Gaggle with Sarah Sanders on AF1 en route to JBA:
Sanders: "Tomorrow, a quick preview. I know he's got a big speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition event midday, with multiple meetings taking place with state and local government officials in the afternoon, primary focusing again on infrastructure."
On Comey testimony that was just made public:
"I'm not aware if he's had a chance to review any of the specific details of that testimony. I did find the timing of the release a little bit interesting, directly after testimony from...hearing earlier today."
Q: does the White House dispute anything in the Comey testimony?
"Again, I think they're reviewing that now. Keeping us posted. It was just released a few minutes ago."
Q: When you said earlier that your raised your eyebrows at the timing of the release, why was that?
"I just thought it was interesting after the testimony from this morning."
Q: Can you say the president still stands by his statement that he did not ask Comey for his loyalty and he did not ask for him to drop the investigation?
"I can't imagine the president not standing by his own statement but for questions specific to Director Comey I would have to refer you to" the president's outside counsel.
Q: Does he president plan on live tweeting the Comey hearing?
"I'm not aware of any specific plans for that but I do know the president does have a full day tomorrow."
Q: Has the president asked his outside counsel to respond to these questions because he's not responding?
"I would have to check. I'm not aware of specific conversations that the president has passed on."
Q: Did President Trump ask Director of National Intelligence Coats to speak with Comey?
"I believe they addressed that in their testimony today."
Q: Was there any conversation about the White House invoking executive privilege with the Coats or Rogers testimony today?
"In today's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing which was supposed to address section 702 of FISA, (DNI) director Coats and (NSA) Director Rogers were asked unrelated and off topic questions about conversations they had with the president. In response, they indicated that they needed to consult with the White House before they could discuss these issues. It's well established that significant confidentiality interests attach to conversations between the president and his advisors particularly conversations on matters related to intelligence and national security. And as a result it's standard practice for executive branch (unintelligible). And in addition the White House has not yet received any follow up request regarding Director Coats and Director Rogers testimonies. And if it receives one, I think it's best to work with the committee to accommodate the request to the fullest extent possible consistent with these interests."
Q: Did President Trump speak with Christopher Wray about the Russia investigation?
"I'm not aware of that. I don't know."
Q: When was White House communications team made aware that the president was announcing his FBI pick today?
Sanders: "We were made [aware] at the appropriate time in order to do our jobs."
Q: What's the appropriate time?
Sanders: "When the president lets you know."
Sanders did not respond when asked if she found out on Twitter, instead moving on to nest question.
Q: Tell us how the decision was made and what went into the rollout?
Sanders: I know the president made the decision not too long after meeting with Wray and really was impressed with him across the board, in particular the bipartisan support he felt that he would get.
Q: When was last meeting with Wray?
Sanders: "I'm not sure when the last meeting was, but I know they met for the first time several days — it's been a pretty good amount of time ago."
Q: Does president have confidence in Jeff Sessions?
Sanders: "I haven't had a chance to have an extensive conversation with him today but I certainly plan to ask him that."
Q: Can you talk about the relationship between them now?
Sanders: "I'm not aware of a conversation where that took place, but, you know, I don't have anything specifically to add. The moments I've had have been positive, so it's beyond my personal experience since I haven't had a chance to have a conversation with the president."
Q: Did the president consult with Sessions about pick of Wray for FBI director?
Sanders: "I don't know about the final decision but I do know that Christopher Wray met with the Department of Justice and they vetted and referred us candidates, including Wray, to the president."
Q: On Iran attacks, Iran blaming Saudis, ISIS taking credit, Saudis at odds with Qatar, any concern Middle East spinning out of control and what is administration doing to calm things down?
Sanders: "We are continuing to talk to multiple members in the region. We'll continue to do that and monitor it. But for any further details I refer you to the Department of Defense."
Q: On Sessions, why haven't you talked to the president and how often do you speak with president?
Sanders: "It depends on the day. He's got a pretty busy schedule and being the leader of the free world does take a little bit of time, and do I just haven't had a chance to have that direct conversation with him."
Q: Does the president have confidence in Vice President Pence?
Sanders: "I would imaging so. But agin, I don't want to try to read someone's mind but I certainly would think the president has confidence in the vice president."
Q: Did president speak with Wray about Russia investigation?
Sanders: "I'm not aware of that. I don't know."
Q: How frustrated is president with Russia investigation, Comey testimony distracting form his infrastructure week?
Sanders: "The president is very focused on his agenda. He's gong to continue moving forward with exactly what the people of this country elected him to do. And he's not letting the distractions get in the way of that. I think you saw that today. He's traveling, staying on schedule, continuing to do meetings heavily focused on infrastructure and not letting anything, whether it is this or anything else distract him from pushing forward on the big priorities that he's laid out in his presidency."
Q: How many finalist when he made decision on Wray and how did he make the decision?
Sanders: "I'm not sure how many people were left in the mix but I think it ultimately came down to who the president thought was the best person for the job. That was what he laid out from the begining to make sure he made the right decision. I think based on the amount of praise across the board, bipartisan praise that we've seen, again, from Democrat senators and members talking about the credibility of Wray — I think that shows a great choice and that the president made the right choice in picking him."