LIVE STREAM: White House press briefing with Sean Spicer (6/6/2017)
Sean Spicer to deliver daily press briefing around 2 p.m.
WASHINGTON – The daily White House press briefing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday with press secretary Sean Spicer.
Spicer returns after Sarah Huckabee Sanders provided the briefing on Monday.
You can watch the press briefing here on ClickOnDetroit.com at 2 p.m.
Here's what's going on in Washington today:
White House tries to regroup, but Trump isn't helping
In its effort to regain control of its message, the White House has curtailed press briefings, redirected questions on the Russia investigation to an outside lawyer and planned a major infrastructure policy rollout for this week.
But as long as President Donald Trump has a smartphone, no White House strategy is safe.
Trump insisted on Tuesday that his phone is a direct link to the American people, and criticism by the mainstream media is an attempt to stifle his message.
"The FAKE MSM is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media," he wrote on Twitter. "They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out."
Trump also makes this point: "Sorry folks, but if I would have relied on the Fake News of CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, washpost or nytimes, I would have had ZERO chance winning WH."
The sun was still rising Monday when Trump upended best-laid plans with a blitz of provocative statements delivered via Twitter. He assailed his own Justice Department for its legal strategy to defend his travel ban, potentially creating new headaches as his administration seeks the Supreme Court's backing for the order.
And he renewed his criticism of the mayor of London, a city recovering from a weekend vehicle-and-knife attack that left seven people dead.
"To the extent that there is a process for making decisions and communicating them, he seems to ignore it more often than not," Alex Conant, a top adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential bid, said of the president.
Indeed, the president's free-wheeling, undisciplined style has made it nearly impossible for the White House to regroup after weeks of damaging reports about possible ties between his campaign and Russia, as well as a steady drumbeat of speculation about internal conflict and disarray. The struggle will come to a head Thursday when fired FBI Director James Comey is due to testify on Capitol Hill.
Efforts to create a "war room" stocked with former campaign officials and top-flight lawyers now appear stalled.
Three people briefed on the matter said the process has been bogged down by a lack of decision-making in the West Wing over how to proceed, as well as reluctance from some of those the White House hoped to recruit about serving a president who keeps getting in his own way.
"Anybody with press chops looks at this and they're fearful there's not a path to succeed," said Sara Fagen, former White House political director for George W. Bush.
Even George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, appeared to give voice to the frustrations Monday. Mimicking a favorite Trump expression, Conway wrote on Twitter that the president's comment on the travel ban won't help the administration get votes in the Supreme Court, "which is what actually matters. Sad."
Conway confirmed to The Associated Press that the tweet was authentic. His comments came days after he announced he was withdrawing from consideration for a top Justice Department post.
His wife took a different approach. During a Monday morning appearance on the Today Show, Kellyanne Conway condemned the media's "obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president."
Trump supporters have long touted his unfiltered tweets and other communications as an unparalleled advantage. Yet some allies are now urging caution given the legal questions shadowing the White House.
"My personal view is that there should be a review process because of the sensitivity of so many of them," said Chris Ruddy, a longtime friend of Trump and CEO of the conservative outlet Newsmax.
White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that she was not aware of the president's tweets being vetted by lawyers before being blasted out to the world.
White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short, meanwhile, insisted the president's efforts were "often very effective" and said Trump was elected because voters were hungry for a non-conformist candidate who would change the culture in Washington.
"And so he may not have a conventional style in doing that, but many of his efforts are extremely helpful to us in getting our legislation accomplished," Short said.
As part of the White House's efforts to recalibrate, Sanders is taking on a more visible role at daily briefings instead of press secretary Sean Spicer, who has gained national celebrity for his often combative interactions with reporters. While Spicer did appear in the briefing room last week, his appearances were brief, including a 12-minute question-and-answer session that the White House would not allow to be aired on television.
On Monday, Sanders took the podium and appeared to acknowledge for the first time that Spicer would be a less frequent on-camera presence for the White House.
"He is taking on a little bit of extra duty at this point," she said. "There are a lot of demands on his schedule, particularly given the fact that there's not a communications director."
Mike Dubke resigned as communications director last month and served his final day in the White House on Friday. He has not yet been replaced.
The White House has made a conscious decision to avoid answering questions about the Russia probes, referring inquiries to Marc Kasowitz, the president's outside counsel. Kasowitz has so far had no comment on the investigations, leaving those questions unanswered.
A trio of top White House officials -- chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner -- had been making plans to create an in-house "war room" to respond to the flood of revelations related to the FBI and congressional investigations. Both Corey Lewandowki, Trump's former campaign manager, and David Bossie, another former Trump campaign hand, had been under consideration, but it appears increasingly unlikely either plan to formally join the administration.
The cloud of investigation -- the very thing a White House war room would be set up to handle -- has put even some of Trump's backers and potential defenders in an uncomfortable position. One active supporter of the president said that while he was willing to defend Trump in public against allegations from Comey or Democrats, he was less comfortable weighing in on specific claims about Kushner's interactions with Russian officials.
The supporter, as well as those briefed on the White House's Russia response efforts, insisted on anonymity in order to disclose private deliberations.
Survey: Top CEOs still back some of Trump's major policies
Leading U.S. CEOs remain supportive of some of President Donald Trump's key policies despite his still-hazy plan for cutting taxes and recent actions by Trump that have intensified attention on an FBI investigation into his campaign.
The Business Roundtable, a trade association for CEOs, says the executives' economic outlook has reached its highest level in three years.
The association found in its survey of CEOs that plans for capital investment rose 4.6 percentage points since the first quarter, while sales expectations increased 0.5 percentage point.
Still, the executives' plans to hire over the next six months slipped.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase and chairman of the roundtable, suggested that the results reflect confidence in prospects for overhauling taxes and the administration's "commitment to creating a more favorable regulatory environment."
US companies post record number of open jobs in April
U.S. employers advertised the most open jobs in April in 16 years, yet hiring fell and fewer people quit work.
The figures suggest that businesses are struggling to find qualified employees as the unemployment rate declines.
Job openings rose 4.5 percent in April to more than 6 million, the most since December 2000, when the Labor Department first began tracking the data. Meanwhile, hiring fell 4.8 percent to just over 5 million.
The data is a sign the economy is nearing "full employment," when nearly all those who want a job have one and the unemployment rate mostly reflects the temporary churn of people who are temporarily out of work.
Typically, when unemployment falls that low, companies are forced to offer more pay, but that hasn't yet happened.
Trump sons defend his criticism of London mayor
President Donald Trump's sons are defending their father's attack against London's mayor over his handling of the recent extremist attack.
In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," Donald Trump Jr. said London's Mayor Sadiq Khan "should do something to fix the problem rather than just sit there and pretend there isn't one."
Trump's middle son, Eric Trump said, "This has become the new norm. And it's not right. And we, as a society, especially as Americans, better do something about it."
Trump criticized Khan on Twitter Monday for his handling of the attack, calling his efforts to calm the public a "pathetic excuse."
A spokesman said the mayor is focused on "working with the police, the emergency services and the government to keep London safe."
Trump infrastructure push faces cold shoulder from Congress
Repairing the nation's crumbling roads and bridges was supposed to be an area ripe for bipartisan compromise between congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump. Instead, Democrats are panning Trump's proposed $1 trillion overhaul and even Republicans are balking at some aspects of the emerging plan.
The White House's self-proclaimed "Infrastructure Week" began with Trump appearing Monday with aviation officials and some prominent GOP lawmakers to announce plans to privatize the nation's air traffic control system and separate operations from the Federal Aviation Administration.
"We live in a modern age yet our air traffic control system is stuck, painfully, in the past," Trump said, noting the FAA had been working to upgrade the system for years.
But the proposal quickly drew bipartisan opposition, and there were few signs it would get far on Capitol Hill. "All but our largest airports nationwide stand to be hurt by this proposal," said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas.
Next up will be a series of events throughout the week, including some with the nation's mayors and governors, that will allow Trump to highlight his effort to muster public and private funding to overhaul the highway, waterway, electrical and airway systems on which the nation depends. The president plans to travel to Ohio on Wednesday to address ways of improving levees, dams and locks along inland waterways that are crucial to agricultural exports.
The details of the plans must still be fleshed out. According to Trump's budget proposal, the funding would come from $200 billion in tax breaks over nine years that would then -- in theory -- leverage $1 trillion worth of construction.
But although the goal of upgrading crucial infrastructure has broad support, Democrats do not like Trump's plan for paying for it, arguing that his approach would result in taxpayer-funded corporate profits at the expense of investments in rural areas where money-making opportunities are scarce.
"A private-sector-driven infrastructure plan means tolls, tolls, tolls -- paid by average, working Americans," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. "It also means that infrastructure that can't be built with tolls, like repairing our crumbling schools, for instance, will likely get left behind."
Schumer struck a far different tone in the days immediately after Trump's election, when he told The Associated Press that infrastructure investment was an area where Trump appeared more aligned with Democrats than with Republicans. Indeed, Schumer said that he'd spoken with Trump, offering his own support for a large infrastructure package but warning that conservative Republicans were unlikely to go along.
Conservative opposition remains a potential roadblock to Trump's infrastructure plans. Nonetheless, the White House appears to be making little effort to round up bipartisan support on the issue. Trump is holding a series of meetings Tuesday with members of Congress, but they're all Republicans. And Schumer's spokesman, Matt House, said the White House never responded after Democrats presented their own infrastructure blueprint in January and shared it with the administration.
Instead of involving the private sector, Democrats' preferred method is to simply add $1 trillion to the deficit to pay for a range of infrastructure projects they claimed would create 15 million jobs over 10 years.
Still, the White House legislative affairs director, Marc Short, told reporters in a briefing Monday night that the goal remained to get Democratic support for the infrastructure package.
"Infrastructure, the president's said all along he believes to be a bipartisan exercise and it's one that we will be looking to partner with them on," Short said.
The White House and Republicans are already proceeding on a partisan basis with their other two big legislative projects, health care and taxes, with uncertain chances for success on both. Chances for infrastructure legislation may be dim, too, given the poisonous atmosphere in Washington as an undisciplined president courts controversy over Twitter and an angry liberal base goads Democratic lawmakers to battle him at every turn. The investigation into Russian election meddling and ties with Trump's campaign hang over everything.
"This is not what he campaigned on and I think his voters are going to figure that out, sooner rather than later," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
DHS chief defends Jared Kushner before Congress
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is defending top White House adviser Jared Kushner amid reports that Kushner attempted to establish a "back-channel" communication between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential transition team.
Under Democratic questioning, Kelly said "we have to make the assumption -- and I will -- that Jared Kushner is a great American." He said back-channel talks have been common in U.S. diplomacy.
Still, Kelly noted the matter is under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Kelly told Montana Sen. Jon Tester that "It's part of the Bob Mueller investigation," and the subject of congressional probes.
Tester said he believes the conduct of the president's son-in-law is "unacceptable" and asked Kelly "to find out what the hell is going on."
Trump chooses regional banker as key regulator of US banks
President Donald Trump has chosen a regional banker as his nominee for a key government position in bank regulation.
Trump has chosen Joseph Otting as comptroller of the currency, heading a Treasury Department agency that is the chief overseer for federally chartered banks. If confirmed by the Senate, Otting will play a role in the Trump administration's efforts to ease rules written under the Dodd-Frank law that stiffened financial regulation after the 2008-09 crisis.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency charters and supervises national banks and savings and loans.
Otting was CEO from 2010 to 2015 of OneWest Bank, where he worked with then-chairman Steven Mnuchin, who is now Treasury secretary. Democratic lawmakers have accused Mnuchin of running a "foreclosure machine" at OneWest.
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