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Pool report #1 - 2/7/17
Carol Lee • Wall Street Journal
February 7, 2017: 11:15 AM


First the news:

NBC's Kristen Welker asked POTUS how far he's willing to take his fight on the refugee ban.

"We're going to take it through the system," he said "It's very important for the country."

He said we need security in the country, mentioned Syria specifically.

He said "we'll see what happens" with the court battle.

He said it could go to the Supreme Court but hopefully it doesn't have to. He said the executive order is "common sense."

Bob Constantini asked about underreported terrorist attacks, and POTUS criticized the media as dishonest.

POTUS then invited pool to the Oval Office where he was taking the sheriffs. We entered there at 10:24am, and POTUS was at the Resolute Desk surrounded by sheriffs.

Second: the pool spray of the veterans affairs listening session has been canceled. Next one is of POTUS's meeting with Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Earlier...

Pool entered the Roosevelt Room at 9:26am for a spray of POTUS's listening session with county sheriffs.

The sheriffs, some in uniform, were standing around the room, some at their assigned seats at the table. There's about a dozen of them. Just one is a woman, Sheriff Carolyn Welsh of Chester County, Pa. (Your pooler's college town).

Kellyanne Conway entered the room at 9:31am. She spoke with Sheriff Welsh. She thanked her and Sheriff Harold Eavenson of Rockwell County, Tex., for coming to the session.

She walked to the other side of the table to greet sheriffs. She first shook hands of Sherriff Richard Stanek of Henepin County, MN). She said something about their campaign efforts in the state that your pooler can't be sure of.

She shook hands with a couple others next to him, Sheriff Daniel Glick of Laramie County, WY.

As she turned to walk away Sheriff Stanek said, "What's your first name?"

"Kellyanne," she replied.

Sheriff Stanek chatted for a minute. Bloomberg's Margaret Talev asked him what he wanted to talk to POTUS about. He said "we've got a number of things to discuss, but he's in control." He said he expects POTUS's refugees executive order to come up and that overall every issue affects sheriffs.

At 9:49am POTUS entered the room. "Hello everybody," he said. "Thank you for coming," he said as he greeted a few of the sheriffs.

POTUS was followed by VPOTUS, Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus. Stephen Miller was also in the room but arrived earlier. Messrs. Kushner and Bannon sat at the table. Ms. Conway sat in the row of chairs behind the table. Mr. Miller stood. Pool didn't see Mr. Priebus, believes he left at the start as Mr. Kushner sat at the seat with his name tag on it.

"The sheriffs are good people," POTUS said as he sat down. You don't get the coverage you deserve from the press, he told them.

POTUS said his administration will stop terrorism. "They want to take a lot of our powers away. Some people with the wrong intentions," he said.

Looking at Dana Boente, acting attorney general, across the table, he said he's leading a strong effort in the courts.

Earlier he promised to expand access to abuse-deterring drugs to stop the opiod epidemic. He said drug abusers contributes to a very big portion of crime.

He said we're not going to have the drugs pour over the border like they have been. "We're committed to securing our borders," especially in border states, he said. "We're going to be building a wall."

He said there's been a record delay in cabinet confirmations.

"It's all politics," he said.

He said he spoke to a Democratic senator who told him Jeff Sessions, his attorney general nominee, is a fantastic man. So he said he said to the senator, then you're voting for him. But the senator told him he won't be voting for Mr. Sessions, Mr. Trump said. He said the press might want him to tell us who that Democratic senator is. We told him we do want him to do that. He didn't but said he actually probably will.

POTUS went around the table, and each person spoke.

At one point POTUS said the country's murder rate is highest it's been in 45-47 years.

He singled out Chicago. He said Chicago is worse than some places in Middle East where there are wars going on.

Talking about immigration, he said "you're not allowed to use the phrase silent majority anymore." But there is a group that wants immigration reform and if they spoke up "you would see a real protest."

He said "I think Congress is going to get beat up really badly by the voters" because of something your pooler couldn't hear.

"It's like the Iran deal. Nobody understands how that could happen," he said.

He asked Acting Attorney General Boente if there needs to be legislation or executive orders to empower law enforcement on asset forfeiture issues.

Mr. Boente said no executive orders, just some encouragement.

"You're encouraged," POTUS told the sheriffs.

"Great group of people," he added, referring to the sheriffs.

Sheriff Eavenson from Texas complained about a state senator he said was getting in the way of some things that would be helpful.

"Want to give his name? We'll destroy his career," POTUS quipped. The sheriff declined.

In the Oval Office, POTUS was given a statue about 12 inches tall that looked like it was of a sheriff. Your pooler couldn't see closely and has asked.



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