deputy whip team to talk about the legislative piece of this in the House.

So this is going to be a very aggressive, laser-like focus of this administration over the next, you know, month or two, to get this thing through the House and then moved over to the Senate.

But there's a big difference, Alexis. What we're doing is vastly different.

They were expanding government, promising people something. And I think what's happened is, there was a lot of -- there was a lot of difference with how they approach (inaudible).

Right now the American people, no matter where you are, you understand the -- the -- the state of your health care, the costs that you're seeing and the lack of choice that you're now been presented with. And in many cases, you realize that when you going to see the doctor or a loved one's going to see a doctor, that they're not getting -- they're not either able to get in, they're not taking the Medicare or the exchange insurance that they got, the costs are going out of control.

And -- and I think it's really (inaudible) -- I mean, one of the things that Dr. Price mentioned that is so apropos, this is having a card does not mean you have insurance. It's like handing someone a blank check. It doesn't mean that you have the money, it means you have a check.

And I think what we've seen over the last few years with Obamacare is you can have an insurance card, but that doesn't mean that someone's going to take it, and it sure doesn't mean that it's going to be affordable.

And there's a big difference between having a card and having health care that's affordable, and that's the difference that we're trying to solve right now.

And I think -- so when it comes to communication, I think, one of the things that's really helpful is that part of the sell is done for us. The American people understand the state of their health care. They understand how much they're paying for it. They've gone to see a doctor, or gone to a hospital, or had a notice from their carrier saying, "We are no longer part of this," or their employer says, "Hey, whatever your particular carrier is, we're not going to -- is no longer available. We're switching you into this."

And so for -- for so many Americans, health care is a very, very real part of their -- of their daily experience, because they're caring for themselves, they're dealing with an ailment or dealing with children or a loved one or someone else in their family, where they're seeing first hand the devastation and disaster that Obamacare has caused them in their personal life.

So, I think there's a welcoming of this effort, and I think it's a lot harder -- it's a lot easier for us to go in -- because we don't have to explain the problem: People are living it. And I think for them to understand what we're giving you is more choice, greater competition, we're incentivizing more people to be part of the process and we're going to be driving down costs of those premiums.

You had a second.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) question on communication, it has to do with the president's assertion about the wiretapping.

SPICER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Because the White House wants this now to be handled by the legislative branch and in confidence and classification, can we count on the president to himself, while this investigation's going on -- to cease and desist using Twitter or any other public venue to make accusations that are in public but he will not respond to in public?

SPICER: With respect to this particular situation, I'll -- I'll ask that and I'll get back to you on that.

John Gidney (ph)?

QUESTION: Thank you, Sean.

Just getting back to the question about if one likes his or her health care they can keep it, in 2013, Congressman Fred Upton, then chairman of the House Energy Committee, offered the legislation that put precisely those words into law, and it received the votes of every Republican member in the House and between 40 and 50 Democrats and then it died in the Senate.

Would the administration support a revival of the Upton Amendment, in other words, putting the right to keep one's health care plan and doctor, if he or she liked it, today?

SPICER: I mean, I think that's the goal.

I don't want to start talking about what we're going -- as we go through the process. We've now put our stamp on this and sent it to the House. It'll work its will as amendments come up through regular order. You know, our team will weigh in on the House, with -- with their staff. And again, the president's meeting with the whip team today.

I don't want to start saying we're going to support this amendment or that amendment now, but I think generally speaking, obviously the goal is to make sure that people get a plan that they like, that's affordable, that meets what they need to have met; that they shouldn't have to have a one-size-fits-all government-instilled health care system that doesn't offer any choice or, frankly, isn't tailored to the needs that they have.

I think that's an important thing.

John (ph)?

QUESTION: Sean, right now you're two votes short of passing repeal and replace in the Senate, because you've got four Republican senators who are saying they can't support the bill because of rolling back the Medicaid expansion.

What do you say to those senators who are very concerned that people will lose coverage, that this does not provide enough stability for those people who rely on Medicaid for their health care?

SPICER: Well, there's two things, John (ph).

One is, we're at day one. We've got to get -- we're going to go through the House first, so we got a little bit of time.

And I think as we go through that process, these senators -- and not just the additional two but I think and hope that we'll get additional ones -- that recognize that those people -- you know, as I've said over and over again here, it's -- if we do nothing, they're going to be in a very, very worse scenario than they are now.

More and more people -- if you're on Medicaid, which serves so many low-income Americans, as I mentioned, they have a card and that card does not allow them to go to doctor after doctor who're saying, "We're not going to take Medicaid or TRICARE any more."

So I would ask those senators, what are you doing to help us work on a bill that will get them insured again? Because for too many Americans, they've got a card, but they don't have insurance, and I think that's a very, very big thing to -- a distinction to make.

It's -- they're the ones who have the problem right now. They've got a Medicaid card and nowhere to go. And what we need to do is to make sure that low-income Americans, veterans, small-business owners, individuals who desperately need health care have options and affordability.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: One other piece of this. You can bring down the cost of insurance itself through new efficiencies in the system, selling across state lines, but the biggest driver of the increase in health insurance cost is the skyrocketing cost of medicine.

SPICER: Right. QUESTION: What in this overall plan do you propose to do to either cap the rise or even bring it down?

SPICER: Well, I think you've -- the secretary mentioned this, but, I mean, the cost of prescription drugs is a...

QUESTION: That's one small...

SPICER: No, it's not. It's a big factor.

QUESTION: But when you're -- when you're paying $50,000 out of pocket to get a stent, it's getting out of...

SPICER: Right. But again, what is the biggest thing missing -- but...

QUESTION: A lot of people believe it's getting out of control so...

SPICER: Fair enough.

QUESTION: Fair enough, drugs is one part of it, but (inaudible)...

SPICER: No, no, no. OK.

When you talk about procedures or drugs, the biggest thing that's missing in this whole equation is competition. There's no -- I mean, we're down to one plan in many places. There's nothing for these places to compete.

QUESTION: There's plenty of competition between hospitals.

SPICER: No, there's -- I mean, that's fine, but if they know they're going to get the same reimbursement rate, if they know that there's no other options, that plans aren't trying to get people, then that's a big difference.

Right now there's a lack of competition in the industry. And I think one of the president's -- I get it may be one part of that, but you're right, all over medicine, procedures and such -- there's a reason he met with drug executives and talked about getting those costs down.

There's a multifaceted approach, and how do we instill competition? How do we drive down costs?

But you're right, we've got to do more to get the cost of that down, of the procedures, to allow additional options. Everything that -- it's the same way that, again, think about your insurance, right? One of the things that was driving up costs in the past was people were exercising the option of going to an emergency room over and over again for their primary care.

And what happened is that you saw all of these, you know, quote/unquote, "clinics" pop up from around and -- and insurance carriers actually made it cheaper in terms of co-pays to go see that than an emergency room, driving people to somewhere that didn't continue to drive up costs, clog insurance.

That competition alone starts saving the plans money and helping to keep costs down. We've got to instill more aspects of competition in medicine.

Jennifer (ph)?

QUESTION: Can you give us an update on the efforts to roll back regulations? Has the task force -- regulatory reform task force identified any regulations to roll back? And have any actually been repealed?

SPICER: I -- I think that they have had their work cut out for them. They've started.

As the president has met with different industries and companies, corporations, associations, that is a constant subject of discussion, which is those regulatory aspects of our economy that are keeping companies from growing, expanding and hiring.

And so I know that the domestic policy team and others have been working on that, and if -- if I can get further updates on specific legislation or -- excuse me -- specific regulatory action, I'll get back to you.

Halle (ph)?

QUESTION: Thanks, Sean.

Two topics for you and one (inaudible) trying to get some clarity on something that my colleagues have tried to follow up on as well.

You said that you -- the president stands by his tweets Saturday morning that President Obama ordered this wiretap. You've also said that the administration wants Congress -- let me (inaudible) he said he found out this information.

You've also said that the president wants Congress to investigate. Some members of Congress, by the way, have asked the White House and asked the president to come forward with that information.

So bottom line, why would the president want Congress to investigate for information he already has?

SPICER: I think there's a -- there's a separation of powers aspect here, as I mentioned to Jonathan, that we could...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... has the resources (inaudible). Why waste that?

SPICER: Well, it's not a question of was it. It's a question of appropriateness.

QUESTION: But if the president had the (inaudible). I guess I'm trying to get to (inaudible). He's sitting on this information that he found out. He's now directing or asking or recommending that the Intelligence Committees look into this. And you talk about they have resources and staff, which they do.

SPICER: Right.

QUESTION: But why spend those resources and staff if the president found out this information and has it?

SPICER: I think there's a difference between directing the Department of Justice, which may be involved in an ongoing investigation, and asking Congress as a separate body to look into something, and add credibility to the look, adds an element that wouldn't necessarily be there if we were directing the Department of Justice, for example.

But again, I think we've made it very clear how he wants this done and where we go from there.

QUESTION: Second question, then. Millions of Americans are working on their tax returns right now. Will the president commit to releasing his tax return for this year? And is he still under audit for his tax returns?

SPICER: My understanding is he's still under audit and I'll follow up on the question.

Yes?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Question and quick followup.

How do you react -- how do you understand what we've seen on the growing number of cases at the Canadian border, of Canadians born and raised in Canada with valid passports, being stopped at the border and told just to go back. They won't let them come in in the U.S.

SPICER: I'm not aware of that. I think that's something that probably should be addressed to the Department of Homeland Security.

QUESTION: (inaudible) being a misunderstanding of the message that's sent...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I don't know. And I think it's a good question, but it's probably best directed towards the Department of Homeland Security.

Dr. Swann (ph)?

QUESTION: Thank you.

Is the White House going to keep its promise to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement? And our understanding is that there are some divisions of opinion. Rex Tillerson wants to stay in. Steve Bannon wants to get out. What's going on? Will you keep the promise? If not, why not?

SPICER: Yeah. I think that's something I'd be glad to follow up with you and everyone. I don't have anything on that right now. I'm aware of the discussion. So let me, if I can, I'll get back to you. Mike?

QUESTION: I have an unrelated question, but I also want to follow up on something that...

SPICER: Unrelated questions are my favorites.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: (inaudible) talked about the communications strategy. Will the president play a public role in selling this bill? Will he speak to the public about it? Will he answer questions about it?

SPICER: That's a good question. I think that we are going to have a very comprehensive strategy. As I mentioned just a few minutes from now, the president is going to engage with members of the House whip team to talk to them.

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I understand that, but -- but -- I know, and I understand that -- this is step one, Mike. There's a lot of time. As I mentioned, we expect to be dealing with this for the next several weeks. There will be plenty of opportunities for the president to speak about that, to engage with the public. But it's going to be a comprehensive plan that we will discuss. We had -- I can't even begin to tell you how many administration folks, members of Congress flooding the broadcast and radio airwaves today, both nationally and in local markets. We were very, very active throughout the country, getting out the word on what we're doing and why we're doing it, from national broadcast shows, to cable, to -- I mean, to radio.

We had a very, very aggressive start to this effort. We're working with the House in particular. We'll continue to start really engaging with the Senate. But this is going to be a comprehensive effort working with the House and the Senate to get this thing done, and other partners -- doctors and outside groups that share this concern.

As I mentioned earlier to one of the other folks that there is -- you know, there's a need by companies and corporations who are feeling the weight of additional costs, to join us in this effort. And I just want to -- you know, this is obviously something that needs to get dealt with.

The -- escalating costs are having a significant impact not just on our economy, but on the ability of people to get hired, or frankly, people who are hired lose their job because the cost of health care is not allowing especially people in the small- and medium-sized businesses to keep up with those costs.

With that, thank you guys very much. I look forward to seeing you...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... meeting tomorrow. (inaudible) is coming to meet with the president. SPICER: We'll have a readout for you...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Sean, I had that unrelated question, which was...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I'm sorry. That's not fair. Mike gets his unrelated question.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Will the Trump administration continue the Obama administration's practice of releasing publicly the visitor...

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: We're currently evaluating our procedures on that, and we'll have some -- when we have an announcement, I'll let you know. And April, I'll have a readout on our schedule for tomorrow later.

I will...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

SPICER: I -- I -- once it's confirmed, I will let you know first and then everybody else.

Thank you, guys. Have a great day.

[14:54:50]

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: OK, that wraps up what I think is fair to say was an epic Sean Spicer briefing. At the top, he had the HHS Secretary Tom Price.

We want to unpack a lot of what we heard here in the very first official White House briefing that we have had in a little more than a week.

With me now, hear on the panel, CNN senior political reporter, Nia- Malika Henderson; our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; and Jeff Mason, who is the White House correspondent for Reuters. And CNN's David Chalian, our political director, will be here in a moment.

Let's start with wiretapping. Because watching the kind of way that Sean Spicer had to turn himself into I don't know how many difficult forms of a pretzel, to answer without answering the real deal, which is that the president put him in a really, really tough situation, put everybody in a very tough position, by making the accusation he did at, whatever, 6:00 in the morning over the weekend, saying that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

I want to play for you one of the early exchange on this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[14:56:01] SPICER: Yeah, I addressed this multiple times yesterday. The president, we put out a statement surround saying we would have no further comment and asking the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to look into this concern and report back.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can't the president just ask the FBI director if it happened?

SPICER: Look, I think --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Has he asked him?

SPICER: No, the president has not. We've gone back and forth, you guys. I think there's clearly a role that Congress can make in its oversight capabilities. They made it very clear that they have the staff and resources and process. I think that's the appropriate place for this to be handled. If we started to get involved, you would write stories about how we're getting involved. So, it's a no-win situation. I think the smartest, most deliberate way to address the situation is ask the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, who are already in the process of looking into this, to look into this and other leaks of classified information.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you believe President Obama --

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I get that that's a key request question to ask. My job is to represent the president and to talk about what he's doing and what he wants. And he has made very clear what his goal is, what he would like to have happen. So I'll leave it at that. We've played this game before. I'm not here to speak for myself. I'm here to speak for the president of the United States and our government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Before I get to my panel, to talk about that, I want to bring in Jim Acosta, who was in the briefing room for this lengthy briefing.

I think the most-true statement, Jim, that you heard from Sean Spicer was that he's in a no-win situation. That is true.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESONDENT: Sure seems that way.

BASH: Yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: Fact check, true.

BASH: Exactly. Another fact check that maybe is not true, or is TBD is that when he said, no, the president hasn't asked the FBI for -- and the FBI director to sort of make this public, the answer was no. He, the president, does have the authority to do that, he just hasn't.

ACOSTA: He sure does. But Sean Spicer made the point that if the president were to intervene, were to get involved and ask the FBI direction or go to the director of National Intelligence or go to the FISA court or do whatever he might possibly be able to do through the powers of the presidency, then Sean Spicer was saying we, in the news media, their adversaries on Capitol Hill would accuse the president of improperly getting involved in an investigation. And to some extent, they do have a point on that.

But as you heard during the briefing, I tried to press Sean Spicer on this point, do they have any new information, new evidence, any proof of the president's accusation that President Obama bugged or wiretapped through some kind of action of the Justice Department at Trump Tower, and he had no new information, no proof to suggest that. And I asked whether the president regretted ever bringing up this accusation, and he said, no, he didn't. So they are very much where they were yesterday. This is, I think, going to start having a Groundhog-Day quality to it, Dana, where we're asking this question every day. This may explain why we haven't had a lot of on-camera briefings in the last week or so. This is the first one we've had in a week, although, he did take questions from reporters on-camera yesterday. Any time he walks out here, this question is very likely going to be asked.

Keep in mind, this happened at the very end of the briefing. The start of the briefing was the Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price advocating in many ways for the Republican health care plan that has been put forward up on Capitol Hill. Even saw the two props next to podium, where they were talking about the size of the Democratic bill that was passed and signed into law, AKA Obamacare, and the Republican proposal, trying to make the case that, in this case, smaller is better. But they tried to talk through that as much as possible. And only at the tail end of this briefing did we get into some of these Russia and wiretapping questions. And they are still standing firm, Dana, that the president did not make any mistakes, has no regrets, and they're hoping these congressional panels can investigate this.

BASH: All right, Jim Acosta, thank you so much for that.

I want to turn back to wiretapping with my panel here.

And David Chalian is now joining us.