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More Claim Harassment by Weinstein; Clinton On Weinstein Accusations; White House Press Briefing. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired October 10, 2017 - 14:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:16] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thank you for being with me.

I want to begin with a statement from Hillary Clinton now given in to mounting pressure and finally condemning a man who gave a significant amount of money to her campaign. A man who now stands accused of rape and sexual abuse, mega producer Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein.

Here's the statement from Mrs. Clinton. I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, the list of accusers continues to grow. Those two major names surfacing in this exclusive report by "The New York Times" claiming they too were harassed by Weinstein.

Not even 48 hours after Weinstein was fired by his own company, we are now hearing new bomb shell allegations of rape and more sex abuse. Several women coming forward with their allegations in this "New York Times" article. And also this explosive "New Yorker" piece, the journalist Ronan Farrow said he has spent ten months investigating, talking to women, three women, who claim the movie mogul forcibly performed or received oral sex and also forcing vaginal sex.

Here is just an excerpt of one of the chilling new tales of depravity. We'll play it for you in just a moment.

But first, let me begin with our senior media correspondent Brian Stelter on -- let's start with this "New Yorker" article and the fact that Ronan had been digging on this for ten or so months. All the while "The New York Times" piece drops on Friday. I mean reading through all 20 pages --

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

BALDWIN: It's -- it's a tough read, but it's a necessary read.

STELTER: It's describing this pervasive culture of harassment. And much worse than harassment, right inside the corridors of power in Hollywood. And as you read it, what you hear is a pattern -- what you see is a pattern of behavior going back decades by Harvey Weinstein.

He has denied a couple of the claims in the article, the rape claims in the article. But, let's remember, last week he admitted to improper behavior, said h was seeking help and asked for forgiveness. That was when "The New York Times" investigation came out last week.

So Ronan Farrow was working on this at the same time "The New York Times" was. And his story published a few hours ago. He describes three allegations of rape by three women, two of whom are named in the story. I spoke with one of those woman, Asia Argento, a little while ago. She confirmed the account. She said this is our truth and it needs to be shared with the world.

So this article coming out. And now in "The New York Times," two more women, two a-list Hollywood actresses saying they too were victims of Weinsteins.

BALDWIN: So let's pause because, as you get through this "New Yorker" piece and all these different women are telling their stories to Ronan Farrow, you can actually listen to the audio.

STELTER: Yes.

BALDWIN: And we'll talk on the other side. But this was all part of a -- police were involved after this young woman detailed his attempts to sexually harass her. She calls --

STELTER: And grope her, yes.

BALDWIN: And -- exactly. And grope her. And so she calls up essentially the victims crime unit, wears a wire. This is the conversation. The man's voice is that of Harvey Weinstein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARVEY WEINSTEIN: I'm telling you right now, get in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we have to do here?

WEINSTEIN: Nothing! I'm going to take a shower. You sit there and have a drink.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't drink. Can I stay on the bar?

WEINSTEIN: Then have a glass of water. No. you must come here now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

WEINSTEIN: Please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't want to.

WEINSTEIN: I'm not doing anything with you, I promise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. I don't want to. I'm sorry.

WEINSTEIN: Now you're embarrassing me. And I'm --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know.

WEINSTEIN: No, come in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, yesterday was kind of aggressive for me.

WEINSTEIN: I know --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to know a person to be touched.

WEINSTEIN: I won't do a thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to be touched.

WEINSTEIN: I won't do a thing, please. I swear, I won't. Just sit with me. Don't embarrass me in the hotel. I'm here all the time. Just sit with me. I promise --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, but I don't want to.

WEINSTEIN: Please sit there. Please. One minute. I ask you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I can't.

WEINSTEIN: Just go to the bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, I don't want to do something I don't want to.

WEINSTEIN: Go to the bath -- hey, come here. Listen to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go downstairs.

WEINSTEIN: I'm not going to do anything. You'll never see me again after this, OK? That's it. If you don't -- if you embarrass me in this hotel, where I'm staying at --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not embarrassing you. It's just that I don't -- I don't feel comfortable.

WEINSTEIN: Just walk -- honey, don't have a fight with me in the hallway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not nothing, it's --

WEINSTEIN: Please, I'm not going to do anything. I swear on my children. Please, come in. On everything. I'm a famous guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm, I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.

WEINSTEIN: Please come in now. And one minute. And if you want to leave when the guy comes with my jacket, you can go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

WEINSTEIN: Oh, please, I'm sorry, just come on in. I'm used to that. Come on. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But -- you're used to that?

WEINSTEIN: Yes, come in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, but I'm not used to that.

WEINSTEIN: I won't do it again. Come on. Sit here. Sit here for a minute, please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't want to.

WEINSTEIN: If you do this now, you will (INAUDIBLE). Never call me again. OK? I'm sorry, nice to have -- I promise you, I won't do anything (INAUDIBLE).

[14:05:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, but yesterday was too much for me.

WEINSTEIN: The guy is coming and I will never do another thing to you. Five minutes. Don't ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's -- I know, but it's kind of like -- it's too much for me. I can't.

WEINSTEIN: Please, you're making a big scene here. Please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, but I want to leave.

WEINSTEIN: OK. Bye. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And to hear it in his own words. And when you read this "New Yorker" piece, it's like these same sort of themes of finding a younger, you know, a younger woman who wants to shine. He's this mega Hollywood producer.

STELTER: Yes.

BALDWIN: It's manipulation in addition to this alleged harassment.

STELTER: This tape sounds like predator and prey. And it doesn't sound like a man who's just doing this for the first time, does it?

You know, there's a lot we don't know here, but this does not sound like an amateur Harvey Weinstein who's just doing this for the first time in his life. This is 2015. And the first known settlement to an accuser is back in 1990. So we're talking about a pattern over the course of decades.

And he has admitted to some of this wrongdoing and apologized for it, while denying other claims. The bottom line is, now he's on tape. This tape existed two years ago but it hadn't been heard until today thanks to "The New Yorker."

BALDWIN: Why were no charges pressed in that case?

STELTER: That is the outstanding question. So this tape was handed over to the district attorney here in Manhattan. The NYPD says that was their responsibility. They handed off to the D.A. And after a thorough investigation apparently the D.A. declined to prosecute.

Why did they decline to prosecute? Well, it might be that they didn't believe the woman was credible enough to move forward with this. The woman had had a history in Italy that perhaps the D.A.'s office was concerned about. Or maybe it was because the D.A. was afraid to go up against Harvey Weinstein. And that's going to be the question for Cy Vance's office now. Why is it that Harvey Weinstein was not pursued in this case?

He got a little bit of publicity back in 2015 when these allegations came out, but he was never arrested or charged. This was able to go away. And is that because he is so powerful, or should I say was so powerful --

BALDWIN: Was, correct (ph).

STELTER: That it was able to be covered up?

Now, Harvey Weinstein, until last week, had the ability to make or break careers. And that's ultimately what this is about, right, the power imbalance.

BALDWIN: It's the power. It's the power.

STELTER: And you hear about the power imbalance right there on that tape when he is practically begging this woman to come up to his room one day after she says that he groped her.

BALDWIN: Honey, the embarrassment, all the language -- the language that he used. And as I was talking to you, I just got a piece of information in my ear that the NYPD is telling CNN that they are not -- I repeat not currently investigating Harvey Weinstein. An interesting other note.

STELTER: Yes. Notable.

BALDWIN: Thank you. An interesting other note from "The New Yorker Piece" that I know we've got Nia Malika Henderson who can weigh in, in just a second. But to you, where apparently, according to one of these women, he mentions Bill Cosby.

STELTER: Ys.

BALDWIN: And he's essentially boasting, well, I'm not Bill Cosby. The inference being, well, I'm not drugging you --

STELTER: Right.

BALDWIN: To harass and molest you.

STELTER: Yes. BALDWIN: What? What?

STELTER: As if he's learned from these past scandals and tried to claim that he's the better man. The hypocrisy is suffering in this story. And when you read Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie in the past few minutes coming forward saying they too were the victims of unwanted advances from Harvey Weinstein -- I've tried to call his office, tried to call his publicist, seen if they have any reaction to these new claims, but you see Angelina Jolie here saying she tried to warn her friends in the industry about his behavior. We see Gwyneth Paltrow saying she was petrified by his behavior. That was in the mid- 1990s. That was 20 years ago. And only now, in 2017, does the world know.

BALDWIN: All right, so -- so many tentacles of this story. One, of course, being the political, right? And it's been the -- well, this is a man who has given oodles of money to Democrats over the year, and especially to really dynasties, you know, or major political families, the Clintons, and the Obamas.

And so, Nia Malika Henderson, let me just bring you in, because, again, we have now finally got this statement from Hillary Clinton. Because, up until now, really since this story broke in "The Times" on Friday, the silence has been deafening.

NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It has been. And five days after this story broke in "The Times" and Harvey Weinstein responded to it. She is finally coming out and saying that she's appalled by this and shocked as well. Essentially saying I think that she didn't -- she didn't know about it. And there's no reason to believe that Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, who aren't, you know, every day in sort of Hollywood circles, certainly during their political careers, necessarily knew about it.

But they certainly benefited from Harvey Weinstein's generosity. I think Hillary Clinton's campaign something like $1.4 million. He was a bundler for the campaign, meaning he's getting money from, you know, from other sources to give to these campaigns.

And so you wonder, you have had some Democrats give money back and donate it to women's organizations, and you wonder if that's the next step for Hillary Clinton. In her very short statement so far, there was no indication that they're necessarily giving any of this money back or giving it to women's organizations. We'll see.

[14:10:10] And you imagine that there will be increasing pressure on the Clintons, on other Democrats, perhaps as well as on Barack Obama, for Barack Obama maybe to make a statement. Harvey Weinstein, I believe, at some point, Michelle Obama has said laudatory things about him as well. Again, no indication that any of these people had any reason to know what his past was and some of these allegations of it had been lodged against him.

But it's also true that Democrats, and particularly in 2016, if you look at the campaign that they waged against Donald Trump, all about women, all about criticizing, and very rightfully so, criticizing Donald Trump for that "Access Hollywood" tape --

BALDWIN: Right.

HENDERSON: And some of the allegations made against him that came from some women.

So I think you're going to see stepped up pressure. We'll see if there's any more out of Hillary Clinton in terms of giving donations back or from Obama. And if -- what happens with Hollywood as well, right? I mean it's notable that the women who were coming out now are established, right? They, in some ways, don't have anything to fear at this point from Harvey Weinstein. And you wonder, if you look at Hollywood, are there others? Is it still going on?

BALDWIN: How many others are left?

HENDERSON: How many others? Young women, 20, you know, are in -- trying to get their foothold in Hollywood. And in other careers too.

I mean let's not pretend that this is just Hollywood, right?

STELTER: Yes.

HENDERSON: This is a systemic problem that women face in the workplace. And we've had a series of high profile men on the other end of this. And you can imagine, it's only the tip of the iceberg.

BALDWIN: At least some high profile men -- we should also give George Clooney, Ben Affleck and others the credit for standing up. But it's extraordinary. On paper, I mean, this is a man who propped up and supported women who went on to win Oscars. This is a man who gave thousands of dollars to a woman he was hoping to be the president. This is a man who was at the women's march and a man who produced "The Hunting Ground" --

HENDERSON: Yes.

BALDWIN: Which brought into the forefront the problem of sexual harassment on campus. But the reality appears to be much different.

Nia, thank you for that.

HENDERSON: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Brian Stelter, we'll talk again much more on this.

Also just a heads up to all of you. Any moment now the White House press briefing set to begin where there will be a number of other hot topics, including President Trump challenging his secretary of state to an I.Q. test. By the way, the president says he'll win. We'll bring that to you live.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: To the White House we go.

[14:14:57] SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Good afternoon.

QUESTION: Good afternoon.

SANDERS: I hope everybody had a nice Columbus Day; take a little break. I'm sure you missed me.

Let me start by saying that our hearts go out to the people of California who are enduring the wildfires taking place now. The loss of homes and burning of precious land is heartbreaking, but the loss of life is truly devastating.

Last night, the president spoke with Governor Jerry Brown, and today he approved an expedited major disaster declaration for California, along with Fire Management Assistance Grants.

The administration is working closely with state and local officials to ensure the people of California are receiving the support they need.

Staying on the disaster relief front, I'd like to share some positive news from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands today.

School resumed in the U.S. Virgin Islands this week. Seven schools opened today, powered by generators and 11 more are scheduled to open next week.

Additionally, in Puerto Rico, FEMA is hosting a jobs fair to hire 1,200 Puerto Ricans to help with the relief efforts and boost the local economy.

The road to recovery is long and there is so much work left to do, but the resilience of the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands continues to inspire us all. We will be with them throughout this entire process, and we are confident they will come back stronger than ever before.

Over the weekend we released the president's three primary immigration policy objectives, which should be included in any immigration legislation Congress considers. The president has presented common- sense immigration reforms with broad bipartisan support that finally puts hardworking Americans first.

According to a recent poll, over 70 percent of the American people support more ICE officers and strengthening penalties against illegal immigrants who are repeat violators of our laws. Two in three Americans implement (sic) a merit-based immigration system that looks out for working-class Americans, ideas that even Bernie Sanders has supported in the past. The president's priorities also include a southern border wall, like what the Democrats voted for in the 2006 Secure Fences Act.

These are not radical proposals. Many have gotten bipartisan support in the past. The Trump administration is ready to work with Congress to achieve these policy objectives, and to ensure safe and lawful admissions, defend the safety and security of our country, and protect American workers and taxpayers.

Today, the first lady flew to West Virginia to visit Lily's Place, the nation's first non-profit infant recovery center that also provides services to parents and families dealing with addiction. Lily's House treats infants for neo-natal abstinence syndrome, which occurs when a baby withdraws from drugs he or she was exposed to in the womb before birth.

According to the Government Accountability Office, an American baby is born with NAS every 25 minutes and 40 percent of babies born addicted to opioids go into the foster system.

Each situation is a tragedy and the first lady is doing incredible work to raise awareness about this important issue.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, the president will continue his push to provide tax relief to hardworking Americans. He will be travelling to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to deliver remarks.

In attendance at the event will be hundreds of truckers. They keep our economy moving, literally, and they are excited about the president's tax reform plan, which will create more jobs, and empower workers and families to keep more of their hard-earned money.

Before I take your questions, I'd like to offer an invitation to all of the White House press corps to bring -- on behalf of the president and first lady and the administration, to bring your children to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on October 27th, to celebrate Halloween, where there will be lots of fun and, I'm sure, lots of candy, so we can sugar your kids up and send them back home to you.

(LAUGHTER)

And with that, I'll take your questions.

QUESTION: Sarah, over the weekend, the president said that he wished that his secretary of state was a little tougher, and now today, he is suggesting that Secretary Tillerson has a lower I.Q. than he does.

So my question is, why would the president want somebody who he thinks is neither tough nor particularly smart as his secretary of state?

SANDERS: The president certainly never implied that the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent. He made a joke, nothing more than that.

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: He has full confidence -- he has full confidence in the secretary of state. They had a great visit earlier today and they're working hand-in-hand to move the president's agenda forward.

Matthew?

QUESTION: Thanks, Sarah.

Over the weekend Senator Bob Corker called the White House an adult daycare center, said the president could lead the country into World War III, and said that, quote, "He concerns me. He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation."

What can you tell us about the internal reaction to such a senior Republican making comments like that? And is there concern that other top Republicans could make similar comments?

SANDERS: Look, Senator Corker is certainly entitled to his own opinion but he's not entitled to his own facts.

The fact is, this president has been an incredibly strong leader on foreign policy and national security -- and he's been a leader on this front. And I think that's been seen and demonstrated time and time again since he took office.

And a few examples: Over 20 nations to significantly reduce economic and diplomatic ties with North Korea, further isolating them. He's gotten China and Russia to sign on to the toughest U.N. sanctions against North Korea ever. His new strategy is destroying ISIS. We have tremendous battlefield gains throughout Iraq and Syria. With Europe, he's gotten more NATO allies to pay their fair share and he's strengthening that alliance. We're also exporting energy, like coal and natural gas, to Eastern Europe.

His vision of principled realism is creating calm around the world and defeating our enemies.

Again, Senator Corker may have an opinion, but the facts certainly don't lie: The president's been very successful on this front.

John (ph)?

QUESTION: Sarah, two questions for you, if I could. First of all, going into the weekend the president sent his principles for the DREAMers legislation up to Capitol Hill. Included in it was a provision for building the wall. The president had earlier said that he would do the wall at a later time; do the DREAMers first, push some security measures, and then do the wall later.

Did he change the goalposts (inaudible)?

SANDERS: No. The president's simply stating his priorities for what responsible immigration reform should look like and that includes those three big priorities. That's what he's promised Congress he would lay out; that's exactly what he did. And I don't think we've been inconsistent on that front and certainly not unclear. The president has talked about his priorities repeatedly, and in this case over the weekend laid them out in a very detailed fashion.

QUESTION: Is he insistent that the wall be part of any DACA legislation? SANDERS: Look, I'm not going to stand up here and negotiate from the podium with you guys. That's something for the president and Congress to work out.

But we're laying out our priorities. That's exactly what we put in that document. And we're going to work with Congress to try to get the most responsible immigration reform package that we can.

QUESTION: And question two, speaking of goalposts...

SANDERS: That was, like, three questions already.

QUESTION: That was a question, follow-up, question two.

SANDERS: Good thing he's a reporter and not a math teacher.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: I was horrible at math.

NFL Commissioner Goodell sent a letter to owners and chief executives of all of the NFL teams saying, "Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem. It's an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country and our fans expect that of us." He's have a meeting next week to discuss all of this.

Given the position of the league, as articulated there by Commissioner Goodell, what's the White House reaction to what it looks like the NFL is going to do going forward?

SANDERS: I think we would certainly support the NFL coming out and asking players to stand, just as the president has done. We support the national anthem, the flag and the men and women who fought to defend it, and our position hasn't changed on that front. We're glad to see the NFL taking positive steps in that direction. (CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: I have two, but I promise there are really just two.

The first is, I wanted to ask about something the president said earlier in the Oval about tax reform.

He suggested that there'd be adjustments to strengthen the tax framework. And obviously, we know that lawmakers need to fill it out, but by saying, you know, "adjustment," that suggests (inaudible). So, I'm wondering if there are going to be changes to that framework, and if so if it might be things like modifying the state or local deductions or changing the pass-through for business (inaudible) that we've heard kind of floating out there?

SANDERS: We don't have any adjustments to make to the framework at this time. I think our, kind of, key principles that we've laid out remain the same and no changes to announce today.

Francesca?

QUESTION: Thank you, Sarah.

Two of the president's allies have suggested that Senator Corker resign. Does the president think that Senator Corker should resign?

SANDERS: I think that's a decision for Senator Corker and the people of Tennessee, not for us to decide...

QUESTION: And a -- a follow-up on -- on the Senator Corker question.

The president also said this weekend that Senator Corker was largely responsible for the Iran deal, which the president has hinted that he wants to renegotiate. That was a deal that was negotiated by Barack Obama's administration. Why does the president think that that was largely Bob Corker's fault?

SANDERS: Senator Corker worked with Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration to pave the way for that legislation and basically rolled out the red carpet for the Iran deal. And those are pretty factual.

John (ph)?

QUESTION: Thanks, Sarah.

Over the last few months, the president has criticized a number of senior Republicans, sometimes in very personal terms: Senator Murkowski, Senator Flake, Leader McConnell, most recently Senator Bob Corker. What do you say to critics who say that the president is alienating himself from Republicans that he will need to move his legislation forward? SANDERS: I don't think he's alienated anyone.

I think that Congress is alienated themselves by not actually getting the job done that the people of this country elected them to do.

They all promised and campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare. They haven't done that. They've campaigned on tax reform; hopefully we see that happen. We're certainly committed to that and think we'll get there.

But time and time again, Congress has made promises and failed to deliver. If anyone's being alienated, it's people that are promising things and not delivering on them.

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: Jessica (ph)?

QUESTION: One more, Sarah. On -- on the Iranian nuclear...

SANDERS: I'm going to skip around so I can try to get to more people.

Jessica (ph)?

QUESTION: (inaudible) on Iran, you talked last week about the fact that you planned to roll out a comprehensive plan on Iran. And we also know the president's feelings on decertification. But what I'm not clear on is how you see the connection.

How does decertifying Iran nuclear deal lead to an opportunity to negotiate on all of these other issues that you have with Iran, like exporting terrorism and cyber crimes, et cetera?

SANDERS: I'm not going to get ahead of the president's announcement on this. But he'll make that later this week. And you can -- we'll be happy to take more of those questions after that announcement is made.

(inaudible)?

QUESTION: Sarah, in a tweet this morning, the president referred to Liddle -- L-I-D-D-L-E-- Bob Corker again. I'm wondering, if the White House continues to work -- or continues to plan to work with Senator Corker's team to amend the law that gives oversight to the Iran accord that you've already said you don't like. Are you working with him to change that law? Are you still willing to?

SANDERS: We're certainly still willing to work with anybody that wants to come and actually put forth real solutions and be part of those solutions and not part of the problem.

(inaudible)?

QUESTION: But specifically on Iran, you are? SANDERS: Again, we'll be happy to work with all parties on, you know, bettering the American people. And if he wants to be part of that, we'd certainly be happy to talk about it.

(inaudible)?

QUESTION: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just issued a statement condemning the reported behavior of one of her prominent Hollywood donors, Harvey Weinstein. The president also said he wasn't surprised by the news. He said that he had known Harvey Weinstein for some time.

My question is, does the president have a reaction to Clinton's statement?

And secondly, does he have his own reaction? How much did he know about Harvey Weinstein's behavior? And what's his response today?

SANDERS: I don't know if he's seen the Secretary Clinton statement. So, I haven't had a chance to talk to him about that, so I wouldn't want to weigh in on what his reaction might be on that front.

QUESTION: What about his response -- he said that he had known him for a long time -- known Weinstein for a long time?

SANDERS: I think that statement speaks for itself. There's nothing to add.

Olivier?

QUESTION: Thanks, Sarah.

I know he's going to announce it later this week, but has the president reached a decision on whether to recertify Iran or not?

SANDERS: The president's reached a decision on an overall Iran strategy. He wants to make sure that we have a broad policy to deal with that; not just one part of it, as I said last week, to deal with all of the problems of Iran being a bad actor.

Beyond that, I don't have anything to add today.

QUESTION: Would he like to see Congress do away with the 90-day recurring certification?

SANDERS: I'll let the president speak to that later this week.

QUESTION: What does the president intend to do with his executive order on health care reform?

And secondly, the president when he was rescinding DACA said that one of the reasons he was doing that was because it was inappropriate for the Obama administration to do with executive order what couldn't get done with legislation. Why the difference when it comes to health care?

SANDERS: Look, I think that the American people have demanded something happen. They have elected a number of different people to Congress to deal specifically with this issue. You can see that reflected in the number of people that campaigned on that and later went on to win office.

And due to Congress failing to act, it's no surprise that the president is going to try to take action to provide flexibility and relief to the many Americans who continue to suffer under Obamacare. I think that's a positive step forward. We'll have more details...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: And what exactly is this E.O. going to do? What is he going to try to do to try to improve?

We've gotten some generalities from the president, but not a lot of specifics about what he can do with executive orders and why it might be effective when it comes to lowering costs. Again, the promises were pretty high, we heard. You know, we're going to cover people and...

SANDERS: Again, to take action as much as we can to help provide that flexibility and that relief. That's what the president's going to do. He's going to make an announcement on that later this week. And we'll see that, again, by the end of Friday.

John?

QUESTION: Yes, thank you, Sarah.

Two questions.

The president said that Senator Corker asked to be secretary of state when they met privately before he took office. That is almost historically unknown that someone would actually ask for a Cabinet position in a meeting with the president, at least in the 21st or 20th centuries.

Does he stand by that statement completely that the senator asked to be named to the position of secretary of state?

[14:30:04] SANDERS: I haven't talked to him specifically about that, but I would certainly imagine the president whole heartedly stands by his statement on that.