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travel pool 5 (spicer highlights)
Noah Bierman • Los Angeles Times
April 7, 2017: 01:59 PM


Sean Spicer briefed for about 18 minutes from Tideline Hotel. Pool was not present but had access to live feed. White House preparing full transcript. Here are highlights:

Timeline:

President Trump first heard about the gas attack in Syria at his President's Daily Briefing Tuesday at about 10:30 a.m. He asked questions and his team for a range of options.

There was another meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the White House on options and again Wednesday morning with restricted principals.

Trump met again 3 p.m. Wednesday and decided to reconvene Thursday for a decision.

On route to Florida on Thursday, at about 1:30 p.m., he spoke through secured video conference with his team and again at 4 p.m. with Rex Tillerson and others in a secure room in Palm Beach.

That's when the "president gave the OK to move ahead."

Missiles were launched at 7:40 p.m. during dinner.

Foreign leaders and congressional leaders were notified starting at 8:30 p.m., just as first impacts were hitting the ground. Sec of State, Defense and NSC made some of those calls. Trump informed President Xi as dinner concluded.

After dinner, president went to secure room with Secs. of State and Defense and had secure conference call with Joint Chiefs. Trump asked about effectiveness and was told it would take few hours but initial results positive. Also told congressional and world leaders had fairly unanimous praise.

This was an "evolving process" that included getting options, asking questions and refining options.

Next steps?

"He's not going to telegraph his next move."

The attack was "very decisive justified and proportional."

Is this America First?

"Absolutely"

It is justified under Article 2, important to national security of the region and has huge humanitarian importance.

Does the administration have concerns that Russia was involved in the gas attack?

The actions that were taken were clearly against the Assad regime and I'm not going to say anything further than that. There was no political contact with Moscow, just military "last night sent a very clear signal."

How did Pres. Trump's thinking evolve?

"In his first 70 days…the president was very taken by this."

"It was very disturbing and tragic and moving to him."

"He had a very deliberative process of asking his national security team to develop options."

"There was a level of assessment…"

"It evolved over a length of time."

"Obviously beyond the information that he gets in his PDB (president's daily briefing), there were clear images that were available…that everybody in the world could see."

Should Assad leave power?

Actions were clear. "First and foremost the president believes that the Syrian government [and the] Assad regime should abide by the agreement they made not to use chemical weapons."

What about his campaign warning that attacking Syria could attract Russians and instigate WWIII?

"If you've seen the response from the world community…they understand that the U.S. acted appropriately and in most cases there is widespread praise from around the globe for the president's actions."

Can the US still work with Russia to defeat ISIS?

"There can be a shared commitment to defeat ISIS and also agree that you can't gas your own people."

"I think this was a clear response on humanitarian purposes that has been widely praised."

More details on China summit coming later today:

"We're in the midst of a very terrific visit"



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