In an aborted press conference that lasted only about twenty (20) minutes late this afternoon Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, said that Trump has been “extremely tough on Russia,”although she offered scant evidence of that. In fact, Sanders said that Trump has been a lot tougher on Russia than President Obama was during his eight (8) years in office. She cited examples: building up the military which is something that Putin does not like. She added that Trump has never denied that the Russians interfered in our most recent election.
When asked by reporters what steps Trump would take to penalize Russia following up on Special Prosecutor Mueller’s recent indictment of 13 Russians and 3 entities for interfering in the US election, Sanders said that Homeland Security had met with others to make “sure election interference doesn’t happen” again and that there have been meetings with allies on the subject.
When asked about the security clearance situation for Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, Sanders said that she could not comment on his security clearance, but that the valuable work he’s been doing for the President will not be affected and nothing will change. Kushner has access to top secret information despite the fact that he has only an interim security clearance because the FBI has not cleared him for a permanent security clearance. (Previously Chief of Staff John Kelly announced that an overhaul of the security clearance was underway and that no one in the White House is immune from the changes.)
The President will be meeting with students, parents and teachers at the White House to hear their recommendations on how to curtail these massive school shootings. She said that he will be receiving ideas and suggestions from a wide array of people, but when asked could not describe the specific process Trump will follow. At an award ceremony that started following the short press conference Trump said that he has written a memo to the Attorney General to propose a ban on “bump stocks” – that is converting legal guns into machine guns.
Sanders had not held a press conference for over a week and so much has happened during that time. Reporters had a long list of questions for her, but Sanders did not allow enough time in which to ask them. The White House press conference that ordinarily takes place around 1:00 pm was delayed twice – once until 2:00 and again 3:00 pm. Finally, it took place around 3:20 pm and ended at 3:40 pm – in time to watch Trump at the award ceremony make his comment about “bump stocks.”